Posted on June 10th, 2011
1. Most of us will never forget the last summer on the Isle of Shoals: the stars, the sea–and Aunt Lottie’s wig going up in a tower of flames, sizzling like the dickens.
2. Fortnum and Bott’s Triple Acting Expulsion Emulsion: Electric Emu Flavor. Fireworks.
3. We suggest reenacting the capturing of Richmond during the Civil War. Designate someone’s child as General Lee–once captured, declare the party over. Demand reparations next month in the form of packets of party napkins from Ikea, a full case of cocktail olives.
4. No one knows why Bill Ford from up the road insists that everyone try on his truss past eleven P.M. We only know that no one lingers much beyond experiencing its rubbery confines.
5. The limbo gets infinitely more exciting when one takes care to construct a pre-party series of beer can shivs beneath the limbo pole, cleverly hidden in the grass. Many will try. Or few. In the end, all you need is one.
6. It’s the one real eyeball staring blandly up from the bowl of carefully peeled grapes that gets Minnie Bolliver’s blood boiling.
7. The hula hoop appears to be enjoying a resurgence of popularity–we say up the ante on your long-haired neighbor by anchoring no fewer than five garden gnomes at key points around the hoop itself. Hips will roll. So will heads. Adventure!
8. There are never enough crudite at any outdoor gathering, prior to the libations taking hold–who hasn’t nervously nibbled their way through an entire passle of baby carrots? Solve the shortage crisis by organizing a ‘Crude n’ Crisp’ hunt across the lawn gardens of your neighborhood. Wearing all-black is optional, crawling on your dirty stomach across Barry Esterwick’s lawn with a butter knife clenched in your teeth is not.
9. Termigan’s Party Punch: Now With Burnt Feather Afterburner Equipage (Bangkok edition/brass scissors incl.)
10. Sometimes, it all becomes rather too much, doesn’t it? We think having a private ‘party retirement chaise’ is key to avoiding complete host meltdown. Equip yours with gentlemen’s quarterlies, smelling salts, a small tin of pickled smelts, toast points. You’ll find the way of it again.
11. A bonfire calls for music: let Ermintrude wheel out the Wurlitzer, and Raphael bring forth the gong. A rousing chorus of ‘One More Time Ye Barn-Burning Bangers’ will put everyone in the right sort of mood. Then, the cermonial weenie roast.
12. Bronson’s Thrice-Proofed Biscuit Poofs: Summer Sweatband Variety Pack.
13. Be-Devil Be-guile Be-Gone: Thirty deviled eggs emerge from the kitchen. One sports arsenic. It is good to have friends, no? Friends with shovels.
14. Party Pants: Tie-dye stations are for children. It is a man’s game to see who might emerge with the most creatively patterned pantaloons once malt liquor and butane torches are distributed amongst your guests, and the overwhelming swell of the William Tell Overture charges forth from the backyard speakers.
15. Rooty-Tooty Ringworm Toss: This….this is not for children.
16. At this point, Bethany and Algernon will typically have one of their patented intense fights, where they assume that no one is noticing the unforgiving marital barbs that they are lobbing at one another across the punch bowl. Capitalize on the discomfort by discreetly handing ’round the betting ledger, and arming both combatants with corkscrews. There’s money to be made, friends. Money to be made.
17. Out with the old, in with the new! Change the entire menu mid-party! Vegan smorgasboard? No more! Boar’s head forcemeats, blood sausage, and bacon-wrapped cornichons. Escape in the confusion, wailing, gnashing of teeth.
18. Sotherbooth’s Summer Winding Pantalettes (discreet lambskin pouch sold separately, beading kit incl.)
19. Traditional Turkish Guest Pancakes: Suddenly, it’s Ischia, and it’s 1975, all over again. Don’t forget the Pam.
20. The summer that I spent in Idaho as an au pair was many things, but, the memento that I prize the most was one that is sure to be a hit at your next picnic: I always called it The Nanny Has Forgotten Her Knickers, you can call it ‘French Toast’.
21. Forty Days and Forty Nights of Forks: When Terrence brings brisket, it is best to bring a change of clothes, a pup tent, and a collapsible commode. And fortitude.
22. Look. You can go to great lengths to create fetchingly chromatic kebabs for the grill, or, you can arm everyone with wetsuits, pass around the spearguns, and drop carefully chopped veg. into the pool. We both know which option tastes like victory, and fewer mouths to feed, at the end of the hour. Victory suggests pairing the resulting skewers with a strong shot of homebrewed spirits–something in the bathtub family should suffice.
23. Alsatian Longhorn Sausage roll: I would apply the Temple Grandin principle, and begin with anyone left at the fete under the age of ten. Spare area rugs would work quite nicely.
24. Bertie had the right notion at Plumm House last week–there are times when it’s simply better to succumb, and nap upon your pile of mash, rather than attempt to fork any more of it in. Rest. Recover. You can always try again in fifteen minutes.
25. Remember, each guest at your party had dreams once. You cannot know them. Best to let Louise fondle the doorknobs of the dining room and fondly reminisce, rather than interrupt her simply because everyone else is feeling peckish.
26. You might not believe it, but, there can be too much of a good thing. I discovered this with that can of Lyle’s Golden Syrup, you will have to follow your own bliss to whatever depraved depths it longs for. Bring wet-naps.
27. Sir Denby and I once had the pleasure of attending the Wetherview’s Mongolian Barbecue at Elderlands. You weren’t invited? We suggest heating this tin of beans directly on the burner. Invite a few friends ’round. It will be a rough approximation at the moment of…ripeness.
28. Fulsom’s Midnight Fig-Raid Anti-Itching Talcum. Now in Borage and Blood Orange Varieties. (apply sparingly, with No. 2 trowel).
29. Toulouse created this punch, and now I pass it on to you: equal parts Pernod and Pernod.
30. We started this list in hope. Much the way one begins a party. Somewhere in the middle, Louis brought out that brick of Moroccan Brownies, and now I can only say this about your next picnic: bring monkeys.