Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Our Bank Holiday BBQ - the etiquette of last minute alfresco dining

An unexpected sunny Bank Holiday Weekend has seen many of us Brits hosting a last minute, impromptu barbecue or picnic, making the most of the late summer alfresco dining opportunity. We were no exception. We decided to dust off the barbecue and gather the family to enjoy vegan burgers, sweetcorn, chips and dips and salads in the sunshine. A lovely way to spend the day with good food and good company before the kids go back to school next week.

vegan barbecue

Sainsbury's have been looking into the nation's attitudes to alfresco dining and have asked 2000 people about their outdoor dining habits. The results found that 90% of those asked consider themselves to be good guests at friends' and family barbecues. 45% would never muscle in on the barbecue cooking uninvited, 35% will top up drinks for other guests and 32% consider dressing up as a top attribute for attending a summer event. However, 60% of those asked said that they enjoyed the relaxed attitude that comes with picnicking and barbecues, suggesting that fun wins out over formality and we are happy to throw out the etiquette rule book. We definitely enjoy kicking back and having fun with our food!

There are of course some annoyances associated with eating outdoors. Worrying about the unpredictable British Weather (78%), not having enough seating (69%), not knowing how many people to cater for (63%) and the fear of animals or seagulls stealing the food (60%) are among the top peeves when it comes to hosting a BBQ. Although for us it was the wasps, which were our biggest annoyance, sending the kids running for safety several times with the black and yellow buzzers chasing after them! A definite downside of being outdoors.

The other concern that seems to affect us when dining alfresco is how to fit all the guests, the bowls and plates of food and the condiments around the table. Sainsbury's have coined the term "Table Squish" to describe the act of squeezing everything in, likening it to a game of Tetris. We definitely filled our space to full capacity and ended up using foldable chairs alongside our garden furniture to fit us all in. But it all adds to the fun of the occasion. For me, laughter, family and delicious vegan food are the perfect ingredients for a successful family barbecue. With some help from Sainsbury's who stock a great range of food for hosting the perfect vegan barbecue (including their meat free frozen burgers and brilliant vegan cheese range, which are absolute must-haves) we definitely enjoyed a relaxed, informal lunch out of doors.

You can find out more about Sainsbury's at


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