A friend sent a group picnic invitation via email. I couldn't help but smile when I read this:
"I'd like to suggest in the spirit of environmentalism and frugality that we all bring our own tableware (plates, cups, utensils, etc). That way no one has to buy it, and we reduce our waste."
Isn't her wording lovely?
How many times have I not made a similar suggestion, for fear of seeming cheap? Frugal truly is the OLD green!
We always used to do this, when I was growing up.
Church dinners, potlucks, picnics . . . we would always pack our plastic divided lunch trays (think cafeteria-style), utensils and cups.
I love the old ways of doing things. :-)
I don't think we even owned paper plates back then.
Cafeteria trays are a great idea!
You get the the divided compartment of a plate and the ease of carrying a tray, all in one easy-to-transport item.
I'm just happy to spend more money on the food and less on a pack of Chinet that gets thrown away at the end of the meal.
I believe maybe we'd all do a bit more picnics and lunches if we could get everyone to bring their own service pieces...and if it were less awkward to ask for others to bring their bag lunch too, even MORE. :)
I *HATE* disposable tableware/ plastic ware for all the reasons in the invitation, but I have to get off the moral high horse and admit the real reason I don't use it is because it has NO ambiance!
I'm so glad you liked the wording in that e-mail! I almost deleted it because I was afraid it might be too pushy!
I love that!
That's what I loved about it--
You didn't tell everyone to bring a picnic basket with crystal and china.
Everyone probably has a half pack of Halloween paper plates left over and some Easter napkins to go with them!
I'm going to assemble my reusable picnic bag, something I've been putting off doing for a while now.
In the sca (sca.org) one of the first things you collect is a basket of 'feast gear', tableware with a medievalish look for yourself and your family. partly because people did bring their own tableware in those days, partly because the do-it-yourself nature of the get-togethers means nobody will foot the cost of paper goods (which would ruin the atmosphere) or hiring in/washing tableware.
A group of friends and I do this. Every week we get together and all bring our own picnic lunches. Some weeks it is at the park. Sometimes it is at one of our houses. We each pack our own lunches and tableware. It was just getting to much for the host to fit the food bill for 4 moms and 8 children. It works wonderfully for us. We get mom time and dinner is already taken care of.
I am all for keeping more paper products out of landfills and think suggesting people bring "real" dinnerware is great. I got rid of all my paper plate holders and made some red and white checked napkins just for the picnic basket. With a little effort, you can have ambiance without crystal and china (as some of us southerners use at tailgate parties!) and without paper products. It is past time we do all we can for the environment.
As a kid, my mom always took re-usable divided plates/trays to potlucks/picnics. Just a couple of years ago I noticed those same plates were in her basement. I asked her if I could have them She looked at me like I was crazy to want them but I was thrilled. They're also great for dining outside in the summer months.
I was invited to a spaghetti dinner where we were all asked to bring our own spaghetti bowls, for the environment's sake. I thought it was a great way to go- and fun, with the different bowls around the table. I know I don't have matching plates for 15! And nothing would be thrown away!
Oh I love it!!
Hey, we did this too growing up! My mother had a picnic basket with melamine plates, cups, and utensils, and that came with us anytime we ate somewhere not in a house or restaurant. Paper plates were really flimsy back then, and I think more than frugality, she didn't want a load of laundry generated by children trying to maneuver the plates. She had divided trays in avocado green and I remember just loving having a special slot for the silverware and a little round place for my cup. :)
Frugality is the old green? I LOVE THAT!
On a related note, we don't have television so are out of the loop on some things. I was locked in a room with a television recently (car service waiting room) and saw a commercial for paper plates. The gist of the commercial was that "good" moms use paper plates in order to have time with their children. Bizarre.
Recently we had the sad task of going through my mother in law's things after her death. In a big box of kitchen things was a set of 6 copper plates. They are round, divided, and in used condition. (loved) I was thrilled when David's sisters gave them to me. They told me the story that the plates had been part of their girl scout camping supplies. There were no cups but I was told there used to be. I love these plates and I will treasure them. Roxie
Our quilting group does this for the potlucks. It is expected that you bring your own reusables and many women will bring a set of extras in case someone forgot something.
In the back of my Van I keep a plastic "wicker look" beach basket, in it I'll got a set of plates,cups, plastic ware, a great tablecloth and napkins with shells on them. Great for deli lunch, this is when I run in the deli (or a supermarket) and pick up a pound of cold cuts, Italian bread,and maybe a bag of chips,for a quick in prompt to picnic. Believe me this is always cheaper than a restaurant. Anna
You guys are a wealth of imagination!
I am now so going to the thriftshops, second hand stores to fine me some of these divided plates. What a cool idea.
If I were invited to this gathering, I would instantly think "kindred spririts!" I love it!
I love this idea and my adult children surprised me with my 50th year birthday picnic and we didn't use any disposable tableware. They had brought it all from home. It was lovely and a memory I will treasure.
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