Notes from the Field: Simplifying Summer

August 29, 2011

By Cheryl Katz

One of our favorite events of the year is our summer vacation in Truro, the next-to-last town at the tip of Cape Cod. It is a serene place, with access to the water never more than a short bike ride away. The Cape is narrow this far out; the town itself is a spit of land between ocean to the east and bay to the west.

This annual time away is special for a number of reasons. There is the quality of the light reflected off the water, the salty smell of the air, and the luxury of time–time to surf the waves or the Web without interruption. But it is the end of the day, when we all, family and friends, gather at the table, sharing meals and the day’s events, that keeps us coming back every August.

We are a large group that seems to grow in number every year. Dinners are loud, messy, delicious affairs. As the crowd’s resident designers, Jeffrey and I have the enviable task of setting the table while others grill, open wine, or wash dishes. In the beginning we used to set elaborate tables, more appropriate for a city supper than a summer potluck. Twenty years later, though, here’s our much simpler list of table must-haves–after that, it’s all about great food, lots of laughs, and sea breezes.

1. Platters big enough to hold summer’s bounty of tomatoes, corn, or peaches.

Photos by Jeffrey Katz

2. One plate for the main course and one bowl for the gazpacho or the mocha chip, so those assigned to KP don’t miss out on the fun.

3. A fork, a spoon, a knife, and super-size napkins that double as dish towels.

4. Enough glasses to go ’round, interchangeable for water and wine (stem not necessary).

That’s it. Now just enjoy!