I ask myself more often than you’d think (or than I’d care to): what’s the right potluck dish for a pool party?
My co-guests, the ones floating on the foam noodles, would blurt out: mixed drinks.
Those of us whose years are half our SPFs, and whose chaises lie in the shade might answer differently. I spent half my childhood at swim meets, in a constant state of snacking, and am firmly of the mind that pool food should:
1. Withstand direct sunshine, and travel well. E.g. watermelon on ice.
2. Serve and eat with fingers. Or be chopsticky. E.g. sushi.
3. Suit the pool palette: bright, splashy, cool. E.g. mojito. Limes. Mango.
4. Favor swimwear. E.g. tiny bites.
I also invariably want something fried–spring rolls, spicy mochiko chicken–to balance all the blue water and good weather.
This salad struck out on all counts but swimsuit diet and traveling well. It was lovely–baby spinach with tonnato tuna; chopped black olives, eggplant caviar (this post is asynchronous; the leftover eggplant is what ended up on the pizzas) and tiny supersweet tomatoes macerated in red wine vinegar and mint. But look at the picture. The truth is obvious: it wasn’t pool food. Wrong colors. Wrong temperature (not sun-savvy or refreshingly cool). Wrong utensils.
I’ll try something else next time. Stay tuned, and invite me to your pool!