“Home-gating,” or spending mealtime outdoors, a great way to navigate troubling times
Silver linings are hard to come by when it comes to a pandemic, but here’s one: coronavirus struck our country in the spring time. The weather is warming up for much of the country and the outdoors have beckoned like never before.
Just to breath the air and enjoy some sunshine is such a pick-me-up. For our family, after a week of a virtual quarantine – keeping social distance, no preschool and the challenges that come with having three boys ages 4, 4 and 2 – all of us needed a lift, so we decided to cookout.
My husband still has to go to work (he works in electrical supplies) and I spend most of my time chasing kids around, so there wasn’t a lot of prep-time or an extensive menu. All we did was burgers on the grill, some grilled corn – which one of my 2-year-olds help me butter, salt and pepper and wrap in foil – baked beans and store-bought potato salad, but it….tasted….so…..good! It got me to thinking how much “homegating” can really help during this crisis.
Just eating on paper plates in the backyard was such a welcome change of scenery. When you can’t go to restaurants, it’s absolutely the next best thing. We took the little kiddie table from our dining room to the back patio, and my oldest helped set the table. We let the kids play with sidewalk chalk, swing on their swings, roll around on their riding toys, while we sipped a couple of a cold beverages, cooked and caught our breath after a crazy and unusual week.
Normally I’m a stickler for the bedtime routine, but on this night, I threw the schedule out the window and just let the boys play and laugh and have a good time, and it felt magical.
It was especially nice to have my 4-year-old, who is old enough to really miss his teachers and friends but not old enough to understand what’s going on, ask if we could cook out again soon. Heck and yes was my answer.
If you’re not doing it already, I highly recommend cooking out regularly and often. It’s also a great excuse to put some of your tailgating gear to good use when there aren’t sporting events or musical festivals to attend.
I love what I’ve seen from friends on social media camping out with their kids in backyard tents to give their cooped-up kiddos a little fun. I’ve seen other friends setting up folding chairs in their driveways to visit with neighbors as they walk by on afternoon strolls. I’m not sure how safe that is – I saw some backlash posted with doctors advising against it – but I could respect what they’re trying to do! We’re all learning the parameters of safe social distance. But there’s no debating that back yards are fair game and fresh air is a key ingredient to staying healthy and happy.
During these challenging times, we here at “Inside Tailgating” hope you will take advantage of all “homegating” has to offer. And we hope you’ll come back and visit our website regularly for ideas on what to cook and how to make the best of your stay-at-home situation. Stay safe and healthy everybody! fffffff
Content Editor for Inside Tailgating magazine and insidetailgating.com, freelance writer and author of “Ballplayer,” the Chipper Jones biography that came out in April of 2017. Former sportswriter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wife, mother of three young sons and certified Dookie. Contact at [email protected]