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Everything You Need to Host 3 Summer Dinner Parties

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There is a dream that I have:

Being a lucky New Yorker with access to my apartment's roof, I host a dinner party. I run out of neither wine nor food. I am not stressed—nay, I am even elegant and cool. I glide around, gregarious in a linen caftan. A light breeze blows as the sun sets over Brooklyn.

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Photo by James Ransom

This is not entirely realistic (I am still in search of a caftan, and I am still dinner party-shy). But it's also not not realistic. Why not? We, you and I, are good cooks. There's an outdoor space somewhere we can descend upon for an impromptu dinner party. And there are plenty of occasions to make it happen. (Some of them barely worth calling "occasions" at all—and all the better for it.)

Everything you need for a summer dinner party is within easy reach. Here's how we're doing it, three ways:

Beach Picnic! Beach Picnic!

For days when: It's too darn hot to be anywhere but the closest body of water.
Don't forget: An arsenal of tools as summer-easy as they are smart and useful. (And small enough to pack in your beach bag.)

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French Market Basket with Double Handles

French Market Basket with Double Handles

$55
Pan Bagnat:  Le French Tuna Salad Sandwich

Pan Bagnat: Le French Tuna Salad Sandwich by Waverly

12 Hummuses and Dips for After-School Snacks (or Anytime)

12 Hummuses and Dips for After-School Snacks (or Anytime) by Caroline Lange

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Weck Tulip Jars (Set of 6)

Weck Tulip Jars (Set of 6)

From $28
Everyday Beach Throw

Everyday Beach Throw

$32
Strawberry Cake for Mother's Day (and Other Days)

Strawberry Cake for Mother's Day (and Other Days) by drbabs

Backyard Hangin'

For days when: You want your toes in the grass and a grill nearby.
Don't forget: To buy ice. To plan on lingering late into the evening. And if you have a kiddie pool... We'd be into it.

Russel Wright Melamine Dinnerware & Serveware

Russel Wright Melamine Dinnerware & Serveware

From $26
The Elements of a Proper Punch—and a Summery One to Drink Now

The Elements of a Proper Punch—and a Summery One to Drink... by fiveandspice

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22 Lush Salads of All Sorts to Make Now (and All Summer Long)

22 Lush Salads of All Sorts to Make Now (and All Summer L... by Caroline Lange

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Everyday Ice Tray with Lid (Pack of 3)

Everyday Ice Tray with Lid (Pack of 3)

$36
Dew Drop Wired LED Lights (Set of 2)

Dew Drop Wired LED Lights (Set of 2)

From $22
Summer Pasta alla Caprese

Summer Pasta alla Caprese by Merrill Stubbs

Less "Dinner," More "Ice Cream"

For days when: The air-conditioning breaks. The power goes out. You just need to eat ice cream for dinner.
Don't forget: Fun stuff. This isn't a late-night spooning-from-the-pint situation—this is a full-on ice cream social.

Sorrento Double Walled Glassware

Sorrento Double Walled Glassware

From $19
What's Better than Fried Ice Cream, with No Frying Involved?

What's Better than Fried Ice Cream, with No Frying Involved? by Sarah Jampel

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Real Caramel Sauce

Real Caramel Sauce by Alice Medrich

Structured Nylon & Leather Travel Coolers

Structured Nylon & Leather Travel Coolers

From $25
Paddle Pop Mold

Paddle Pop Mold

$45
Strawberry, Rhubarb, and Lime Ice Pops

Strawberry, Rhubarb, and Lime Ice Pops by Isadora

Dream a summer evening dream: What would be on the menu? Tell us in the comments.

Tags: dinner parties