Front Porch Suppers

Clockwise; top left: "Cold Cuts", 24 hour Salad, Snowflake Rolls, Relish Plate, Deviled Eggs with 3 Bean Salad

When Myrna and I were kids, our Grandmother served summer Sunday night suppers on her large, East-facing porch.  We often ate there, and so did drop-in family and friends.  It was an easy way to entertain; it looked spontaneous but was well-planned.  She had a big old kitchen table on the porch that was filled with food, buffet style, and the adults sat in chairs and rockers, and we kids often took our plates out on the large front steps.
Grandma's front porch 
The beauty of Front Porch Suppers is that everything is made ahead – and if you don’t get drop-in guests you won’t have to cook on Monday either. That was Grandma’s strategy – most folks at those Sunday evening suppers weren’t invited ahead of time to supper; they dropped in around mealtime and were invited to stay.  Smart cooks were prepared.
The centerpiece of these suppers were the main dish salads.  These  recipes are sure winners.  If you know you will have a crowd, choose 2 salads instead of just doubling one, you're bound to please everyone.  Put them out buffet style and let people serve themselves.
Then fill out the menu.  Think relish plates, “cold cuts”, an old-fashioned term for a cold meat and cheese tray, pickles and canned relishes of almost any kind, deviled eggs (that old hostess standby), homemade or purchased breads and rolls. Set out the mustard, butter and mayonnaise and let folks assemble their own sandwiches. Quick breads like sliced nut breads are also a good addition if you have them. They also need to be made ahead to mellow and make them easy to slice. 
If the nights are starting to get a little cooler, any kind of baked beans are a good addition.  Bread sticks and chips may be added, depending on how many young people you may have.  Choose an easy dessert - leftovers from Sunday dinner or a simple frosted cake in the pan with coffee or tea.  This is how to be a relaxed hostess.

To get you started on your own front porch supper:

Sea Island Salad
Garden Pasta Salad
Linda's Green Bean Salad


  1. How wonderful that was. I never had a granny growing up. I wish we had.

  2. How neat...but if we tried it on our front porch, we'd be hammered with mosquitoes!Haaa

  3. My grandmother did serve wonderful cold-cut suppers (her dill pickles were amazing), but it was my aunt and uncle (farmers who had a large house and front steps very much like your grandmother's!) who served the best outdoor sandwich suppers ever! Cold cuts, pickles, potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans no matter the weather, and loaf after loaf of her fresh, homemade bread. Oh to be a kid again and enjoy one of her meals!

    1. Exactly! And we kids didn't have to cook, just enjoy, and maybe help carry out food and carry in dirty dishes.

  4. Yes, you have caused me to remember picnics on my grandparent's piazza. Lots of food! The house was close to the shore so we kids explored among the rocks and seaweed while the adults told stories and reminisced. The bugs drove us inside when evening arrived. No one wanted to go home!

  5. Your grandmother's house looks like it's bursting with memories! What a beautiful home. Thanks for sharing your memories and the details of the meals. I hope we can continue to cultivate hospitality - learning from previous generations who seemed to extend it so naturally.

  6. What a beautiful home and love the enclosed porch. I can see why it would be a great place to have family meals.


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