The arrival of Labor Day is the passing of a torch. It’s a kiss on the cheek. It’s saying good-bye to a friend. Parting with summer has never been easy but as all good things must come to an end, so too must this marvelous season. So, what to do? We’re not going to just sit here and let summer go with a wave and a whimper, right? Let’s send it off on Labor Day and let’s send it off with fire and laughter and a feast at the end. It’ll have to be epic. It’s going to have to tide us over until June.
Everything about a great South Jersey Labor Day party should be a tribute to everything great about South Jersey and more specifically, what you love about South Jersey. When it comes to food especially, it doesn’t get much better than our neck of the woods. At SJ Hot Chefs, longtime readers know where we stand on local cuisine and the places it comes from. For the party, instead of running to the grocery store, head to a local butcher’s shop and pick up the good stuff; the meat that’s fresh, delicious, and guaranteed to draw ooh’s and ah’s from passersby as it hits the ripping hot grill.
Luckily, this being the Garden State and all that, quality meats are far from the only table fare you’ll have for your party. Go to the farmer’s market and load up on the corn, the tomatoes, basically everything we’ve written about at length for the last two months. If you’re not sure which fruits and vegetables make for the idyllic South Jersey Labor Day party, pick one up and ask yourself this question, “Would I lose my mind if someone from another state started talking smack about this?” If the answer is yes, put that sucker in the cart, rinse, wash, repeat.
Your friends and family better be eating well on Labor Day. Treat them to a good time. They’ve been at Target all week wrestling notebooks and pencil cases away from other parents and kids in anticipation of back-to-school. It’s like Christmas shopping, except not fun at all. On that note, as the host or hostess of this festive affair, make sure your guests are topped off appropriately. Break out the coolers, the craft beer, the minibar, and restock the ice supply early and often. All the kids need is some lemonade and root beer and they’ll be fine. The sugar coma should take over after the first hour or two which should give you some peace and quiet for at least a little while.
Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring a dish. We’re talking Labor Day. We’re preparing for fall but lingering in summer, so have your attendees bring mostly cold dishes: Seasonal salads chock with fruit, potato, mac, or seafood salad is always a hit, have someone bring a bottle of wine or some appealingly boozy alternative. A party is only as strong as the community of people in attendance, so having each person bring something unique gives it some extra personality.
Your Labor Day party is your own creation. It should be the perfect summation of a summer spent making memories and reconnecting with loved ones. It’s the punctuation mark at the end of a beautiful sentence. Just enjoy it and have fun. Eat well. Drink well. Be well. We’re not gonna get a shot at this for another year.