Ready to start the fire? Before you invite the guests, buy the burgers, and spark the coals, take a moment to consider what goes into--and what comes out of--your usual celebration. If your vision of good eatin' includes a greasy guy in a red checkered apron standing in a smoky haze of sweet-smelling soot, while nearby picnic tables are strewn with plastic wrap and disposable paper plates, plasticware, and cups, it's time to wake up and smell the grass-fed all-beef hot dogs.
Instead, picture this: You're in the backyard, surrounded by neighbors and friends who have supplied their potluck concoctions in reusable Tupperware containers. While you prep the grill by rubbing it with an onion instead of dousing it with chemical spray, your guests sip micro-brewed organic beer from glasses (how civilized!), poured from ice-cold growlers from your local brewery. The picnic table is primed with recycled-plastic durable dishware, reusable bamboo cutlery, and fresh salads made with seasonal ingredients picked up from the local farmers' market. The garbage can is near empty though the recycling bin and compost pile have a little extra girth.
While you're not afraid to tuck into some responsibly raised meat, you know the environmental and dietary merits of cutting back, so the bulk of your preparations revolve around vegetarian recipes. After sampling the Portobello mushrooms and chickpea burgers, broccoli rabe corn bread, and fresh ginger cookies, your guests happily head out, leftovers in tow, and walk (or bike or skateboard) home.