Editor's note: Before we jump into this next post, I'd like to introduce Amanda Clarke, who will be joining us each week with a post on design for the kitchen. Welcome, Amanda! —Adam

Whether you’ll be celebrating this Labor Day at the beach, the park, or in the backyard, here are a few ideas to give this weekend’s meals a dose of style with a nod to the environment.

Disposable plates and platters made of bamboo, a readily renewable resource, are sturdy and attractive alternatives to classic paper, plastic and Styrofoam. The plates are chemical- and preservative-free and biodegrade in 4 to 6 months.

20070830nesterz.jpgThe Mangia! flatware set is a stylish and reusable alternative to the flimsy, disposable plastic silverware that are the standard at picnics and barbecues. A fork and spoon, elegantly formed from single sheets of brushed stainless steel, slip in and out of the handle of a serrated knife, sharp enough to slice through steak with ease. Snuggly nested together, the set is capped by a reusable plastic clamshell that keeps the utensils clean and prevents accidental cuts and jabs. For an outlay of $14 a set, you can look forward to a lifetime of civilized outdoor dining, free of errant tines and awkwardly hacked and severed bites.

Mangia! flatware can be purchased directly through the company’s website, zelco.com. You can find bamboo tableware at many local specialty kitchenware and gourmet stores, or you can visit bambuhome.com for a list of national retailers.

About the author: Amanda Clarke is a recovering restaurant pastry chef with a background in architecture. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes, tests, and develops recipes and works on freelance food-styling gigs between walkings and feedings of her two dogs and husband.


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