What’s more Instagrammable than a summer picnic? Social media love aside, it’s the one time of the year when you can comfortably dine outside and on the ground. Whether you picnic off-the-cuff or for a planned-ahead occasion, you’ve got similar decisions to make. And, no, it’s not just how to fend off pesky, food-stealing ants. Here’s your guide for a successful (hopefully) ant-free picnic.
Weather and Location
In terms of the weather, as Goldilocks once said, it should be “just right.” As much as we welcome the first days of high temperatures and all-encompassing humility, too hot is too uncomfortable. Likewise for those freak summer days that feel more like the spring that just passed. Picnics call for warm days with sunshine. Your location will provide the shade you need from overexposure to the sun. Where you hold your picnic can range in creativity. Sometimes it’s as simple (and delightful) to head to your nearest public park, or in your own backyard. Otherwise surprise your guests with an unfamiliar spot say a hidden alcove off a local trail or overgrown greens bordering nearby rail tracks. Keep the obvious in mind when selecting an original location: is it available to the public and safe? Although municipal offenses can certainly make for entertaining picnics…
Like the location, your guests need not be obvious. It’s the summer, you’ve got the time, why not curate your company? Select friends and acquaintances from different aspects of your life. Try to find people who may share interests and similarities outside of simply knowing you. Don’t hesitate though to throw in one of the following: troublemaker, over-sensitive type, know-it-all and hardcore partier. As long as you have one of each, the range in personalities should balance each other out and may result in new friendships or courtships. If matchmaking isn’t your game, use the picnic as the chance to catch-up with a group of friends you’ve neglected during the school year. A thoughtful event like a picnic will highlight to these friends how much they do mean to you despite those ignored texts. Finally, picnics are always perfect for birthdays, anniversaries and milestones. Let such occasions drive your guest list.
Food and Drink
Ultimately whatever you eat or drink should feel at home in Tupperware. Portability is the name of the game when it comes to picnics. Furthermore your chosen dishes should taste best when served at room temperature. In this case, salads (dressed upon arrival), quiches (chilled beforehand), sandwiches and anything cured suit. Start your meal with snacks. As you unpack your dishes, guests can pick at popcorn, salsa and chips or olives. Otherwise let your guests eat how and in whatever order they desire. Picnics, like potlucks, are best with as few guidelines as possible. For dessert, consider squares, cookies or if the mood strikes a group visit to the ice cream truck. These baked goods keep their shape when travelling and are naturally prepared in big enough batches to share. Finally, choose canned and bottled beverages. Your options are endless for alcoholic drinks, but for added hydration don’t forget still or sparkling water, flavoured and plain. It’s worth the effort to beg, borrow or steal a cooler packed with plenty of ice.