Summer is here! And in my opinion, there is nothing more Summery than an outdoor picnic in the grass under a tree, maybe near a lake or river. And yet, often times when it comes down to it, picnics can be anything but serene. Protecting my food from giant ants and swatting at mosquito’s. Dealing with soggy sandwich bread and lukewarm beverages. Loud children (and adults) playing frisbee (or target practice) literally right next to me. All of a sudden, the idea of a leisurely Summer picnic seems a lot less appealing……but don’t hang up your checkerboard blanket just yet.
There is definitely an art to picnicking. The first step is to find the perfect spot. Think about the elements in nature you enjoy the most (sandy beach vs grassy knoll; lot’s of sun or more shade). Even a more urban location like the courtyard of an art museum or simply your back yard could work wonderfully. I recommend scoping out some outdoor spots before hand to see how crowded they can get. Perhaps a more remote location would work best if you want some privacy.
Second, wear plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent. I recommend KINeSYS sunscreen and Tic Toc Naturals organic insect repellant. Dress comfortably and appropriate to the climate and environment, and know that summer time often brings unforseen weather (especially in Chicago where I live), so be prepared to cover up.
Forgoing the paper plates, napkins and plastic forks is not only earth friendly but can be incredibly chic. Add some style to your picnic by using Bamboo plates which are naturally beautiful, lightweight, affordable, easy to clean and 100% biodegradable. Use cloth napkins and bring real silverware and glasses to add an elegant quality to your picnic. Bring an over-sized blanket to lay yourself and your food on and scope out the area for creepy crawlers that will sabotage your day (ant piles, bee hives, spider webs). Lighting a small Citronella candle can also help ward off flying insects like mosquitos and wasps.
And finally, invest a little energy in preparing your outdoor meal. Certain foods are better when eaten immediately, while others travel well and are more appropriate for picnicking. Keep it simple, fresh and light. Separate wet foods and dry foods. If you are going to have a sandwich, consider packing the ingredients separately and putting them together on the spot. Salad? Store the dressing on the side to avoid soggy lettuce. For me, the best picnic foods are those that can be enjoyed at moderate temperatures (neither hot nor super cold). Keep your beverages chilled by storing them in a cooler bag like the one made by Mighty Nest
And finally, whether you’re picnicking alone or with someone special, make sure to appreciate every moment; the sounds, the colors, the smells, the textures. Summer is fleeting and will be gone before you know it.
Here are some of my favorite picnic inspirations…….