Picnics 101

by Rebecca Matheson Ortiz, Tastemaker in Residence

Ah, picnics. Who doesn’t love these carefree meals that connect us with nature as we feast on the bounty of the land? Everything, from the earthy smell of the soil and grass to dainty flowers that can be picked for pretty crowns and strong trees providing a shady respite, whips the imagination into gear and hints at romance and whimsy. Whether you’re out with your special someone--sharing a bottle of wine in the fresh summer breeze--taking the children out for some fresh air and sunshine, or simply enjoying solo time with a good book, you can’t go wrong with a picnic. Don your sun hat and pack up the checkered blanket for a meal (or snack) fit for dreams and spend time afterwards guessing what silly creatures the clouds look like or chasing butterflies. But when you’re out there, remember these tips so you can spend your time without disasters and distractions.

  • Bring bug spray! No one wants those pesky mosquitoes buzzing around while they’re trying to eat.
  • If you’re going to a public park, check to make sure you’re allowed to consume alcohol there. In many cases, alcohol is off limits on public property, but there are a few that do OK it. Make sure you check first. No one wants to end their picnic with a ticket.
  • Avoid foods that contain mayonnaise. Here’s looking at you, potato salad! When these foods sit out in the heat they become a breeding ground for bacteria, so make sure you either have a solid ice chest for storage of these foods or that you skip them all together.
  • Opt for plastic. Again with the park rules—many parks will not allow glass containers, so it’s best to bring plastic cups. Make sure, if they’re disposable, to dispose of your litter properly!
  • Don’t forget the bottle opener! Or you will probably cry.
  • Make sure you wear sunscreen and have a nice spot with some shade or bring an umbrella if you plan to be out in the sun for long. It’s marvelous, but also tough on the skin.
  • Bring water! You may be caught up with the wine, but trust me, it’s important to have water when you’re spending time outdoors in the summer. Stay hydrated, my friends.