Have I mentioned how much I love picnics? Have you spent more than 10 minutes with me? If so, then the answer is most definitely yes. If we base this whole post on the assumption that picnics are, indeed, awesome, then it follows that if you don't love them you must be doing something wrong. Rather than write a sonnet proclaiming my undying love, let's acknowledge five things that may be holding you back from your own love affair and how you can fix them.
1. Picnic food always goes soggy
There's nothing good about soggy food and I have never, nor will I ever be, one of those super organized people that puts everything in separate tupperware for assembly later. But, there are a couple of easy fixes that won't have you throwing mushy sandwiches in the garbage.
Assembly order is key. Making a sandwich? Always butter both pieces of bread! It stops liquids from leaking in. Then work from solids to liquids: meat and cheese go closest to the bread (one on each side), then top those with wetter things lettuce, tomato, mayo, and mustard. You'll be amazed how much longer these last.
Want to break away from the sandwich mold? 101 Cookbooks (one of my favourite blogs for all the gorgeous photography) has compiled a list of picnic bowls. I think it was really sweet of her.
And you know what? No one said you couldn't just have dessert. Pack a fresh batch of cookies or cute little hand pies and a thermos of cold milk. Picnic sorted.
2. There's a lot of stuff to haul around
Let's hone in on the definition of picnic: eating food outdoors. No one said anything about 4 course meals or crystal glasses. Mason jars are your friend as you can seal up drinks and salads and even dessert. Instead of feeling like a kid at school eating out of a plastic tub, you feel like an urban hipster (don't fight it). When you're done, cutlery and any garbage gets packed inside them for easy and mess-free transport home.
3. We live in Vancouver, so the ground is always at least a little bit damp
This isn't a valid argument. Get one of these.
4. It's a lot of work to put together a good picnic and you have no interest in eating at 10 PM
Do like the French and grab a baguette and some ripe cheese from your favourite affineur after leaving the office. Go totally crazy with some seasonal fruit and a bottle of wine. Since you should always be carrying a corkscrew with you anyways for emergency wine consumption and that handy picnic blanket now lives in the trunk of your car you're set in a few minutes. In fact, you'll be at the beach before the crowds arrive to scope out the perfect spot. You just nailed Romantic Date Planning 101.
5. Ants (and other bugs)
I've got nothing for this one. Embrace them while thinking about how lucky you are not to live in Australia where any picnic visitor would be able to kill you a dozen different ways. If you're really anti-insect, move the party to a picnic table or raised platform that will get you away from the worst of it.
I'll admit the real usefulness of this post may be a little far-fetched, but I find it hard to find the down side to picnics. Give me a sandwich in a rainy park any day - anything better than that is just icing on the cake. Go embrace summer and send me pictures of your best picnic adventures!