The Perfect Picnic

The Perfect Picnic

What are you doing this afternoon?

There are few things more relaxing (and romantic) than an old-fashioned picnic. Whether you head for the park, the beach or your own backyard, here’s a simple 7-step plan for sampling a little taste of heaven:

1. Be spontaneous. You step outside the office for lunch and realize it’s glorious. Now listen carefully: Don't go back. Take the rest of the day off (or at least make it a long lunch). The best picnics should feel like hooky.

2. Fill your basket. Picnic food is more refined than cookout fare, so no buckets of fried chicken please. Instead, buy a variety of fresh pre-made sandwiches and have them quartered for sharing. Or if you have a little extra time, make some sandwiches using ingredients you have on hand. Add some scrumptious cold salads and, of course, a decadent dessert, and you’re ready.

3. Connect with the earth. Get away from that picnic table. Spread a cloth blanket or bed sheet on the ground and sit down. To avoid dampening your backside, bring old pillows. Bonus: You’re prepared if you get the urge to nap.

4. Use the good dinnerware. This is a special occasion. Besides, the environment doesn’t need any more paper and plastic.

5. Create a centerpiece. Wildflowers always work, but so do sprigs from nearby pine trees with a few decorative pinecones.

6. Be your own wine steward. Iced tea or cider is fine, but why not some wine? Quickly chill a light pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc by putting the bottle in crushed ice and water. Or maybe try a more unusual beverage like watermelon mint iced tea.

7. Thwart uninvited guests. Ants love picnics. To discourage them from disrupting yours, sprinkle salt, cinnamon, or even baby powder, around the blanket perimeter. Or simply put a piece of your dessert a few feet away and let the little guys have their own party.