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Who doesn’t love a summer picnic? A few weeks ago we met up for one with our dear friend Shelly in Bloomington, IN, home of both Shelly and our alma mater. It’s where Alex and I met for the first time as college freshmen 14 years ago, where he first asked me out on a date (I said no, of course), and where he first proposed (yes, there’s more to that story, maybe for another time). This time, we were back for a quick meal with a friend and a picnic seemed like a lovely, no-fuss excuse for putting together some good eats.
We did end up doing some kitchen prep before we left, preparing some crispy white beans (similar to the crispy chickpeas below) and the simple syrup for the spritzer. After packing everything into a cooler, we met Shelly in Bloomington at a grocery and picked up our remaining ingredients for the cucumber toasts, some cheese, and fancy dark chocolate. In hindsight, I would have grabbed some fresh veggies as well, which I’ve added to the menu below; you could even add a prepared dip or this homemade one.
Below are a few tips for organizing a picnic and our menu. Like all of our menu posts, we’ve provided it not so much for the recipes themselves but as inspiration for your own picnic. We hope you’re able to share an outdoor meal with friends or family this summer as well!
- Pick your menu wisely; try to choose just a few items that require advanced preparations, and surround them by easy items like cheese, bread, crackers, fruit, veggies, and other finger foods.
- A good cooler is a must. Prep the morning of and arrange your loot in the cooler with some ice packs.
- Don’t forget the following essentials: sharp knife (for cutting cheese, vegetables, etc), picnic blanket, and a bag for garbage.
- Consider sprucing up the picnic site by bringing some fresh flowers in a ball jar; we grabbed some from our yard before we left.
- As much of a pain as it is hauling everything out to the site, it’s worth it once you arrive. Try to find a shady secluded spot under a tree (we had to work around a group practicing sword fighting in the park).
- You can pawn off leftovers on other people in the park (we did, and they seemed slightly wary but excited).
Summer Picnic Menu
Assorted Cheeses and Crackers
Want more picnic recipes? Go to 40 Fun Picnic Food Ideas.