WHAT WITH Covid-19, we’re already dining outdoors when we’re not hunkered down in our own kitchen. So this is the perfect year to embrace the picnic, bugs and all. There’s a ton of tempting accouterments on the market that will allow us to add zip to our picnic style and juice the economy. We’ve found some possibilities and will add more as we find them.
LEFT: Add sophistication (and alcohol) to your picnic with a Camp cocktail kit. This is the Sage + Turmeric Kit; others include Aromatic Citrus, Sangria and Hibiscus Gin. You add your favorite vodka or other alcohol to the jar, and the aromatics do their work over three days. Each kit is $24 at Terrain online.
RIGHT: The staff at Lyndhurst, the historic mansion in New York’s Hudson Valley, taught us this trick years ago: A perky Radio Flyer is a great way to get all the picnic fixings to your site–or it can serve as the perfect picnic bar! The All-Terrain Cargo Wagon (Model #29), with real air tires and removable wooden side panels, is especially suited to traveling over hill and dale–or across the sand at the beach. It folds down for storage and is $179.99 at RadioFlyer.com.
Get-togethers, no matter how guarded, seem so much more festive now. Up the ante even more with custom paper napkins for your picnic. Three-ply napkins come in 20 colors and 40 colors for the printed message. A set of 25 dinner-size napkins would be $33.71, a set of 50 $41.21. There are higher grades of paper at higher prices; all are at TheStationeryStudio.com.
LEFT: As retro as the whole “picnic” idea, this wipeable oilcloth tablecloth will work just as well on the ground. From Freckled Sage Oilcloth Products, a 48-by-72-incher is $46, a 60-by-120-incher $150, with other sizes in between.
RIGHT: Feeling really festive (and lucky enough to have a tree bough overhead)? The Bright Floral Blossom Chandelier from Meri Meri may be in order. At 28 inches tall and 19 inches wide, it’s based on Polish pajaki decorative ceiling hangings and is $45.
LEFT: What’s a picnic without a healthy dose of down-home barbecue? With that in mind, KC’s Jack Stack BBQ offers the Taste of Kansas City, and it sounds pretty tempting. Included are a pound of burnt pork ends, a pound of chopped barbecued beef brisket, 16 ounces of Hickory Pit Beans and enough Jack Stack barbecue sauce to smother it all. The package, which serves two to four people, costs $76.95, unless you think you’ll have room for dessert, in which case Mom’s Carrot Cake or a Triple Chocolate Brownie will set you back $12 extra. Find it, and other barbecue specialties, at JackStackBBQ.com.
RIGHT: The On the Go Traverse Cooler Backpack by Oniva is insulated and can hold 28 beverage cans, or drinks and snacks (plus an outside pouch for other utensils). And there’s this: Attached to one of the padded shoulder straps is a bottle opener. The OTG backpack is $30.49 at Walmart.com. Also available in black.
There are lots of portable grills on the market, but not as cute as this one. The Cuisinart Venture is a gas grill, so you do need to supply a small propane tank, but it can be stored inside the base of the unit. And while the veggies are being charred on the 154 square inches of cast-iron grate, the wooden lid can be used to serve the cheese and crackers to those who wait. The Venture weighs 22 pounds and is $199 at Crate and Barrel.
Everyone will be able to find your picnic spot: Just tell them to look for the big canvas teepee. The structure comes in several sizes, from kiddie size to extra-large, extra-tall, from $180 to about $275 (XXL with a window). Find them at the TipTopTeepee Shop at Etsy.com.
LEFT: Melamine never looked so cool and contemporary. Designed by Aaron Probyn, the plates and bowls can be purchased individually from $6.50 apiece to sets of four or 12 (up to $86) at WestElm.com.
RIGHT: What would a picnic be without ants, right? These plastic critters are about 2 inches long and will be a witty addition to your picnic buffet. From CrankyCakesShop at Etsy.com, a set of six ants is $4.25.
Remember these? Sure, little “tents” over the potato salad seems stupid until the insects start buzzing. A set of four (four different colors) is $12.99 at Amazon.com.
LEFT: The Picnic Time company takes outdoor meals seriously. The blue ikat Promenade picnic basket, left, is sturdy canvas sitting atop a wicker base and holds service for two (as well as all your salads and beverages). It’s $49.95 at Saks Fifth Avenue.
RIGHT: The Picnic Time Portable Rolling Cooler is another picnic hero, insulated to keep food and beverages cool, plus a deep side pocket for utensils or . . . whatever. It’s $50.95 at picnictime.com.
Damn! We missed National Hammock Day, July 22! Nonetheless, we can stlll enjoy the Wise Owl Outfitters’ Double Owl Hammock, shown in the Endless Summer colorway, with 10-foot-long straps with carabiners so you can anchor it to a couple of nearby trees without harming them. The two-person hammock ($38.95) is 10 feet long; the one-person version ($27.95) is 9 feet long. Both hold 500 pounds. The hammocks are made of parachute nylon, come in half a dozen color combinations and are available at Amazon.com.