It’s summer! S.U.M.M.E.R. Oh God…where have you beeeeen, elusive, starting way too late in 2016 despite an early spring, summmmer?! If you live in the Northeast like me, you probably cherish the few weekends a year when it’s warm enough to eat copious amounts of food with everyone you know, OUTSIDE, well into the evening. For someone that shies away from camping and used to be so scared of bugs that, well, I still don’t care to sit on grass in shorts lest a bug make their way to my nether regions…now just put a blanket between me and those bugs and picnic-ing is up there with my favourite eating experiences of the year. I love that it’s all about lying under trees, then getting up to graze when the food’s been laid out, and dragging all the food you can back to your spot on the blanket so you never have sit upright, let alone move, again. Also, that there are a lot of potato chips involved. And! It’s a potluck situation! What could be more chill? What eating event has a better chance of being an unequivocal success, besting itself year after year—as long as the weather (looking at you summer, you tease) cooperates?

How.Ever.

Things could go terribly wrong and it could be all your fault. Well, why sugarcoat it, it could! Thankfully, disaster can be easily avoided. You just need to approach your super-laid-back picnic with a little strategy, a checklist, and the intent to not to kill anyone. Sound like a lot for something chill and laid-back? Consider that not killing anyone is definitely part of the fun! It’s simple too. The strategy part: just as with your end-of-year, holiday potlucks, you should work out among your party, even just generally, who’s bringing what so that you don’t end up with 30 burger buns and 6 burger patties, and make sure yourself to pick recipes that can scale and transport well. The not killing anyone part is familiar too—be mindful of allergies and serious aversions, and though slightly less dangerous, do not forget the vegetarians, or face their wrath. That leaves the list part, which might be the most important and most overlooked part by you carefree, non-planners. I have you covered on the first two fronts, and after you take care of the obvious: food, blankets, sunscreen, I offer you this by-no-means-complete:

List of things to bring to your picnic!

  1. Tablecloths—disposable or otherwise. Picnic tables are covered in bird poop.
  2. More ice than you think you need, make sure that happens. Even more. More!
  3. Serving spoons and other large utensils. The “cutlery” someone promised to bring might not cut it (unintended pun, I swear) when it comes to flipping something on the portable grill, or doling out potato salad. My family and I usually take it upon ourselves to bring whatever we need to assemble and serve whatever we are contributing to the menu.
  4. Garbage and recycling bags. Even if there is garbage on site, having a bag to collect your refuse will save you from running to that bigger receptacle every 20 minutes.
  5. Folding chairs—not everyone can sit on the ground, and for more serious reasons than trying to keep bugs out of their short shorts.

AND. We all know you’re bringing beer and/or wine so do NOT leave the bottle/wine opener at home. Actually this should have been #1.

That’s basically where the worry ends. The food part should be easy, and the recipes in this issue are probably the easiest of any Le Sauce issue ever. All of them can be made a day or more in advance, some require no cooking at all, and a few involve store-bought shortcuts you’ll probably employ year-round. But we’re not here to talk about the rest of the year, are we? Summer forever xoxoxoxxxx…

Get “The Low-Key Pretty-Perfect PICNIC Issue”, issue 023 of Le Sauce Magazine at: lesauce.com/app