Picnics For Two, Four, Or More

Take advantage of the nice fall picnic weather! Here’s how to plan the perfect picnic for two — or more.

Picnic Packing 101

The beauty of the perfect picnic is in its simplicity. Opt for a simple, easy-to-eat make-ahead menu that can be served cold — bring a cooler — or at room temperature. Remember that you’ll (probably) be eating on the ground and (most likely) won’t want to be slurping soup in a hunched over position.

Packing for a picnic involves more than just filling the picnic basket or cooler with food. Be sure to bring plates, utensils, napkins, ice, a camera, sunscreen and a hat, bug repellent, and a garbage bag to help with cleanup.

Location, Location, Location

Pick a spot that offers some shade, isn’t too windy or buggy, and has even enough ground to accommodate your spread and guests. (Don’t forget to pack that picnic blanket!)

Picnic spots to consider: a park, beach, backyard, rooftop patio, or botanical gardens. And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, a living room picnic will do just fine.

A Picnic For Two

Think Paris. Keep things simple and romantic with a picnic worthy of the Champ de Mars. Pack a variety of cheeses, paté, charcuterie, grapes, a baguette and — if your location allows it or you like living on the edge — a bottle of rosé. (Don’t forget to pack a corkscrew.) Finish the meal with the best dark chocolate you can find. Or macaroons.

A Picnic For Four

Make it a double date! Pack summer salads, pre-assembled hearty sandwiches, crudités with dip, cheese and crackers. Toast the meal with chilled wine or lemonade. For dessert, serve cookies — or buy ice cream cones from a nearby ice cream truck.

A Picnic For More

If you’re planning a picnic for a larger group, delegate some of the meal prep.

Some options:

  • Have a potluck. Everyone can bring one dish to share with the group.
  • Divvy up the menu. Plan what you’d like to serve, then ask people to contribute accordingly.
  • Build your own. Have people bring interesting breads, fillings, toppings and condiments, then assemble your own salads and sandwiches at the picnic spot.
  • Cook it there. Pick a park with a fire pit, barbecue or wood oven you can use. Ask people to contribute side dishes, and cook the main on location! (Wood-fired pizza, anyone?)

What’s your go-to picnic menu?