Anyone can plan a picnic, but there’s an art to hosting a really memorable outdoor gathering. Since 2011, Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker and Jen Stevenson have been fine-tuning their picnic expertise as the Portland Picnic Society, and they recently wrote The Picnic, a cookbook and primer detailing everything you need to know to take your blanket-bound entertaining to the next level. Here, they share nine tips for planning the ultimate picnic.
1. Budget your blanket real estate.
Aim for about 9 square feet per person (a 5-by-7-foot blanket is great for three people but snug for four). There will be dirt and spills, so avoid using anything you’d hate to ruin, and stick to machine-washable materials. If the grass is wet, throw a vinyl tablecloth or a camping tarp underneath your blanket.
2. Consider location carefully.
Scout the ideal spot for your spread by making sure the grass is lush and dry, your neighbors are mellow, bees and other things that bite or sting are scarce, and the bathrooms and trash bins are close (but not too close). Once you find your spot, text a dropped pin of your location (or a detailed description).