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A Sandwich Shot

A Sandwich Shot

The dictionary defines a picnic as “a meal that is eaten outdoors especially during a trip away from home.” We wanted something more, something that embraced every aspect of our favorite summer pastime.

So we turned to Wikipedia, which offered a perfect ramble on the art of the picnic: “A picnic is a pleasure excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors (al fresco or en plein air), ideally taking place in a beautiful landscape such as a park, beside a lake or with an interesting view and possibly at a public event such as before an open air theatre performance, and usually in summer.”

Boom. Amid all those clauses, we found truth: a picnic is about having fun outside, going on a junket, sharing a roofless meal, finding someplace beautiful and celebrating summer. All with friends and family (later, the entry mentions that romantic picnics involve blankets).

According to wise Wiki, the first printed usage of the original French term pique-nique – in 1692 – described a group of restaurant-goers who had brought their own wine, a notion of everyone contributing something that endured for centuries. In 1748, a British lord wrote a letter describing a picnic as a card-playing affair replete with drinking and conversation. The practice itself was long associated with an elegant meal eaten outdoors as a respite during a hunt, not to be confused with farm workers’ harvest dinners in the fields. After the French Revolution, royal parks became public outlets, thereby paving the way for picnics to become a popular pastime among the populace.

With pique-niques of yore in mind, we present a packing-list primer, presented just in time for July Fourth, a prime weekend for al fresco repasts:

1. Find a Big Tote/Basket: Don’t skimp on space. Use a bag big enough to carry everything easily. If you have room leftover, toss in a few durable pillows to lounge on post-feast.

2. Scour Cabinets: Picnics are a great time to Kinfolk Picnic Foodpurge your cupboards of crackers, nuts and other nibbles.

3. Repurpose Serveware: Save up individual yogurt containers and use them as picnic cups or small bowls. The lids from yogurt tubs can be used as small plates. Hoard take-out chopsticks for picnic utensils. Don’t forget a small cutting board and knife.

4. Concoct a Refreshing Punch: For a mildly boozy beverage, mix white wine, lemon and lime wedges, and seltzer. Or slice up fresh fruit for Sangria. Strawberry water – as simple as it sounds – hits the nonalcoholic spot (inspired by Frost Salon). All of these punches can be made well in advance in the Stanley thermoses we sell. Be sure to bring a corkscrew.

4. Shop for Supplies (at Persephone): Our bias aside, we think baguettes are an essential ingredient in any picnic spread – as a complement to a curated selection of hard and soft cheeses, or a vehicle for cold-pressed olive oil (try Niner) and artisanal jams (we love our selection from The Jam Stand). Keen on less components? Order one of our baguette or ciabatta sandwiches – truffled prosciutto, Creminelli ham and gruyere – and slice them into tea-sized wedges. Our hearty salads – roasted cauliflower or asparagus & beet – can withstand time in a backpack or basket. Cookies are also essential: our salted chocolate chip or gluten-free chocolate fudge pair beautifully with a charcuterie spread. For a sweet sampler, pack our olive oil cake topped with gingered orange, brownie bricks, toffee, and a bag or two of lavender shortbread. To satiate growling tummies, pass around our granola as the picnic is being unpacked.

5. Be Festive: Celebrate Independence Day by boxing up our special treats, including our red, white and blue cupcakes, and berry tarts. If you’re in an area with low fire danger, bring cupcake sparklers.

6. Don’t Be Messy: Pack rolls of paper towels, a satchel of moist towelettes and a large trash bag for easy clean-up. And a headlamp, in case your picnic spills past nightfall.

7. Make a Playlist: If your site is secluded, make a picnic playlist. In lieu of portable speakers, put your phone in a pot or mug and marvel at the amplification.

8. Take Pics: This is a given in our Instagram age, but just in case, a reminder – the flush of summer makes for terrific photos. If Persephone treats make appearances in your picnic photos, tag them on Facebook or Instagram. We love seeing our goods out in the world, having a good time.