A: We use real plates and flatware, and we haul that in a little red wagon. Plan a menu that has a nice mix with one showstopping dish. One of the dishes from the book that I think is the most beautiful and so picnic friendly is the poached salmon: a whole side of salmon poached with cucumbers laid out over the top like fish gills. It’s very classic, old fashioned but totally classy and beautiful and served with this amazing tart, herbaceous green goddess sauce. Mix that with more simple items like a green salad and one of the little snappy snacks and bring some fresh fruit for dessert. If you have multiple contributors to the spread, you can have one person make an elaborate dessert. One of my favorites is the stone fruit galette. It’s so picnic-y and summery and perfect right now.
The setting is really important. Choose a park with a beautiful view, with an elegant landscape or on top of a hill with a vista that will really set the scene appropriately for the food and the rest of the details that you’ve put in to it.
–Andrea Slonecker, who picnics about once a week with her coauthors Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson, of “The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket.” –Stefanie Gans