There is a lot of hype about eating closer to the earth. To me, it seems as though there are two ways to eat closer to the earth. First, by compromising taste and convenience and eating foods that are free of any preservatives and are 100% naturally grown, raised, and fed. The second option: physically eat closer to the earth. Do yourself some good, pack some delicious food and enjoy the outdoors with the company of your closest friends, birds, grass, and trees. The following is a guide to how to pack a perfect picnic from the dining hall, whether your destination is the beach, the mountains, or merely the campus quad.
1. Bring a blanket. Highly suggested are those that have one waterproof side and one fabric side so as to properly avoid damp or grass-stained behinds.
2. Get your hands on a basket. Or a bag, or any type of durable and easily transportable material that can be stuffed with copious amounts of food, drinks and games.
3. Use disposable knives, forks, spoons, cups and plates. Unless committed to transporting dirty cutlery and dishes back and forth – occasionally disposable is the way to go.
4. Pack Cards, Banagrams, Scategories. It’s fun to bring an activity to go with your food; choose these or any other fun and easy-to-carry board game.
5. Personally, I’m a fan of the dinner picnic idea. Unless you’re work-free, which seems to happen extremely rarely for most of us, having a long mid-day picnic can pose avoidable time-management stresses for many college students. Therefore, a dinner picnic, once work is finished for the day ,can be a great way to relax with friends. Picnics are very easy meals to make into potlucks. This way, everyone is responsible for preparing and transporting one dish. Some great picnic appropriate easy-to-prepare-and-bring (or to steal from the dining hall!) dishes are:
-Hummus and crackers. Specifically, I am a fan of Sabra’s Roasted Pine Nut Hummus with Stacy’s Pita chips.
- Olive bread, brie cheese with an assortment of grapes.
-Pizza – Domino’s delivers anywhere. I am specifically a fan of their Pacific Veggie Pizza with roasted red peppers, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and black olives with feta and provolone cheeses on a parmesan asiago crust.
- A bag of mini carrots, a carton of cherry tomatoes and perhaps a stalk of celery for people to munch on.
-A few trays of sushi – Whole Foods has really tasty prepared sushi. I would highly suggest their spicy shrimp brown rice sushi and their spicy tuna avocado roll.
6. Dessert rules. A watermelon is always a cumbersome but delicious and refreshing addition to any picnic. Cookies are also good. On Brown University’s campus we have delicious giant cookies from Meeting Street which are great to share and bring on a picnic. I am specifically a fan of their garbage (also known as everything) cookies and their peanut butter cookies.
Bonus: For drinks, I would suggest bringing a bottle of white wine. My favorite cheap white wine is Barefoot Chardonnay. I’ve also recently become a fan of Granny Smith Woodchucks. Quite honestly, for picnic purposes it is easiest to drink pre-mixed or pre-bottled drinks. Check out our guide to $7 bottles of wine here.
These guidelines will add to your picnicking pleasure! In sum, most important guidelines are: collaboratively bring good food, good drinks, good friends, a blanket and some sweaters to keep warm and enjoy!
Zoe is a junior at Brown University where she studies Biology and Literary Arts. She’s an avid runner, cupcake consumer, Grey’s Anatomy viewer and lab geek.