I love to make a production out of picnics – if you’ve got five people, and each carries one extra item, the added aesthetic richness turns a picnic into a regal luncheon ‘sur l’herbe’ (on the grass). Bring a couple of oriental rugs instead of blankets (or in addition to), bring a couple of those kentia palms gathering dust in the foyer, a smattering of hurricane lanterns with candles, and richly patterned throw pillows, and your little space of grass will be transformed into a full on Victorian parlor – a cushy encampment of old world splendor. And don’t forget the fruit bowl for added color and painterly aestheticism.
Leave the watermelon for red grapes and plums, nectarines and figs, even a vase of cut flowers – peonies I think – can elevate an otherwise beer-soaked loiter-fest into a vivant tableau worthy of the great still life painters of the turn of the last century. Edith Wharton eat your heart out!
It may not be couth, but no phones please… bring an old book – and turn the outdoors into a lushly appointed living room for the day. All that visual richness will draw a crowd – so be sure to make extra watercress sandwiches – I love mine with Vermont white cheddar, roasted pear and lingonberry aioli – Fabulous!!