If there's one positive side effect of this pandemic, it just might be the push outdoors: who wouldn't appreciate the reminder that making an intentional effort to live seasonally can help us savor every moment of each year? Winter is for cuddling in and keeping warm, but when it's warm outside, it's in your best benefit to squeeze every ounce of sunshine you can out of each day — and as a bonus, getting outside (done right) can be one of the safest ways to still enjoy yourself while creating some quality time with your loved ones during COVID-19.
In fact, in a study of 100 cases in Japan, scientists found that people were 20 times more likely to catch COVID-19 indoors than outside. All that to say: what better way to live up summer 2020 than with a perfectly planned, socially distanced perfect picnic?
We've got a few ideas for picnicking you'll remember as best practices (think: don't forget the trash bag), but we've also got a few suggestions we hope are new to you. So grab your bottle openers, your paper towels, your cheese boards and your friends: it's time to plan your next picnic!
Picnicking in 2020: Keeping it Clean & Germ-Free
By now, hopefully everyone has become the experts we always should've been at handwashing and hand sanitizer. Being outdoors will necessarily mean you'll likely have to rely on the latter at your picnic site, but that doesn't mean you can't use alternate tools to get the potato salad off of your sticky fingers.
Your best bet? Pack along wet wipes in addition to plenty of paper towels, to better simulate the relief of cool, clean water. With a little ingenuity, some soap, and a water bottle, you could also wash your hands. But if you're feeling like a bit less effort, lean on the essentials that have kept you safe through quarantine: hand sanitizer — and your mask.
If you're running low on either, or looking for a way to keep yourself stocked without having to set reminders, consider one of two subscription boxes: the first, called Handy Antiviral, does exactly what its name indicates, offering 5 8-oz bottles of hand sanitizer delivered to your door step each month. Keep yourself protected all month long at a reasonable price — and especially at your outdoor picnic.
The second, aptly called Urban Face Masks, sends you 1-3 handmade cloth masks each month to keep your supply as fresh as the fruit you'll be serving at your picnic. And yes, even if you plan to take your mask off around your family or close friends, you'll want to be sure to pack one with you — the CDC has called on all Americans to wear masks in public places to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
A couple of other cleanliness-adjacent reminders? Pack sunscreen, to protect your skin, and bug repellent, to keep pesky would-be picnickers away. Oh, and don't forget a tablecloth: nothing worse than showing up to a nearly perfect picnic table and finding it covered in mess! (If you're on the grass, a picnic blanket will suffice perfectly.)
For the Main Event: Eating Well Outdoors
First things first: the best way to have killer picnic food is to lean into the strengths of the picnic, not away from it. Aim for foods that get better as they sit — think romaine lettuce, not arugula, and hard, more preserved meats like salami vs. turkey — and try finger foods, staying away from anything so messy you'd hate to eat it in a movie theater.
Our favorite idea? Task your picnic invitees with a potluck: everyone can bring one dish, divided into individual servings for each picnicker. As the organizer, you can pitch in, or you can call it your job to provide the corkscrew, the Bluetooth speaker, and the rapier wit.
What kind of food, do you ask? And should you bring a bottle of wine and wine glasses? Read on.
If smarter snacking matters to you, look into the SnackSack subscription box. Each monthly collection is curated from 11-15 brands, and you can choose from classic, vegan, gluten-free and workplace options. As a bonus, they center their snacks around the season, too, so you should be able to enjoy a few peak summer treats.
One treat that is seasonless? Jerky. If you are picky about your jerky, consider subscribing to the Jerky Snob subscription box. The healthy, artisan jerky delivered to your door is experimental in flavor and consistent in quality, with no MSG, nitrates, nitrites, or high-fructose corn syrup. Another option for those watching their sugar intake? Check out the Sugar Smart box! This box offers low-carb, keto, and diabetic-friendly snacks, so you can stick to your diet while enjoying something delicious.
Finally, if you want to go truly classic on your picnic, by all means, do bring the bottle of wine — an don't forget the corkscrew to open it. To eat with your wine? A taste of Italy, land of picnics! (We're not sure that's an official title but it sure fits, to our ears.) Little Italy: Italian Essentials offers the best products to whip up picnic foods sure to impress anyone, from any country.
So you've gathered, you didn't forget the sharp knife, you've snacked and you've enjoyed one another's company — what's left?