It’s that time of year again. The sun is just that bit warmer, the days are getting longer, and the Meadows is once again packed with picnickers trying to soak up some vitamin D. Thanks to global warming, the air has been warm enough to allow everyone to sit outside and not completely freeze – despite the fact that it’s March in Edinburgh.
Whilst Greta Thunberg would tell us this isn’t a reason to rejoice, in this virus-ridden world, we’ll take any excuse to celebrate what’s thrown our way. Because at this point, it really is the little things.
Although I’m not currently in Edinburgh, I’ve seen the photos and I can imagine it so vividly that I may as well be. The waft of slightly burnt grass (both kinds), courtesy of the improperly set up disposable BBQs. The pink boxes of Considerit doughnuts strewn across the grass. Wet bums and grass-stained jeans because the sun never gets quite hot enough to dry out the grass and no one seems to remember the all-important picnic blanket.
The first Pimms of the season and the inevitable rowdiness that ensues. The police walking past, saying absolutely nothing to the numerous groups of 15+ people. I must say, I miss it.
The solution? Plan the perfect picnic – which I can’t attend, but I may as well live vicariously through my writing.
First and foremost, do not forget the picnic blanket. Tartan for the ultimate Pinterest vibe, but anything will do. If you don’t have one and don’t want to invest, a towel or two will do. Worst case scenario, bring a spare tote bag to sit on. Just don’t sit directly on the grass because it is damp, and you will regret it. My grass stains still haven’t come out from last year.
Next, prep the food. Nothing messy, nothing too elaborate, just simple finger food and grazeable goods. Some savoury suggestions include: veggie sticks, tortilla chips, a few pots of hummus and guacamole (sorry, “smashed avo”), sushi, a baguette or breadsticks, pesto pasta, pretzels, sausage rolls, charcuterie or a cheese board.
And for your sweet tooth: fresh berries, grapes, popcorn, chocolate covered strawberries, mini meringues, trail mix, a traybake or some brownies, ice lollies or Considerit doughnuts. Whatever floats your boat, just make sure you have a good variety and not too many repeats if your flatmates and friends are contributing.
In terms of beverages, to be (alcoholic) or not to be? That is the question. Personally speaking, I haven’t had many opportunities to enjoy a beveragino, so I’d go for either a cocktail in a can (M&S hits different) or make a jug of Pimm’s to be enjoyed by all. If you opt for the latter, provide paper cups (not plastic because #sustainability) and encourage everyone to bring their own reusable water bottle.
If possible, eat out of Tupperware or paper plates, bring cutlery and napkins, minimise single-use plastic and dispose of everything responsibly. No litterbugs, please! The sun is out, but sustainability is still in.
Finally, seeing as exam season is approaching and end of term deadlines are upon us, bring along some readings. You won’t actually do them, but the intention will assuage your guilt.
Bring with you some SPF, reading material, and remember to take lots of pictures. And there you have it! The perfect, Pinterest-worthy, post pandemic picnic. If only I could actually attend one.
Image: Alejandra Ponce via Unsplash