What should you pack in your picnic basket? Yes, a few leftovers, a quick tossed salad, a baguette and some cheese will make anyone happy, but with just slightly more planning you can develop a flexible picnic menu that'll work for you every time. Mark Bittman has a system for this which he divides into four categories: dips, poached food, raw or pickled food and beverages.
Bittman's latest op-ed in the Times says that every picnic basket should have four components, which he breaks down as follows:
Dips: Mayo is his top choice, followed by a heavy-tahini-and-garlic-made hummus.
Poached Food: Bittman says almost any vegetable can be poached and served cold for dipping! The only caveat is "to cook really strong-tasting vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage by themselves, unless you want your subsequent items to taste like them."
Raw or Pickled Food: This is where a few cheese or charcuterie options would be perfect. Bittman also recommends pickled cucumbers (which are easy and quick to make).
Beverages: Whatever suits your fancy! Wine is always nice, though.
The most challenging part of packing a picnic basket, though, is not forgetting the essentials, like utensils and napkins. Check out his rundown at the end of the article to pre-pack your picnic basket now so it's always ready for an impromptu summer picnic!
Read More: A Few Things All Picnic Baskets Need at The New York Times