Summer Picnic Menu

Holidays, In Season, Summer, Tailgating
on May 1, 2008
Photo by Mark Boughton/Styling by Teresa Blackburn

Picnic wasn’t about a picnic. Instead, the movie was about Kim Novak and William Holden. Or more specifically, about that slow dance on the dock, when she knows that her old life is slipping away, that she’s about to throw her rich boyfriend to the wind and follow a penniless drifter across America.

Still, they had a picnic. That’s how it all started. They cooked all day: cakes under domes, cold fried chicken, cole slaw.

OK, that was 1956. Who has time to cook all day now? Still, we love a good picnic—but one that fits today’s tastes and schedules. And here is a make-ahead picnic menu that does just that. Lemony-marinated chicken and sesame noodles are both made ahead and served cold or room temperature; piquant sun-dried tomato dip is whirled up in the blender and served as a dip or a sandwich spread. Pack everything in the cooler with some cold drinks and you’re set.

By Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, food writers in Colebrook, Conn.