Everything I do now is premeditated. If I’m planning to go to the store. I have to think about what hours are the least crowded, what I need, is there anything I need to stock up on, and do I have a mask? If I want to go for a hike I have to think about things like when are the fewest people on the trail, do I need a mask, do I have a snack and water since any snack bar or kiosk may be closed? And don’t even get me started on public bathrooms. I’m really tired from having to think through all these small details before I do anything. It’s enough to keep me home. BUT I NEED TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!
Being in the wine world, marketing has often shown beautiful people enjoying picnics in the vineyards. Companies in wine country specialize in making and delivering gourmet picnic baskets for tourists to enjoy at the location of their choice. Having picnicking spots has made some wineries hugely successful (especially this one in the Napa Valley).
Reading Julia Child’s autobiography, My Life In France, she and her husband, Paul, greatly enjoyed packing a picnic basket and a thermos of coffee before heading out over the French countryside for the day. And their picnic was often accompanied by a nice bottle of wine. Thinking of Julia and Paul relaxing along a waterway or near a beautiful old castle has been seared into my mind for years.
Having worked from home for over 16 years now, during my lunch break I often watch cooking shows. Years ago Michael Chiarello had his Easy Entertaining cooking show on Food Network. I caught his Biking Picnic, and learned how to make a delicious grilled chicken sandwich to throw in my bike’s pannier for a roadside picnic. For years I made the sandwich, thinking of having a bike picnic. When life gives me a pandemic, I pack my picnic basket.
To GET OUT OF THE HOUSE I’ve been coordinating cycling trips with my pod posse. My friends and I synchronize our watches and all show up at a predetermined spot early the next morning. Unloading bikes, getting sunblocked and then clicking shoes into our pedals, we are soon exploring new areas. This cycling posse has turned into a great group of friends who all enjoy getting out in the sunshine and seeing new sights. They are also all good conversationalists, a bonus when pedaling together for a few hours.
Cycling in the era of a pandemic has meant that afterwards we can’t stop by the local cafe or brewery to grab lunch and a cold drink. Here’s where the picnic comes in. We all bring something to contribute and bring out our coolers after the ride. We’ve been enjoying submarine sandwiches, lavash rolled sandwiches, muffins, fresh fruit and cookies. Washing those down with a cold local brew really makes the meal. Being outside on a picnic blanket with friends, socially distanced, makes this pandemic a bit easier to digest.
I’m finding that picnicking really scratches that communal dining itch I’ve been suffering from these days. I hope you go get yourself a pic-a-nic basket sometime soon.