“No matter how well you plan, if you want to have an elegant picnic at Tanglewood, you’re going to have to arrive early and do some mildly heavy lifting,” Matthew Rubiner observes. “But make the food and drink the easy part.”
* If you’re going to lug a coffee table and chairs, try to find pieces on wheels or ones that strap to your back or fold. Consider items that serve a double purpose: a hard-topped cooler, for example, as a prep table.
* Bring a big quilt, pillows, and real linens. They look and feel nicer, and they’re “greener.” Just make sure you get them into the wash right away when you’re back home.
* Pickled, cured, and salted foods are great options: roasted peppers, cornichons, mustards, pates, and sausages. And the more no-utensils-necessary foods the better, such as sandwiches, or cold soups that can be served in small handled cups.
* If guests ask whether they can bring anything, suggest a cooler of ice. There’s never enough.
* If you use bug spray, try grass-friendly tea-tree oil. Most commercial sprays will ruin grass.
* Don’t forget about cleanup. Bring garbage bags for trash, plus plastic containers and bags for leftovers.