It’s Picnic Season!

Is there anything more sublime than a summertime picnic? Food just tastes better when you're lounging in the sun on a big old blanket, watching happy dogs hurtle through the park, and politely swatting away the bumblebees hovering around your plate.

However, I must confess, I don't have the most impressive picnic prowess. I usually show up with a sleeve of Carr's Water Crackers, a wedge of brie, and an expression on my face that hopefully conveys how sorry I am that I don't know how to make tapenade. One time, I even had a pizza delivered to the park to divert attention away from my lack of handmade goodies.

But that's all about to change. This will be the summer that I become a picnic aficionado! No more park pizza for this gal. Check out some of my new favorite cookbooks of travel-friendly cuisine, get inspired, and get outside!

The Picnic (Book)

The Picnic (eBook)

Within the unassuming covers of this sweet little book is the be-all and end-all of picnicking primers. It covers everything from ideal blanket dimensions (9 square feet per picnicker, apparently) to lawn games to alcohol permits, with dozens of adorably illustrated recipes throughout. Spend just a few moments with this book and you might convince yourself that picnicking can be a lifestyle, not just a pastime!

The Portable Feast

Who knew portable food could be so gorgeous? Brimming with lush photographs of mouthwatering dishes and lots of practical advice for packing and storing your feasts, this cookbook offers both inventive standalone recipes (bread pudding muffins?! Yes, please!) and complete menus tailored for al fresco occasions like summer concerts and the fall harvest.

Lust for Leaf

With a clever little Iggy Pop reference right there in the title, you know this is a cookbook by vegetarian party animals, for vegetarian party animals! This lively book is packed with appetizing but unpretentious recipes like Doritos-inspired Cool Ranch biscuits, plus suggestions for your outdoor party playlist. All in all, the perfect guide for those of you who are a little too raucous and rowdy to be confined to your 9 square feet of picnic blanket!

If you feel like showing off some of your new favorite recipes in front of fellow bibliophiles, bring your picnic to one of the Reading Parties in the Park we'll be hosting throughout the summer. Just be careful not to get Cool Ranch biscuit crumbs on the library books!