It’s summer, and it is beautiful. Even here in smoldering Sacramento, at 95 degrees, us natives can get out and enjoy the sunshine. If you’re looking for something to do outside, may I suggest the humble picnic?
Picnics used to be a summer staple, as American as apple pie, but recently they seem to have gone out of favor. Take this article for example, which argues for restaurants over picnics because “Don’t fight nature, get away from it” and “picnics are expensive” because you can buy $1000 picnic baskets.
Yes, if you don’t like grass, or a few bugs, or dogs, you are probably going to not like picnics. But then, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Get out of your climate controlled bubble and live life!
I think that is the only response I can give for that. Here are 5 reasons why you should go out and enjoy a picnic today.
- It’s cheap
The cheapest picnic is BYOL, AKA bring your own lunch. A step above that, is BYOL, and bring a dish to share. That is what I and a few good friends did over the 4th of July weekend. Looks like we all brought fruit. Here’s to healthy food and healthy people!
- Nature is good for you
Sunshine and vitamin D, duh. Also studies confirm that humans were not made for climate controlled white walls. According to Berkeley, research shows that spending time outdoors with the bugs, and the grass, and the birds makes people happier, less stressed, more creative, and more kind. My friend Ali Santiago said it best when she stated
“I think flowers are so much prettier because they are alive.”
Furthermore, may I point out, that if you are allergic to grass (like me) a waterproof made in USA picnic blanket does a body good? This is my picnic blanket, and I’ve gotten so many compliments! It is wonderful to be completely grass itchy free.
- Actually talk to people
Gosh, talk to people while not drunk and not watching TV? How weird would that be? Having a picnic is as low stimulus as you get, prompting quality conversation and self-reflection. I learned so much as to what was going on in both Cherise’s and Ali’s lives over our rose garden picnic. Thus, find where you misplaced your listening skills and go get ‘em tiger!
- You can bring your babies and/or fur babies
Nature parks often have real parks, with slides and swings and pools. Babies are welcome, and so are leash trained fur babies. Fun doesn’t always mean getting away from your family to spend time with your friends, but maybe bring your friends, and family, together.
- You can be part of your community
One of the coolest things about picnicking, I think, is wondering just who you are going to run into. We ran into a friend from the co-op yesterday! Parks are community gathering places, and bring us together as people and friends and neighbors. A neighborhood is more than just a place for your house or your apartment, but a network of friends and supporters waiting to be found.
This week in updates: Cooking and Sunshine
Long weekend for me, which is good, as boy do I need it! Something has just felt so busy lately. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I am really, really looking forward to being home. The weather is cooling down, a nice 95 as opposed to highs of 110, and the windows are open and the oven is on. Time for cooking and sunshine!
The Recipe: Vegan Baked Beans
This is an easy cheap recipe even your non vegan friends will get behind. Spicy, sweet, and smoky, these baked beans make the perfect complement to a picnic and some homemade cornbread! I spent $3 on the beans, $1 on the onion, $1 on the maple syrup, and about $2 on the rest of the spices. Thus, $7 for 7-8 servings. You can’t beat that!
- 3 cups dried beans
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tbs oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 5 tbs maple syrup
- 2 tbs blackstrap molasses
- Cayenne to taste
- Salt and pepper
- Soak and cook the beans. Saute the onion in the oil until it starts to brown. Mix all ingredients together over medium heat in a large skillet. Stir until the maple syrup and molasses thickens, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!