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James Beard and the Art of Picnicking



July 01, 2010


Michael White Picnic Recipes Perhaps we’ve said it before, but James Beard loved picnics. “Since my earliest recollections of food, I have fancied picnics and eating out of doors more than any other fashion of eating,” Beard writes in his memoir, Delights & Prejudices (our blog’s namesake), “It is perfectly true that under these circumstances food tastes better. One relishes the fresh air and the escape from crowds, and delights in being simply oneself.” Jim goes on to reminisce about a picnic that coincided with an important first. “I can recall my first automobile ride, we drove in a huge touring car…it was an exciting day for all of us, for picnicking in a car was relatively rare, and to drive out of town with a hamper of food was a great adventure. I remember this picnic especially, because it had been suggested at the spur of the moment, which added to the fun.” Driving out to the ideal picnic locale is no longer a rare occurrence, but what you pack can make all the difference. In honor of Beard’s favorite dining tradition, JBF has partnered with our sponsor Mercedes-Benz and Michael White, chef and owner of Marea, our 2010 winner of the Best New Restaurant award, for an “On the Road” picnic menu. Chef White’s innovative Italian dishes incorporate the best of the season and are the perfect complement to a glorious outdoor setting. We want you to prepare chef White’s grilled steak with arugula and parmesan on ciabatta and his insalata di mare for your next excursion, and we want you to enjoy these dishes in style, so we’re giving away the ultimate picnic backpack, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. This insulated pack comes with everything you need to dine alfresco—elegant service for four, cloth napkins, a cutting board, a corkscrew, and more. Mercedes-Benz Picnic Backpack Share your favorite picnic memory (food, locale, company—we want to hear about all of it) in the comments below and a lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive the backpack. Happy picnicking!