Picnics are a way to execute decadence and luxury on a small scale. I hosted a croquet picnic at our neighborhood park and it was a wealth of visual riches, complete with ratty blankets and fire hazard votives. I am drawn to clutter and chaos and snacking is my favorite way to eat; lots of people came and went, dropping off little treats and drinks to add to the feast. I provided the bulk of the dinner, including bottles of champagne, rose and limeade. Besides a red leaf lettuce salad with feta and walnuts — and an amazing rice, raw kale and asparagus salad that my friend brought — mostly everything else was finger food, including cured meats, a million cheeses, plump dates stuffed with goat cheese, roasted beets, clementines, strawberries, grapes, ginger snaps, baguettes and whole wheat breads and crackers, lots of jams and jellies, roasted nuts and pickled vegetables. Oh, and peanut butter M&Ms. Because no picnic is complete without dessert.

But for future picnics, I will remember to bring plates.

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