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Book Reviews

Embracing the Twee: Review of The Picnic Society's New Book

Photo: The Portland Picnic Society.

Photo: The Portland Picnic Society.

Eat your heart out, Zooey Deschanel; the new queens of twee have arrived and they come bearing a wicker picnic basket.

Three local food personalities and founders of the Portland Picnic Society – writer Marnie Hanel, cookbook writer Andrea Slonecker, and food blogger Jen Stevenson – have come together to create the ultimate guide to picnicking. Released just in time for spring – the best time for picnicking – The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket has got you covered, whether you’re looking for an appropriately themed deviled egg or a post-meal activity.

Light humor and self-satirizing saves the book from being the embodiment of a Pinterest board. Rather than worshipping the Mason jar (aka the holy grail of Pinterest), the authors create a satirical list of the uses of the Mason jar. The list goes beyond the obvious functions, such as a layered salad vestibule or candy jar, to more necessary and creative functions, like a harmonica case or badminton boundary marker.

The Picnic forgoes the spontaneity of a picnic and focuses on the details. Presented in a hand-illustrated hardcover with a red and white gingham bookmark, the book itself is incredibly well thought out and detailed. There are a multitude of helpful lists and guides to hosting the perfect picnic right down to the finest detail, my favorite guide being the rosé “Tasting Tips,” which provides even the most inexperienced (or tipsy) drinker with a colorful vocabulary of technical wine terms. In addition to the guides, the recipes are incredibly delicious. Accompanying each recipe is a guide to what utensils and tools are needed, effective transportation ideas, and pairings.

It’s clear that the authors had an excellent time creating this book together. After reading through it, I’m eager and very prepared to host my own picnic. After all, I always enjoy a book that encourages public boozing.


Lisa Creatura loves making home cooked meals from a well-organized kitchen. You can find her, and more of her love of books, on Instagram under the handle boringoldbooklady.