The Picnic Book Review

The Picnic Book Review

Title: The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket
Author: Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, Jen Stevenson
Published: 2015, Artisan
No. of Pages: 192
Cover Price: $19.95 Hardcover, $8.61 Kindle

Everyone likes a picnic, but for those who haven’t prepared lots of them, it's important to have a primer with enough information to plan things perfectly. The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanketisn’t just a book of good recipes to take on a picnic; rather, it's a great textbook with information on planning, finding a perfect site, the right type of blanket to use, containers to store the food, tools needed, and even a definitive packing list. Tips about food safety and even how to dress for a picnic are also included.

As far as recipes go, there are over a dozen variations on the deviled egg – a must-have for most typical picnics, and numerous recipes for salads (including several to be served on a stick), beverages, appetizers, mains such as a muffuletta sandwich, quiche, roasted tea-brined chicken, poached salmon, roasted meats, and even Coronation chicken (a popular British dish adapted from the Coronation chicken served at the Queen’s coronation) in lettuce cups. The desserts are a bit more exciting than brownies, cookies, and sheet cakes with a plastic lid: rhubarb pavlovas, hazelnut cupcakes, several parfaits in jars, and a few fancy cookies. The authors have also added suggested menus that sound so good, readers will find themselves planning a picnic every week. Even though there are recipes for typical picnic dishes, most of the recipes are innovative, interesting, and of course (at least the ones I tried) delicious. The instructions are easy to follow and the recipes turn out exactly as described. Some of the recipes are geared for more experienced cooks, but there are enough easy recipes, that this book is also good for beginners.

Although the book has adorable illustrations, there are no actual pictures of the dishes; cooks will just have to imagine how the dishes should look. Also, there is a fairly good table of contents which lists each recipe, but no formal index, which is quite inconvenient (it may be that my review copy is simply missing the index, but it needs to be there).

Picnic lovers will definitely want this book, not only because of the information and the recipes, but also because it is beautiful; even though there are no photographs, the artwork is extraordinary. This is definitely a book to purchase in hardcover (rather than Kindle), so cooks can receive inspiration just by flipping through. It is also a great book for gifts.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

This book may be purchased at Amazon:
The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket, Hardcover
The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket, Kindle
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