Celebrating International Picnic Day: basket ideas

Joy Lin/Staff

On Thursday, June 18th, the world comes together to celebrate picnics. Or at least they should, because picnics are great! What better way to spend a summer’s afternoon than sprawled out on a blanket, eating lots of fancy food in the sunshine. Best of all, here in Berkeley, we’re uncommonly blessed with a huge number of picnic-ready patches of sun-dappled grass.

The difficult part is deciding what you, underfunded and undermotivated college student, should pack in your basket. Here are a few ideas:



  • The Fancy Feast (but not for cats because cats can’t eat cheese); alternatively, an Ode to Prosciutto

All your friends may be backpacking through Europe, but you could be outside right now, eating an entire ream of prosciutto by yourself. Doesn’t that sound cooler?

Treat yourself to a lounge-y, luxurious meal with a basket full of the following:

  • As alluded to, prosciutto — Trader Joe’s affordably sells sampler packages of cured meats if you would like prosciutto as well as a little variety for a good price, but they also just sell a bunch of prosciutto
  • Brie
  • Baguette
  • Crackers
  • Apple slices — you can probably see where we’re going with this, but try the brie, prosciutto and the apple slices on a carb because it’s the best time you’ll ever have
  • Cantaloupe — prosciutto and melon. Prosciutto tastes awesome and decadent and makes you feel like you’re the kind of person who wears really fantastically crafted leather shoes with all things, but it’s super good with melon
  • If you’re over 21, champagne. If not, Martinelli’s Apple Cider
  • And finally, if you’ve got a little extra pocket money, treat yourself to a jar of fig jam, which is delicious with everything but especially prosciutto


  1.    The All-American

Maybe you’d rather go classic for your picnic — make it a blue jeans, wicker basket, Martha Stewart-assisted affair. Here’s the basket for you:

  • Chicken — our more realistic suggestion is that you get one of those great $5 roasted chickens from the supermarket that are already warm, but if you really want to go all out, how about this
  • Pasta salad — throw in some lemon, olive oil and the veggies and herbs of your choice, and you’re pretty much good to go
  • Celery and peanut butter — peanut butter feels more classic, but cookie butter is arguably more delicious
  • Lemonade
  • Chocolate chip cookies — for the cookies and lemonade, sure, it’s probably nice to make it yourself, but is it really so necessary?


  1.  The Deli    

Oy vey! Take the deli to the streets and have a bagel picnic.

  • Bagels
  • Cream cheese (this is biased, but butter on a bagel is nonsense)
  • Lox
  • A cooler to put the lox in
  • If you can get it, whitefish salad — it’s like tuna salad but a million times better. If anybody knows where to buy some in Berkeley, please e-mail this writer
  • Latkes!  A latke is a potato pancake, we’ve never met a person who didn’t like one, and why should Hanukkah have all the fun? This is how you make one
  • Pickles
  • Root beer
  • Black and white cookies


  1.  The Bento Box

The Japanese know how to pack a lunch. Whether it’s an elegant spread of sashimi or two rice balls made to look like happy pandas, the bento box is definitely something to aspire to. Why not make a trip to Daiso and give it a go?

  • A cute box to put this all in
  • Cute chopsticks to eat it with
  • Onigiri (rice balls) are exactly that — little balls, or neat little triangles, of rice with whatever you like in them (fish, pickled plum, pickled radish, bonito flakes … OK, some of these might be an acquired taste) covered with some seaweed. Super cute, super easy
  • Edamame
  • Gyoza (dumplings). Buy a bag of frozen ones!
  • Ramune! Relive those summer days you spent sipping away, trying desperately to crack the little marble out of its glass prison
  • Cute Japanese snacks — how can we even choose from these? Pick whichever smiling, chocolate-filled animal catches your fancy

Contact Miya Singer at [email protected].