Fake Foodie Picnic

Kevin Bruce

photos: jane bruce

For food lovers, there are a lot of great things about summer: the short-lived but amazing bounty of seasonal local fruits and vegetables, grillin' on the roof at sunset, and—is it just me, or does water actually taste better? However, it's not all good when the 100° heat makes simmering chicken stock for 24 hours a brutal health risk or totally skunks your kombucha, maaan. From June 20-September 21, just being in the same room as a stove is painful. I'm not about to give up cooking, but you can use simple recipes to minimize kitchen time and once everything is said and done in the kitchen, why not toss it on a designer blanket and take it outside? Plus, with all the free outdoor shows in NYC this summer, there's no reason not to picnic!

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Let's start with a salad, cause if you're eating on some dog shit- and used-Bandaid-covered grass in public you want to look as classy as possible doing it, and people respect salads. Your best bet is to just cruise the Greenmarket and pick up the vegetables that look the coolest – purple carrots, corn, heirloom tomatoes, and maybe something that you would never actually eat at home but looks impressive, like kohlrabi or ramps. Then mix 'em up with a leafy green and some chives or something from your windowsill herb garden and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. If you were eating in the privacy of your own home, I'd say go ahead and drench it with bacon and ranch, but your going out in public here, so let's keep it tasteful.

Next up, let's do some deviled eggs. I could easily eat a dozen deviled eggs in one sitting, and I've come close to it without even trying. But once again, we're eating in public here, so let's keep it to just a few. The people around you aren't going to telepathically know that you make your own mayonnaise and mustard from scratch, so try to loudly bring it up as a talking point with your picnic buddy. And, since you skipped out on the bacon in that salad, now is your chance to crumble it up and sneak it in.

If a really cool looking salad and a bunch of eggs still has you starving for a double cheeseburger, you're just going to have to fake it through this next course. Deli meats are gross and I can't afford charcuterie even when I'm trying to impress people, so if you want a covetable sandwich that doesn't require cooking, slice up an apple and some brie on a totally rustic-looking piece of sourdough. As you eat, be sure to make at least as many ooohs and aahs as an actress in a yogurt commercial, that way everyone around you knows that even without arti$anally cured meats, your sandwich is divine and so are you.

Finish up with a currant fool, which is just the foodie way of saying crushed up currants and whipped cream. Any berry will do, but currants are totally the it berry of summer 2012. Still got that homemade créme fraiche? Whip it up (then talk about how store-bought créme fraiche just does. not. compare. to homemade). Throw in a couple shortbread cookies and enjoy. Most summer days I just want to eat double-scooped ice cream cones, but I just went out of my way to look like a luxurious Brooklyn foodie douchebag and I'm not about to throw it all away on Mister Softee.

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