Sustainable Picnic!

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys

Long, warm summer days are a great time to load up your picnic basket and head out to the seashore, mountaintop, or woodland glade to celebrate with friends or enjoy a quiet meal alone in the beautiful outdoors. These three new titles will help you to plan and pack a sumptuous and waste-efficient en plein air feast using the abundance of wholesome, colorful produce on offer at local markets.


The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Blanket to Basket
by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson
(Artisan, 2015)

The authors are friends, food writers, and founders of the Portland Picnic Society in Oregon. In addition to practical planning advice (innovative uses for reuseable Mason jars, how to find the perfect blanket, must-have items in the basket to accompany each dish), you’ll find dozens of delicious recipes for dishes made to travel. Enjoy inspired combinations like Rainbow Carrots with Smoky Paprika Vinaigrette, Kale Panzanella with Burnt Lemon Caesar Dressing, Blue Ribbon Tomato Pie, Smoky Tea-Brined Fried Chicken, Petite Pavlovas with Limey Roasted Rhubarb, and Strawberry Shrub Sparklers. Charmingly illustrated with drawings by Emily Isabella.


Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook:
A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money by Wasting Less Food
by Dana Gunders
(Chronicle Books, 2015) 

Berkeley resident Dana Gunders is a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council working to reduce food waste. Her handbook is packed with practical strategies and educational tables to help reduce the amount of food thrown away. It offers guidance for meal planning (essential!), shopping, portioning, using a refrigerator properly, and freezing, pickling, and cellaring. Twenty simple recipes for tasty dishes provide options for using refrigerator remainders and common foods slightly past their prime (stale tortilla chips, cheese rinds, stale bread, broccoli stalks, wrinkly vegetables, and the like). Sour Milk Pancakes, anyone?


A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes
(That Will Make You Feel Amazing)
by Anna Jones
(Ten Speed Press, 2015) 

London-based food writer and stylist Anna Jones has worked with Yotam Ottolenghi, Sophie Dahl, Stevie Parle, and Jamie Oliver. Her beautifully photographed vegetarian cookbook is packed with healthy, fresh recipes using grains, nuts, seeds, and seasonal fruits and vegetables, with less reliance on dairy and gluten. Wholesome, attractive dishes emphasizing flavor and texture include a Blueberry and Amaranth Porridge; Mint, Pistachio and Zucchini Balls; and Cherry and Rosewater Macaroon Tart.