5 Picnic Basket Essentials

Elizabeth Bard, author of Lunch in Paris, shares her outdoor eating must-haves.

Picnic basket on a blanket
(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. For a vintage look, pick up some mismatched china plates at your local flea market.

2. Gooey cheese and great bread are key ingredients for any picnic. On a hot day, choose soft cheeses, like brie, rather than hard ones, like cheddar or havarti — soft cheeses ooze, hard cheeses sweat.

3. A couscous (or orzo) salad with lots of fresh veggies is a cheap and cheerful way to feed a crowd. Go easy on the dressing — you don't want your picnic creations to get soggy.

4. Pack two bottles of water for every bottle of wine. Forgot the corkscrew? An excellent excuse to talk to the cute boy on the next blanket over.

5. Take two or three large garbage bags. Use one for your trash and one to store plates and containers that need to be washed. If the ground is a bit damp, you can put the extra one under your picnic blanket.