10 ideas to try
In collaboration with Karina Durand, Sépaq’s content strategy and social media manager.
You think that April is too early for a picnic? Granted. Except this year.
This year, the picnic season is off to a flying start with the arrival of spring. However, since we can't enjoy your meal outdoors, number one because we have to stay home, number two because it's pretty cold in April, we're talking about a new kind of picnic: the indoor picnic.
This new type of picnic has many advantages, including its great flexibility: it can happen rain or shine, at any time of day, with your family, with that special someone, and even solo. Another considerable advantage? You can easily eat hot food, since the stove or microwave oven are never exactly far away.
For a successful indoor picnic, just respect the one rule of the picnicker code of ethics: eat on the ground.
Do you want to give it a shot? Here are 10 tried and true formulas approved by our team, to be adapted at your will of course (and depending on what you have in the fridge, because, remember, we must limit visits to the grocery store).
1. Home theatre
Inspired by our fondest childhood memories at the drive-in theatre, this picnic is suitable for rainy afternoons and dull Monday evenings. Lay a large blanket in the living room or basement, scatter soft pillows, choose two movies to watch one after the other, and share a carefully-selected array of junk food: an enormous bowl of butter popcorn and a huge bag of jujubes as well as remaining Easter chocolate, if desired.
For more comfort, wear sweatpants with an elastic waistband.
2. Breakfast featuring local flavours
Attention, we're talking about a picnic for breakfast, which is somewhat unorthodox, we must admit.
On the menu for this picbrunch? Only foods from Quebec! Start with a giant omelet to share, topped with your favourite local cheeses. Pan-fried baby potatoes are the perfect accompaniment.
If you didn’t make your homemade sourdough bread this week, encourage a local bakery and make a mountain of toast with good homemade bread, generously toasted with maple butter of course.
Another original idea: the day before, cook the delicious breakfast apple crisp recipe proposed by the nutritionist Geneviève O’Gleman, and serve it with a nice Greek vanilla yogurt. In order to respect the theme to perfection, choose apples from Quebec, which are still available at this time of the year, such as the Spartan or McIntosh varieties.
Finally, for full enjoyment, set aside the kitchen table and chairs and lay out a nice big soft fluffy blanket. Everyone is kindly requested to stay in their pyjamas to eat.
3. Christmas dinner
This is a “Christmas reception” picnic with your favourite picnickers via FaceTime.
To begin, you need your two best tablecloths with images of candy canes and Santa's reindeer. The first will be used to place the buffet dishes and the second, to sit on the floor for full enjoyment of the buffet in question.
In order to get in the mood, play your favourite holiday classics like Jingle Bells and O Holy Night. For maximum effect, go fetch a multicoloured light string and hang a Christmas wreath somewhere. If, by some miracle, you have some Mr. Bean DVDs, you could watch an episode or two during the afternoon.
For the menu, prepare your favourite buffet recipes: little crustless sandwiches, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, and cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon. For dessert, dare to make maple fudge and a homemade Christmas log (after all, it’s not like we have anything else to do).
After pigging out, play cards and stay up late.
4. The open-ended one
This type of picnic has two purposes: keeping fed and busy for a whole afternoon. That's why this formula is perfectly adapted to a lazy Wednesday during a week of lockdown.
Simply enjoy sandwiches cut into triangles while playing a game of Monopoly.
A small bowl of sour cream and onion chips is permitted (and even encouraged).
5. The daring one (ideal solo)
Enjoy a plate of spaghetti with Bolognese sauce seated cross-legged, directly on the living room carpet. Not recommended for young children.
6. The sugar shack
This year, the context prevents us from enjoying a normal sugar season. Oh well. What the heck. If we can't go to the sugar shack, the sugar shack will come to us!
On a big checkered tablecloth spread out directly on the basement floor, treat yourselves to a menu composed of pea soup, baked beans, smoked ham, bacon rinds, and Canadian maple syrup dumplings. At the end of the meal, enjoy maple taffy by the spoonful.
If you don't feel like cooking for a week to make such a feast, please note that a number of sugar shacks are offering take-out orders and some even provide home delivery.
7. Valentine's Day in April
If campers are allowed to celebrate Christmas in July, picnickers are allowed to celebrate Valentine's Day in April.
So, summon the love of your life to a candle-lit five-course dinner, directly on the basement floor. Get dressed up, drink bubbly, cook something fancy, and exchange sweet nothings throughout the meal.
Children can always make themselves useful by serving and washing dishes after dinner.
8. The Globe trotter
Guacamole, spring rolls, tandoori chicken, spanakopita, paella, sushi, baklavas, tiramisu, and more! Eat different dishes from different countries of the world during the same meal and add a rule: in addition to eating on the floor, everyone will taste every single item.
To create a beautiful atmosphere, play world music, go get your photo albums, and share your best travel memories.
9. The beach party
This is where you trade the big picnic blanket for beach towels laid out in the living room. Go get your shorts, straw hat, and slippers and enjoy a nice little beach lunch: steamed hot dogs cooked in the microwave, pan-grilled hamburgers, salt and vinegar chips, raw vegetables and dip. For dessert, dare to devour popsicles (the advantage of being so close to the freezer).
No need for utensils. You can eat with your hands (properly washed beforehand for 20 seconds with soap of course). There are fewer dishes that way.
10. The patio formula
The patio formula takes place on the terrace or in the backyard, weather and home layout permitting of course. It’s the formula which is the furthest from the indoor picnic but also the closest to a traditional picnic.
The menu is inspired by the sunny menu courtesy of the nutritionist Geneviève O’Gleman and is specially designed for housebound picnickers.
After the meal, concoct a homemade bean bag toss or bubble game, following the instructions provided by the ladies from Dans le sac.
So, are you ready to give it a shot?
Because take our word for it… picnic season is officially underway!