A Year of Picnics Recipes for Dining Well in the Great Outdoors by Ashley English details the difference between a bucket of chicken and a blanket, known as a picnic; and a carefully planned Picnic with a capital “P”. This is not exactly a cookbook but more of an event planning guide containing event ideas for a Romantic, , Bird-Watching, Waterside, Farm, Children’s, Winter, Around the World and other types of Picnic events.

“Sure, these are just picnics, but they can be so very much more than that, really. They can serve as experiences that compel us to be mindful of our actions in this place we all call home. The fact that you’ll be eating delicious foods and enjoying stimulating activities, all in a lovely setting, only sweetens the deal.”

Included in each section are ideas for preparation, games, activities, and most especially the recipes. Included are Mushroom Beef Stew, Orange-Rhubarb Chutney, Curried Egg Salad Cucumber Cups, Moroccan Apple Salad, Romanian Meatball Soup and many more. We have tried several of the recipes. The instructions are simple to follow. The ingredients are easily obtainable. The real test of a recipe book is the taste of the final product and this book passes that test. The picnic themes introduce different regional and national flavors, some subtle, some savory, some hearty. The writing is readable. Some of the ideas and games are a little simple, and are very applicable for younger families. Others are more involved and are suitable for older children or couples. The most enjoyable aspect of the book is the integration of themes making a picnic a remarkable, memorable event for all involved.