Summer afternoon, summer afternoon…

by | Jun 8, 2022

It may not be a widely acknowledged fact that poetry and aperitifs are the *perfect* pairing, but they ARE. And we are headed toward picnic perfection.

I was recently introduced to this poem, and I think it might be the most perfect of all (not to mention you could use it as a shopping list for basically the most delicious meal ever), so I am passing it on to you because I love you. This whole poem-meets-dream-menu pairs well with a can of Vélo spritz or Briar cocktail if you are looking for an easy picnic cocktail that is also incredibly delicious.


By Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

The figs we ate wrapped in bacon.
The gelato we consumed greedily:
coconut milk, clove, fresh pear.
How we’d dump hot espresso on it
just to watch it melt, licking our spoons
clean. The potatoes fried in duck fat,
the salt we’d suck off our fingers,
the eggs we’d watch get beaten
’til they were a dizzying bright yellow,
how their edges crisped in the pan.
The pink salt blossom of prosciutto
we pulled apart with our hands, melted
on our eager tongues. The green herbs
with goat cheese, the aged brie paired
with a small pot of strawberry jam,
the final sour cherry we kept politely
pushing onto each other’s plate, saying,
No, you. But it’s so good. No, it’s yours.
How I finally put an end to it, plucked it
from the plate, and stuck it in my mouth.
How good it tasted: so sweet and so tart.
How good it felt: to want something and
pretend you don’t, and to get it anyway.

Originally published in The Year of No Mistakes by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (Write Bloody Publishing, 2013)

image of picnic blanket with picnic foods and a can of Briar blackberry cocktail
Hungry for even more food inspiration to pair with your easy picnic cocktail? Ok.

Marian, who I worked with at Food52 and miss ever so much, just published an extensive picnic guide in the New York Times Magazine. Even though I can’t get any of the picnic boxes around here, they’re worth drooling over, and the recipes for zucchini with avocado dressing and the strawberry tomato soda are going on my MUST MAKE ASAP list!

cheese and pickle sandwich on baguett, laying on a picnic paper and cloth

Here is one of my favorite picnic sandwiches, and it may even be one of my all time favorite sandwiches, The Farmer’s Lunch.

And here is a recipe for a wonderful chickpea salad from my book The Family Camp Cookbook!


  • 1 large garnet yam, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 1, 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (40 g) chopped red onion1
  • tablespoon (15 g) tahini
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup (30 g) fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt

To make

  1. Heat your oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7). Toss the cubed yam with about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. Spread on a baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally until cooked through and browned on the outside, about 40 minutes.
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the chickpeas and the whole garlic cloves. Cook, stirring until the garlic is golden on the outside and the chickpeas are warmed, about 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Finely chop the two sautéed garlic cloves. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, tahini, cumin, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil, lemon juice, red onion, and a generous pinch of salt (I find tahini to be very bitter without a good hit of salt). Whisk a spoonful of water into the dressing if you need to increase its creaminess and make it thinner. Add the cooked yam, the chickpeas, and the parsley and toss to coat everything with the dressing. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container.
  4. Serve as a salad or with pitas