How to have a better picnic: Get servants

From my email box and courtesy marthastewart.com

Once again I have sought a way to break through my now chronic writer’s block, and once again Martha has delivered, this time not a mimsy little hand drill, but a great big motherfucker of a sledgehammer to blast through the creative dam. In the form of this:

How to Have a Better Picnic

As you might have guessed, Martha thinks crafting vastly improves the al fresco dining experience. I, however, beg to differ. So let’s just take this apart, shall we?

In the above image of picnic bliss — as well as all the others in the feature article — we see lovely refreshments in pristine natural settings where comfy pillows, tasteful linens, frosty beverages and delicious treats await the arrival of well-heeled, scrupulously upholstered guests for a glass of perfectly chilled rosé accompanied by lighthearted, yet penetrating discussions of  the great books, the events of the day, and Martha’s supreme wonderfulness. Heaven on a beach.

Here’s what we don’t see:

  • The army of cooks, sommeliers and stylists who provisioned the picnic over the course of three long, hellish working days
  • The legions of domestic staff who humped all the aforementioned picnic accoutrements and food across approximately six miles of burning sand to a properly secluded spot on the beach
  • The team of photographers, gophers and fluffers (for the pillows, people) required to get the one perfect snapshot of the perfect beach party setting
  • Bugs
  • The raging inferno of citronella candles necessary in any outdoor situation that entails humans and food
  • Whiny kids who don’t want cucumber sandwiches for lunch, and even if they did, wouldn’t eat them because they’d be full of sand
  • Sunburned adults being driven to madness by mosquito bites, the horror of appearing in a social situation in swimwear, and the insufferable domestic drill sergeant at the center of their party universe
  • The exhausted host and hostess throwing this shindig who have already had about six knock-down drag-out fights in the run-up to it and are well on their way to getting absolutely blind drunk, disappearing behind a dune with someone other than their spouse and eventually filing for divorce.

I hate picnics.

Quite simply, there is not enough vodka in the world to make a picnic — or any outdoor dining event — worth your while, especially if you have to hand paint the picnic basket, waterproof the blanket, make special cocktail glass flowers and create a collapsible dog bowl to do it. This kind of event requires staff, people. And pharmaceuticals, which can be carefully blended for each party guest’s particular emotional needs, then distributed in colorful origami baskets that have been personalized with decorative name tags! Now that’s crafting with a purpose.

Party favors, and the raw material for positive social interaction.
Courtesy disaboom.com

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on July 13, 2012, in Cocktails!, Friendly Advice, Party! Party! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. You forgot homeless people. There isn’t a park in Florida where you can eat without being stared at – resentfully – by a hungry vagrant. I’d rather ditch the linens and crafting and spend the money on a dozen extra tuna fish sandwiches to hand out to these poor people. I really don’t like that Martha Stewart. I just don’t.

    • There are no vagrants on Martha’s beaches, silly! Even if they could come up with the membership fee, the lack of an address would get them blackballed.

  2. I’ve never wanted to hang out or have anything to do with Martha. But now that I know there are fluffers in her service I might have to reconsider my position. 🙂

  3. I am assuming that the Kool Aid thing is a reference to Jim Jones (Martha’s muse?). I am particularly offended by the pillow component.

  4. I’d leave a long, thoughtful comment, but I’ve gotta clean the dead birds out of my water feature in preparation for an impromptu alfresco tapas dinner for 40 I threw together via twitter this morning.

  5. Like the party favors. Nothing like Zoloft, Ziprexa or Xanax to make those pesky noises other people are making (Is. supper ready? etc.) Martha is a pox on all who want to go to the park with paper napkins and plates, plastic forks and salads and sandwiches we got from the supermarket deli. Cucumber sandwiches? We don’ need no steenkin’ cucumber sandwiches. Rock on.

    • I have found a little ecstasy in the punch bowl will pretty reliably move the party in a nonverbal direction. For what it’s worth…

  6. Apparently, Martha has a new recipe for making water from scratch.

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