Master Outdoor Movie Night

Master Outdoor Movie Night

How to gather provisions for the perfect summery spread.

Outdoor movies are made for warm summer nights. Sometimes you pack a picnic basket, bring folding chairs, and get there early. Other times, you and a friend may just stumble across an outdoor screening. You want to seize the moment, but the film starts in half an hour, and the only place within walking distance is a corner store. No problem. Read on to gather provisions for the perfect summery spread.

Pop to it.
At a movie there must be popcorn. A big bag of salted popcorn can be elevated with grated Parmesan and black pepper, Old Bay, or even the cheese packet from a box of organic macaroni and white cheddar cheese (trust us). Sprinkle sliced pineapple or mango spears with cayenne pepper and crumbled cotija cheese. Other easy-to-eat snacks include fresh pico de gallo and tortilla chips, prewashed cherry tomatoes, and Cornichos.

Fork it over.
You should be able to eat everything with your hands, because no one wants to be fumbling for a knife and fork in the dark. But that doesn’t mean you’re limited to snacking. Grab a Pullman loaf or other soft sandwich bread. Use it to make sandwiches with sliced dill pickles, mustard, and dry-cured ham or a soft, spreadable cheese and fig jam. Another option is to pick up a crusty baguette and either goat cheese, marinated bocconcini, or Brie—with an assortment of charcuterie.

Keep it classy. 
You’re going to want to toast to your lovely picnic on the fly. Pick up a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, then look for a neoprene bottle tote or chill bag to keep your Champagne ice-cold on the way to the movie screening. Instead of basic red Solo cups, choose the prettiest plastic tumblers you can find. Govino makes shatterproof flutes that can be reused at your next get-together.

Keep it clean. 
If you don’t have time to run home for a blanket, buy a vinyl tablecloth, shower curtain, or beach towel to sit on. If you keep a yoga mat under your desk for midday Pilates sessions, now is the time to circle back and get it. Don’t forget paper napkins, paper plates, and plastic knives. And if you’re the type who always enjoys the warm-towel ritual in a nice restaurant, grab wet wipes so you can replicate it after you’re done eating.

Sweeten the deal. 
Just because a dessert is store-bought doesn’t mean it can’t taste amazing. The simplest combination is good-quality dark chocolate and fresh fruit. But you can also dunk fresh berries or cherries into a small carton of whole-milk vanilla yogurt. Stirring orange marmalade into mascarpone cheese makes a delicious dip for cinnamon pita chips. Or just listen for the sweet sound of the ice cream truck and treat yourself to a cone on your way home.

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