Outdoor eating is a pleasure and those guests who must bring their own food should rejoice. It’s all in the planning

The news that the 1,200 members of the public whose good deeds have secured them an invitation to the royal wedding will have to bring their own picnics should come as a relief to those worthy folk. After all, as the American gastronome James Beard put it, if the rain holds off picnics are “one of the supreme pleasures of outdoor life”. Everything tastes better seasoned with fresh air.

The best picnics may be casual, but there are a few simple rules for success and, as usual, they mostly involve planning. This is not the time to do a smash and grab at M&S Windsor – you’ll inevitably end up with too much mismatched food that you’ll just have to lug home afterwards. Instead, choose a centrepiece, such as a pie, ham or cheese, and work from there: contrary to popular belief, not all such occasions require a sharing bag of crisps and a dip selection.

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