From March 15th to June 10th our daughter, Vera, didn’t leave the apartment. Not once. By some combination of anxiety, the homework load of her junior year of high school, and a dollop of teenage ennui, she seemed to have no problem with quarantine. In fact, she joked that she was made for it. After all, there are endless BTS and ballet videos on YouTube and 95 seasons of Supernatural to get through!
But we were worried, and I started slipping her vitamin D tablets at every meal. As summer approached along with her 17th birthday, I knew we needed to do something that included being outside and seeing some people that were not us. Luckily, her dance crew was in town, so we all gathered in Central Park for a socially-distanced birthday picnic celebration.
Our goal was to create a festive space for them to hang out for the afternoon, each on her own blanket and (hopefully) staying six feet apart. We didn’t formally declare a food theme, but you could say it was “Pre-School Snack Time”: individual servings of hummus and ranch dressing (in 4 oz. jars) for dipping with pita and veggies, cherries and grapes, those individually wrapped cheese sticks, and little cans of soda.
I set up the picnic and faded a ways back to watch my daughter and her friends enjoy their reunion, marveling at how strange these times are and grateful for the perfect weather that made getting together outside possible on her birthday.
Dessert were store-bought mini cheesecakes and petit four (we decided to forego blowing out candles for the obvious reason). The girls stayed in the park for hours, chatting and hanging out. And as picnics go, this was one of the easiest to put together. Vera didn’t want fancy food, and it was nice to not have to do any complicated cooking.
TEENAGE PICNIC MENU
Veggies: carrots, cucumbers, celery
Hummus and ranch dressing (divided into 4 oz. individual jars)
Fruit: cherries and grapes
Cheddar and jack cheese sticks
Seltzer and Soda
Mini cheesecakes and petit four from the bakery counter