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The simple Oklahoma summer picnic

Filed by KOSU News in Feature.
July 10, 2013

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The summer means a lot of different things – floating down the Illinois River, maybe a family visit to the zoo, or a day trip to one of Oklahoma’s more than 200 lakes. But to get through the day, you need some food. And what better than Oklahoma food…from an Oklahoma chef? I stepped into the kitchen at the restaurant Local in Norman…

“We’ve always got house made pickles, some sort of meat, a pasta salad where the pasta’s made her in Oklahoma City, could be roasted, could be raw.”

That’s Chef Kyle Mills, at Local.

But not everyone has the suppliers, equipment, time, and space to make a beautiful lunch that could hold up through the Oklahoma heat.

“People could go to Urban Agragrian, get all the things we use here, make a nice dressing and chop it all up. We try to make the food simple, because the produce is so good.”

That leaves one problem – dessert. Ice cream? That’s not going to make it until noon without turning into soup. Kyle says you could just cut out the middle process and go straight to the soup.

Nobody wants to eat a hot soup and get weighed down”.

“so we get really great fresh fruit, just cook them down, pureed it, chilled it down, served it with some crème fraiche.”

It’s easy to try to jazz up a picnic, turning a sandwich into a fifteen ingredient symphony. But Kyle makes the case that it’s all about the ingredients. Get high quality stuff, just give them some more layers of flavor with a simple dressing.

“It’s not generally too hard. It may not be everybody’s standard idea of a picnic. The things that are available are not your standard picnic items.”


What would go in your summer picnic basket? Click here to answer our short query. We’ll have some of your stories soon. And we’re still collecting stories on your favorite summer song, find that right here as well.

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