Graphic: Natalie Peeples

My house is small. My brother once told me I lived in a tiny house, “but like, not an actual tiny house.” Thanks, bro. But what it lacks in square footage inside, it makes up for in a decent-sized backyard with room for a garden and chickens and grilling parties. During the spring and summer I impulsively text friends to come over, often before I consult the contents of my fridge. That means I do a lot of picnic- and backyard-menu improvising, which led to the creation of Kate’s Picnic Sauce™.

Picnic Sauce™ began as a creamy condiment for grilled fish tacos, picking up its cilantro and lime juice additions. While it’s definitely tasty on Mexican foods from chicken tacos to chile-spiced veggies to esquites, Picnic Sauce™ soon proved itself a versatile companion to all manner of backyard meals. Another last-minute dish I throw together when guests are already en route is some sort of slaw or corn salad, for a crunchy contrast to whatever we’re grilling. Picnic sauce™ works here, too: Mix it up, add slivered cabbage or corn kernels or chopped tomatoes and bam—creamy slaw or side salad.

Let Picnic Sauce™ flex its muscles for you: Add it to pasta for a creamy pasta salad, or to potatoes for a non-traditional potato salad. It makes a tangy, slightly spicy condiment for turkey or grilled chicken sandwiches. Truly, this Picnic Sauce™ has saved my ass on so many occasions when friends texted, “Hey, we’re bringing three other people and will be there in 10!” and I had to scramble for more food. It’s comprised of simple ingredients in easy ratios; don’t even bother measuring stuff, just taste as you go. The basics are below, but tweak to your liking. Oh, and if you find another application for the sauce, I can’t wait to hear it.


Kate’s All-Purpose Picnic Sauce™

Photo: Kate Bernot

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  • One part sour cream
  • Two parts mayonnaise
  • Dash of preferred hot sauce
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • Few squeezes lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all that together. Serve to rave reviews. Pat yourself on the back.

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