Let's Eat Out (side)

After several days of pounding rain, Washington is getting a break with true-blue skies and sun. (I guess that means I'm off the hook from making mud pies.) As soon as those porch chairs finish draining, I think it's time to venture out into the dry outdoors.

Although the ground may be a muddy mess for the next few days, a picnic is an effective way to embrace the weather change. But, as my colleage and shopping diva extraordinaire Janet Bennett points out, "Unless you're really sophisticated and have an old Persian carpet lying around, you're going to need something to keep your fanny dry."

She recommends a look around at the oilcloth tablecloths made by designer Cath Kidston. Locally, Go Mama Go sells oilcloth by the yard for $10, so you can cut what you think you'll need.

If you've got a crowd coming this weekend, have a look at some of the resources that the Food section's Bonnie Benwick has unearthed, with a roundup of the latest entertaining cookbooks to hit the shelves.

Not in the mood for the DIY route? Head to New Orleans, Alberta, Canada and Navajo country instead. These cuisines are on the menu at the 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, kicking off this Friday, June 30. Feeling reminiscent for some red beans and rice and eager to try a fry-bread taco, I may be stopping there myself this weekend.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 28, 2006; 1:55 PM ET Backyard Cooking
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