Editor’s Picks For a Perfect Picnic

    A Vintage Cooler Collection from Minnesota, a Local Frozen Food Delivery Option, a Wearable Napkin

    We apparently skipped spring in Minnesota and went from temperatures in the high 30s to the mid-80s. No matter, that means it’s prime picnic season—and we have a number of products to consider for a pleasant afternoon as part of this month’s Editor’s Picks column.

    Skotch
    Skotch Kooler, Jug, Grill

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    Skotch Kooler Collection

    Let’s start with what to pack for your picnic. We received this Minnesota-based revived Skotch Kooler collection of a cooler, jug, and grill to sample and instantly fell in love with the design and nostalgia. Like a classic car or vintage outfit, when you show up and start unpacking these items, you’ll likely be surrounded by strangers asking about their origins and availability. Here’s the backstory: Hamilton Metal Products Company of Ohio, started in 1910, first introduced the iconic red-black-yellow plaid print container as a minnow bucket before rebranding it as a cooler. Entertainer Bob Hope appeared in advertisements for the popular accoutrement in the 1950s, and the company capitalized on that recognition by rebranding as the Hamilton-Skotch Corporation. But in the 1970s, the company closed and failed to renew its trademark. In 2020, the Minnesota trio of brothers Patrick and Mark Hunt and friend Paul Axt decided to bring the brand back, reviving the cooler ($295) and also building out a quality grill ($185) and sturdy beverage jug ($165) for a trio of triumphs. Serve up some smiles with these stylish, Minnesota-made products. Prices vary; skotchkoolerusa.com

    Simpls Pizzas
    Simpls Pizzas

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    Simpls

    If you’re looking for some unique, fresh foods, consider ordering from Simpls for a make-ahead soup or pizza. Simpls started in the Twin Cities in 2014 (I didn’t realize the MPLS is in the name until writing this review) and is exclusively online today, focusing on scratch-made soups and hand-tossed pizzas, along with breads and cookies. I sampled the delightful Baja Chicken Soup with a spicy finish, the Tiki Chicken Masala pizza with a perfect blend of Indian spices, and the booyah soup, a favorite that I have come to expect from church festivals in Wisconsin. All arrived frozen but cooked up perfectly for a solid meal for two to four people. Simpls is a local company you can get behind for their support of Minnesota providers—and their fundraising options—but also because their food is creative, tasty, and simply delicious. $5.99-$14.99; simpls.com

    NEATSHEETS
    NEATSheets

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    NEATsheets wearable napkins

    As this company claims, “Spills happen, stains shouldn’t.” These wearable napkins with peel-and-stick tabs make them more effective than a napkin but more dignified than a bib and may be a popular picnic option that I could see taking over at pre-school art projects, buffet dinners, and outdoors dining events like lobster boils or white dinners—or to act as a placemat at upscale events. The front of these sheets absorbs spills, and the back repels liquids. These sheets are large: 13-inches by 22-inches to cover your torso, with several neutral but tonal designs. Neatgoods, the company behind NEATsheets, is a woman-owned, family-run enterprise and these products come in four patterns, packaged in 20-, 80-, 100- and 400-count options. $18-$45; myneatgoods.com

    From fashion to tech to entertainment, Minnesota Monthly editor Amy Nelson occasionally reviews a roundup of new products, events, and odds and ends she finds interesting. Have an idea? Reach her at anelson@greenspring.com.

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    As editor of Minnesota Monthly, Amy works collaboratively with a team of writers, designers, photographers, and digital producers to create impactful, surprising, timely and insightful content that reflects the Spirit of Minnesota. An award-winning newspaper and magazine editor based in the Twin Cities, Amy has decades of experience guiding coverage of luxury living, arts and culture, style and travel topics across multiple platforms. She has interviewed personalities ranging from Prince to Roger Goodell and has stories to tell.