Is It Ever Okay…to Take Soup to the Beach?

Welcome to “Is It Ever Okay,” Bon Appétit’s questionable etiquette column. Have a question? Email staff.bonappetit@gmail.com.

Can you suggest some solid to-go snacks I can buy on my way to the beach? —Last-Minute Laila

  • Chips and Tostitos salsa
  • Pretzels, baby carrots, and hummus
  • Bucket of Popeyes, classic
  • Trader Joe’s cold peanut udon noodle salad
  • Bag o’ grapes
  • The biggest sandwiches available in your zip code
  • Hear me out: shrimp cocktail

What’s a festive all-day-drinking big-batch cocktail? —All-Day Anita

Adapted from a BA recipe I love: In an insulated thermos that’s at least 30 oz., pour in a chilled bottle of still rosé; add ¼ cup vermouth bianco, a sliced cucumber, and basil. Pack a can of San Pellegrino Limonata. At the beach, fill everyone’s cup with ice, ¾ with rosé sangria, and top it off with lemon soda.

How do I keep all those seagulls at bay? —Annoyed Apollo

Intense, unwavering eye contact. Or bring a toddler.

My family would always buy Life Savers so you could pop one in your mouth when you got out of the ocean. What do you consider the best palate cleanser after a salty swim? —Refreshed Rhea

  • A single potato chip
  • Trident Watermelon Twist
  • Bit o’ turkey
  • Lemon ice
  • Mouth-to-mouth from a vaccinated lifeguard

Is it possible to pack a charcuterie spread without the cheese getting as sweaty as you? —Meaty Mel

Here’s what you do: Marinate the salami and Manchego with olive oil, black pepper, Marcona almonds, and lemon zest. The olive oil keeps everything from sweating! Don’t forget the baguette.

What’s the best cooler? —Insulated Ignacio

Forget your overachieving bear-proof cooler. You want a cooler bag, a soft one that doesn’t require pallbearers to carry it a mile to your perfect spot (which is within eyesight of an ice cream truck, out of earshot of neighbors). I have the 24-can-size Sportsman model by AO Coolers. It’s easy to hose out too. Pack your drinks on the bottom, and snacks on top so they don’t freeze.

Do I really have to wait 30+ minutes after eating to swim? —Timely Tre

NO! The risk of getting a cramp from too much salami is low. And even if you do get one while waiting for the ideal bodysurfing wave (we both know you’re out there to pee), the worst that could happen is you’re a bit uncomfortable and probably whiny.

What tastes good with a sprinkling of sand? —Speckled Silva

Nearly everything! But especially fried oyster po’boys. Because eating food sprinkled with sand is a crunchy reminder that you’re AT THE BEACH, not indoors, wasting away in front of a computer that’s ruining your posture and whittling away your life’s meaning. If you’re trying to avoid a fleck of sand making its way to your mouth, I have a recommendation, but you might not like it. (Soup. It’s soup.)

Beach soups??? —Liquid Lori

A thousand times yes! A quart of cold soup is the beach food we’ve needed all along. It’s crumb-less, so it won’t attract the gulls. It’s refreshing. It doesn’t bloat you out of your bikini. If you drink it out of a lidded thermos—no sand! Think green gazpacho, chlodnik (Polish beet soup), cucumber yogurt (the beach is your spa), chilled corn chowder, or vichyssoise.

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