10 tips for the perfect picnic
Nothing says summer quite like being able to pack up a simple meal and enjoy it in the great outdoors. In fact, we’ve been enjoying this for quite some time. According to Wikipedia1, the idea of eating a meal outside for pleasure (as opposed to need, which field workers would have done) may date as far back as the middle ages when people gathered to eat and relax outdoors after a hunt.
Today, hundreds of years later, we’re still gathering with family and friends to enjoy the simple pleasure of a summer picnic.
- A park isn’t the only place to picnic. You can also have one in your own backyard or on your apartment balcony. Even a carpet picnic in your living room is fun if the weather is bad. Just throw a blanket on the floor and use your imagination.
- Think about seating. A big checkered tablecloth is a classic picnic staple, but you may not want to actually sit on the same thing upon which your food is being served. Bring small mats or towels for people to sit on instead.
- Plan carefully. If you have a long walk from your car to the picnic site, be careful about the amount of food you bring. Anything leftover is extra weight you’ll be carrying back home.
- Choose your time of day. Picnics don’t only have to be lunchtime affairs – pastries and fresh juices make for a delicious breakfast while desserts and iced tea can provide a sweet ending to a warm summer day.
- Plan for the end of the picnic too. Bring a garbage bag to collect any waste, foil or wrap to cover any leftovers, and baby wipes to clean up messy hands and faces. Note: toss out any perishable leftovers, since chances are they’ll have been out far too long (more than two hours) to be safe to eat by the time you get home.
- Bring your beverages in mason jars. Not only are jars environmentally friendly, but you also won’t have worry about packing plastic cups (which tend to tip and blow away).
- Think about food safety. Picnic baskets are pretty, but coolers with ice packs are much safer if you’re bringing any food that could spoil in the summer heat. For a list of safe picnic foods, visit eHow and for other tips on food safety, visit My Recipes.
- Let Mother Nature help with the menu. Dessert could be apples, bananas, grapes, berries or oranges. No prep work, easy to pack and almost nothing to clean up after – and healthy too!
- Think finger foods! Things that are pre cut or don’t require cutlery are best at a picnic. Cheese and crackers, tortilla chips and salsa, sandwiches, and raw veggies are simple to serve and eat. Cookies or pre-cut dessert bars make a nice sweet ending to your meal.
- Don’t forget: bug spray, band-aids, sunscreen, sunglasses and a good book, a Frisbee or other fun things to amuse yourselves with if you plan to hang around for a while after you eat. You also might want to bring along a beach umbrella if you know you’ll be in a spot where there’s little or no shade.
Fabulous sites for delicious picnic menu ideas
Enjoy International Picnic Day – and picnic all summer long!
411948A CAN/US (07/15)