It’s the perfect time of year for a picnic. Creating a great picnic is easy to do; it just takes some preparation. Here are some tips to get you started:
The most important item to make your picnic a success is a good cooler. Choose a cooler that is well insulated and will keep food cold. Invest in cool packs to keep food from getting soggy; no one likes a damp sandwich.
Make sure to choose a cooler that is appropriate for the number of people you are inviting. If it’s a romantic picnic for two don’t carry a big cooler, and if it’s a large group don’t try to stuff everything into a small cooler. Keep in mind though that a full cooler will stay cool longer than one with lots of empty space.
Picnics are for relaxing and getting away from stress - don’t pack meals that require a lot of setup and preparation. Make finger foods that will make you and your guests happy. Try cherry tomatoes, cold roast chicken that you can tear off the bone, boiled eggs, or beautiful salads. Think simple. Picnics are supposed to be fun. Instead of packing pre-made sandwiches, put together a ‘deli bar’ with assorted meats, cheeses, rolls, and condiments so bread won’t go soggy before you even get a chance to eat. Pasta salads and other dishes dressed in vinegar-based marinades can be prepared the day before, hold up well in the heat, and continue taking on a wonderful flavor over time.
Shade is important. Here in the South, summer means hot weather. So picking a spot with shelter and bringing some folding chairs is sure to make you a hit with your guests. A little planning goes a long way here.
Tote melamine plates and cups instead of cumbersome ceramic dishes and heavy cutlery. After a long day in the summer sun no one wants to lug around heavy dishes. Like the backpackers say, tote it in and then tote it out. Make sure to leave your picnic site as clean and beautiful as when you showed up.
Make an easy to put together drink. Sweet tea is simple to mix and can be carried easily in a big plastic bottle.
Here’s a basic list of what to take on your next picnic:
A bottle of sunscreen for all to share
Napkins, preferably cloth
Melamine plates, both large and medium
Reusable flatware, forks for everyone usually works
Serving utensils—three should do it
Thermos for soup or cold drinks
Stemless wine glasses—small tumblers are good
Corkscrew and bottle/can opener
An assortment of condiments in plastic squeeze bottles
Coarse salt in a jar and pepper mill, or salt and peppershakers
Damp wipes, soft cloths or paper towels for washing up
Little flower vase for wildflowers
Plastic bags for leftovers
Blanket, bedspread, beach towel or quilt—cotton is best and can go in the wash
Happy 4th of July from Paula and her Savannah-based crew!