Picnics are one of my favorite things about summertime — both spur-of-the-moment sandwiches on the lawn, and well-planned out feasts. What’s not to love about sitting out in nature, enjoying some company and a plate full of delicious food?
- Planning a picnic is just like planning a small, transportable party, and if you think of it that way, it will help you with the organizing. Thinking through the who, what, when, where, why and how will keep you from missing any details.
- Start with choosing a location. That will help you determine the food and other picnic essentials you’ll need to bring along.
- Don’t forget to consider the time of day. It’s another detail to take into account and can also affect where you go and what you pack.
- Assess any unique needs of your guests. When you plan a party of any kind, including a picnic, try to think about who your guests will be and if there are any specifics you need to keep in mind!
- Once you’ve sorted out the location, think about what you’ll bring for guests to sit on. The grass is certainly fine, as is a nice flat rock or tree stump. Large beach towels, old tablecloths (the plastic ones work just fine!), woven mats, blankets and quilts are great options.
- A picnic basket doesn’t always have to be a basket. Baskets are fun, coolers are practical, and plastic grocery sacks are inexpensive. What will suit the needs of your picnic best? Wooden crates are great for lugging around a heavy load.
- Just remember that whatever menu you settle on, you’ll want to keep the food at the proper temperature to avoid food borne illness. Plan on bringing a cooler if you are serving salads with a mayonnaise dressing, with eggs in them, poultry or meat. If you pack raw meat or poultry to cook on your picnic, remember to keep it packaged separately.
- As for drinks, I recommend bringing bottles of your favorite soda, lemonade or water. Individual bottles means I don’t have to bring cups along, which is nice. And I can also distribute the weight of the bottles to make carrying in the food easier.
- It’s nice to think ahead about how you want to package the food, and the eating utensils you’ll need to bring along.
- While we’re on the subject, there are some other things you might want to pack: insect repellant, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, condiments (salt and pepper especially), extra napkins or paper towels, and possibly matches for lighting birthday candles (one of our favorite reasons to picnic) or when we’re roasting hot dogs.
- Plan for the end from the beginning. When you are planning the food, also planning the clean-up. Bring along extra resealable plastic bags, aluminum foil and plastic wrap for leftovers if you haven’t brought a container and lid.
- The last thing is to think about what you’ll be doing when you’re not munching. For me this is a good book or magazine, or a favorite playlist on my ipod.