Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Which Picnic do you Pick?

posted in Lunch by Emily Chapelle

The weather is gorgeous, kids are out of school, and you’re looking for a way to carpe diem (you know, seize the day). What better way to do that than to have a picnic? This post will help you plan the menu, whether you’re having a romantic picnic for two, a family affair, or a neighborhood bash.

Choosing Your Picnic Location

Whether you’re in the country, on the beach, or in a big city , you can have a great picnic. If it’s raining (or if it’s too hot outside) try a simple spread on the living room floor. The backyard is a perfect place for a close-to-home packed lunch, or try a park, the local playground, a drive-in movie, a pier, or even the rooftop of a tall building. Kathy’s idea of the perfect picnic (pictured below) actually involves no cooking!

What to pack?

For some folks, picnics are elaborate schemes that involve transporting raw meat, a bag of charcoal, condiments, folding tables and chairs, and more to their destination. For others, picnics are simple meals, involving finger foods made from fresh summer produce, a blanket to sit on, and as few plates and utensils as possible. Here are some basic essentials for any style of picnic:

  • Good company, whether it’s a romantic picnic for two, a family picnic, or a neighborhood event
  • Good food and drinks
  • Blanket, tablecloth, or folding chairs, depending on your picnic location
  • A cooler for your food. Hot foods and cold foods should not be kept in the same cooler, and raw meat should be in a small separate cooler. Read more about picnic food safety at North Carolina State University website
  • Serving utensils, eating utensils, dishes, glasses. Some picnic baskets come equipped with all of these things in a ready-to-go package!
  • Napkins, baby wipes and hand sanitizer
  • A bag for trash, if you’re using disposable napkins or paper plates
  • A small “just-in-case” kit – bug spray, band-aids, sunscreen, and tissues

Picnic Menus

Here are three menu ideas, depending on the kind of outing you want to have.

Romantic Picnic for Two

  • Location: A waterfront park, boat, or shady, secluded spot
  • Company: Just the two of you
  • Entrée: A Thermos of creamy soup, either hot or cold
  • Side: Cheese, jam and a baguette
  • Dessert: Fruit with chocolate or fruit dip (pictured above) for drizzling or dunking
  • Drink: Wine, champagne or sangria

Family Fun Picnic

Neighborhood Grill Picnic

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