Summer has arrived, which means long days, warm nights, and tons of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. And there may be no better plan during these beautiful months than packing the car with your favorite food and people and heading out for a picnic. You’ll find free sites to set up in parks, fields and beaches all within easy drives from wherever you may be, and a good picnic creates memories that will be shared over and over again for years to come. A picnic is also a great way to enjoy an afternoon without spending a ton of money. It’s much cheaper than taking the family out to a restaurant, and if you do it right, the food is just as good. Simply plan ahead for all contingencies, and you can be assured that your picnic will be a smashing success.
First off, consider all necessary seating. For a small group, a blanket or two may be all you need. Throw a blanket in the car that easily rolls up, so you can carry it out to the picnic site without much trouble. Choose a blanket that has one cloth side and one side made of water-resistant plastic, so you’ll keep dry if the ground is a bit damp. If you’ve got a larger group going, you may want to find a place that has picnic tables set up. In that case, don’t forget a tablecloth, made of a material that wipes clean. And if you have some older friends or family coming to the picnic, you might want to bring a couple of folding chairs, so they don’t have to sit on the ground.
Next, think about how you will transport the picnic goodies. If you’re hopping in the car, that means you’ve got a bit of a drive ahead, so consider how long the cold stuff will have to keep cold, and how you might be able to keep the warm stuff warm. You can find an insulated tote bag at any home goods store to pack the warm foods in, and bring a cooler for the beverages and dairy products. If you want to get fancy, or if you plan on bringing ice cream along, pick up a cooler that can be plugged into your car to keep things extra chilled. If you’re worried about things sliding around in the car, grab a big cardboard box to keep everything together. For smaller, romantic picnics, bring along a basket that comes with all silverware and plates included. On that note, don’t forget plates, napkins and table settings. Go with recycled paper products if you can, or even compostable products so you can just throw it all out with the food scraps.
The key to the whole process may be how you pack the food. You will need to use plastic bags for things that can easily leak, such as meats, fruits and vegetables. Sandwiches do really well packed in parchment paper, as that will keep them crisp even over a couple of hours. Always make sandwiches out of baguettes or wraps, to be certain they won’t get soggy. If you have salads, consider sealable Tupperware, and store the dressing in a smaller spill-proof container. Make sure to bring along a couple of dish towels to handle any random droppings that occur.
Finally, consider anything else that will make your picnic more enjoyable. If your destination is a little bit buggy, bring citronella candles along to keep the peace. Mesh tents laid over the food will keep the bugs off your lunch as well. If you’re going to be there well into the evening, think about a portable gas heater and some lamps. Finally, make sure your car is prepared for any contingency that could ruin the trip. You won’t be able to pack used engines in case yours blows up, but certainly make sure you have jumper cables, a spare tire, and the number for a towing company if need be. You can’t always prevent these things, but if you’re prepared, at least your crew will have full bellies while they wait for the tow truck.
Category: Picnic Planning