There are few pleasures in life as simple and sweet as a picnic. Or rather, attending a picnic. Prepping all the food, packing up all the gear and then serving it atop wet grass or an ant-strewn picnic table? Not so fun. So we’ve gathered up five great tips for throwing together the perfect picnic. Ready?
1. Plan for imperfect conditions.
Planning to use the park picnic tables? Pack a big tablecloth to cover the grimy (or ant-y) surface, and pretty things up. Aiming for the lawn? Pack blankets and throw a tarp in the trunk. If the grass is wet, say the folks at Epicurious.com, place the tarp down first, then blankets on top. Add a few waterproof cushions (like the kind for outdoor furniture) for extra comfort.
2. Make a splash with your drinks.
We’re loving the spectacular Strawberry Lemonade Spritzers – diced, sweetened strawberries, lemonade and club soda – suggested on Epicurious’ picnic planner. Perfect for kids as well as adults.
3. Keep cold food cold, and picnickers hydrated.
Instead of packing bags of ice, which get drippy and waste water, freeze water bottles and tuck them in your cooler. They’ll keep the potato salad cold, and later, they’ll keep thirsty folks happy.
4. Aim for fork freedom.
You’ll significantly cut down on the utensils you’re shlepping if you go for a finger food menu. Use chicken thighs and drumsticks for oven-fried picnic chicken. Or pack a basket of roast beef and avocado, or tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella sandwiches.
5. Plan your utensils.
Serving wine? You’ll need a corkscrew. Grilling? Pack an oven mitt, as well as charcoal, matches, firestarter and tongs. (Better yet, don’t grill. That’s a LOT of equipment.) Bring paper towels and big trash bags too.