Packing the Perfect Picnic Paraphernalia
No matter how old we get or where we live, picnicking will always be a charming way to spend an afternoon with friends, family, or loved ones. For a leisurely afternoon of fun and togetherness, plan a carefree picnic with easy, mouthwatering foods and refreshing beverages. Don’t forget to include an activity, as well, to extend your good time beyond just eating.
What to pack and how
The success of your picnic depends on not only what you pack, but also how you pack it. When deciding on the types of food, drinks, and dishes you are going to bring along, remember to consider who you are picnicking with. Is it a family picnic? Are you getting together with a group of friends? Or are you spending a laid-back afternoon with your sweetie?
Essentials for your basket
Regardless of who your picnic partner is, there are a few essentials that remain unchanged.
Stay dry and comfortable: Pack a blanket or tablecloth big enough for you and the rest of the picnickers to sit on—and to have room to spread out your spread! A blanket, particularly one with a rubber-backed bottom, will keep you and your fellow picnickers clean and dry while you sit on the ground. Plus, it acts as a barrier between the bugs and your food—always important.
Dishes, utensils and napkins: It is best to bring reusable versions of these basics because there is less of a chance that they’ll blow away and pollute the environment. Rather than packing heavy glass or ceramic dishes, look for ones that are made of acrylic or melamine.
The classic family picnic
When picnicking with your family, consider foods and games that are kid-friendly. Pack snacks you know your child will love, such as pretzels, fruit snacks, cut-up veggies, and juice boxes. Also, be sure there are fun activities for the kids, since lounging on the blanket and gazing at the clouds will not engage them for long. Your solution could be as simple as bringing a soccer ball or planning the picnic near a park.
Planning a romantic picnic
For a carefree and romantic afternoon, think along the lines of wine, cheese, and crackers. Of course, fruits dipped in chocolate make for tantalizing desserts as you lounge together, gazing into each other’s eyes. Bring a deck of cards—if you can focus on something other than your loved one’s face—or simply enjoy each other’s company while reading or sketching.
Choosing the right basket
- Picnic baskets are designed to hold your food: Who want a squished sandwich?
- Insulation is a good thing: Many baskets will keep cold things cold and warm things warm—and you’ll avoid potato salad that’s iffy, healthwise.
- Designed for the job: Over the years, picnic baskets have evolved to fit the needs of traveling by foot with your food to your destination. They come with special compartments and buckles to hold dishes, bottles, and utensils in place.
Traditional picnic baskets: For a picturesque picnic on the beach, look for a traditional wicker basket to tote your goodies in. Wicker baskets enhance the atmosphere and add a little romance and nostalgia to the picnic, especially if you and your loved one hike to an area that’s a little more secluded.
Insulated totes: If you can’t imagine going on a picnic without bringing Granny’s potato salad, you may want to look into an insulated picnic basket. If the day is hot, it will also keep your chocolate from melting and your white wine chilled. Place ice packs or frozen water bottles inside the insulated part of the basket to help create a cool environment.
Specialty baskets for barbecuers: Can’t stand the idea of eating outside without firing up the grill? Don’t despair! There are even specialty picnic baskets that come with a portable grill you can attach to the bottom of the tote. The side compartment makes for easy storage of grilling tools, too!
Just the tote, please: For you city dwellers with limited storage space, or for you country folk who already have your picnic gear (sans something to carry it in), you may want to consider a tote. A tote has no dishes, utensils, cutting boards, etc. (but you can put them in it, with your food), but its soft canvas sides enable it to collapse for storage. Fully insulated with a waterproof lining, this basket can also be hauled to the grocery for quick trips and comes in seven luscious colors.
Love picnics? Then do we have some good information for you—right here on CHEFS Mix:
- Celebrate Your Independence—Picnic Style!
- Packing the Perfect Picnic Paraphernalia
- Take the sizzle with you!
- Two People + One Picnic Basket = Romantic Rendezvous
Your turn: Why do you love (or not love) picnics? What makes a perfect picnic?