You planned a fantastic picnic but once you arrive, you realize that you forgot the main dish, some salad dressing and the dessert. Chances are your home is quite a few miles from your picnic destination so dashing back won’t be an option. Don’t let down your picnic partiers–come prepared to present a tasty meal. Also, if you don’t pack properly, pests may invade your snacks. Plan ahead and you’ll be prepared for your “al fresco” party.
Prepare for Packing
Does your picnic have a theme? Stick with your theme when choosing your menu. Think about using a Southern or an Italian theme. Now you’ll choose menu items that suit your particular theme. (Write the dishes down so you don’t forget anything.)
Stash your drinks in the refrigerator; they may need several hours to get to a cool temperature. You should choose a thermos or individual cans or juice boxes for children. Prepare the recipes and make sure you have enough food for everyone. Select lidded containers with a good seal on them. You don’t want the dishes to leak or spill. Load zippered storage bags with ice and then bag them again. You will tuck these in your cooler or picnic basket to keep the foods chilled. Fill resealable bags with ice. If you aren’t packing the basket immediately, place these bags flat in your freezer.
The first items you should place in the basket are the condiments. You probably need ketchup, mustard or a hot sauce bottle. Place an ice pack next to the condiments. Stash the napkins in a storage bag and place it in the basket.
Now pack the basket by courses, putting the courses you plan to serve first on top. If you plan to serve an appetizer, entrée and dessert, you would pack in the reverse order. This method will allow you to serve the meal without digging through your basket. The food should be evenly distributed in the basket so that it isn’t clunky to carry. Put a towel on top with more ice packs. Put the thermos and drinks in a cooler along with the bagged plates, napkins and straws. (Don’t forget to pack a garbage bag to pick up the trash.)
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