Jul 1, 2007

Picnic Tips

It's actually too hot in Southern California for picnics during the summer (at least in the part where I live) but the idea is an appealing one. And I like indoor picnics even better than outdoor ones anyway. So I've compiled some tips of having the best picnic possible:
  • Pack light. Don't bring enough food to have leftovers, and unless you're going for romance, leave the china and glasses at home. If you don't want to use paper goods, pick up some reusable plastic dishware (I've seen some nice ones on sale at Target recently).
  • Chill food thoroughly before putting it into a cooler.
  • Bring foods that tend to be less perishable, like a potato salad with an oil and vinegar dressing instead of mayo.
  • Don't forget to bring plenty of napkins, wet wipes (diaper wipes work well), hand sanitizer and sunscreen.
  • Make your cooler as cold as possible by filling it with ice water, closing it and letting it sit for five minutes. Dump out the water, quickly wipe it with a towel, and pack efficiently. Cold air settles, so put your ice packs on top, with perishables on the bottom. Frozen drinks can double as ice packs, so long as you don't need to keep anything cold on the way home. Full coolers stay cold longer so don't leave a lot of empty room (fill extra space with frozen water bottles if necessary).
  • If possible, put the cooler in the passenger compartment of your car, which won't be as hot as the trunk.
  • Toss any food that's been left out for more than one hour.
  • If you have changing pads that came with diaper bags you no longer use, you can use them to sit on - they're generally easy to wipe off, and will keep your clothes from getting dirty or damp from the ground.
  • Some picnic menu suggestions from Cooking Light.
  • Make an origami picnic basket out of a tablecloth.

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