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Pack a picnic

Summertime is the perfect time to host a picnic for family and friends. Great weather can add to the fun. Try to check out the local weather forecast so that you have a nice sunny day. But remember, even a cloudy day can be great for a picnic, especially if the weather forecast calls for hot and humid temperatures.

Eating outdoors : sensational recipes for cookouts, picnics and take-along food
from the editors of Country living.
New York : Hearst Books, c2008.
On a warm evening, there’s no greater pleasure than gathering around the backyard picnic table and enjoying a great meal with family and friends: pitchers of lemonade, a big bowl of potato salad, a platter piled high with freshly grilled burgers. Now, dining alfresco gets even better, thanks toCountry Living Cookouts. With ideas for appetizers, salads, entrées, drinks, desserts, and even condiments, it serves up 90 delicious recipes for everything from simple family dinners to celebratory neighborhood parties. The delectable choices range from well-loved classics to new favorites, including Sage Buttered Corn on the Cob, Chicago-Style Ale-Brined Frankfurters, Herb-Stuffed Grilled Trout, and Praline Ice Cream. Country Livingwrites the book on putting together a terrific outdoor meal.
     
Picnics
Hilary Heminway & Alex Heminway ; photographs by Audrey Hall.
Salt Lake City,Utah : Gibbs Smith, c2007.
Join the Heminways as they share dozens of creative ways to take a meal outside, whether the sun is just coming up for the day or romantically dropping in the sky, in the heat of summer or during a winter's chill.
     
Picnics : easy recipes for the best alfresco foods
Robin Vitetta-Miller.
New York : Clarkson Potter, c2005.
When the weather gets warmer, everyone wants to get outside—especially to dine alfresco. So spread a blanket on the grass, set out some simple, delicious food and refreshing drinks, and enjoy the sunshine! InPicnics, you’ll find everything you need to put together a beautiful outdoor meal: easy recipes for spring and summer, tips on what to pack (and how to pack it), and even themed menus for truly special feasts. Fresh, tasty picnic ideas include: • Easy, enticing starters like Smoked Salmon with Caper Sour Cream and Black Bread, Mini Crab Cakes with Wasabi Mayonnaise, and Coriander Peanut Sauce with Crudités • Neat-to-eat wraps and sandwiches, including Chilled Meat Loaf Sandwiches with Spicy Ketchup, Grilled Chicken and Swiss with Pesto on Sourdough, and Vegetarian Pita Pockets with Hummus, Marinated Eggplant, and Baby Greens • Refreshing salads such as Red Potato Salad with Bacon and Fresh Herbs, Minty Cucumber Salad, and Sesame-Glazed Shrimp Salad with Sugar Snap Peas • Savory dips and spreads like Tangy Roasted Red Pepper Dip and Sweet-and-Hot Mango Chutney, plus the breads that go with them, including Parmesan Cheese Twists, Garlic-Rosemary Focaccia, and Cheddar Corn Bread with Green Chilies • Portable classic desserts such as Chocolate-Dunked Coconut Macaroons, Strawberry-Almond Scones, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies From an all-American Fourth of July picnic to the perfect beach party or poolside snack,Picnicssimplifies all the details so you can relax and have fun!
     
Grilled & chilled : 120 delectable recipes for light and fresh summer cooking - lunches and suppers, picnics, barbecues, outdoor parties, al fresco dining and open-air entertaining/ Martha Day.
 
London : Southwater ; Lanham, Md. : National Book Network [agent/distributor], 2005.
An essential introduction illustrates ingredients, materials, techniques and equipment, including details of types of barbecues and how to use them.
     

To begin your picnic planning, consider choosing a theme. For example, you might consider a Hawaiian theme. In that case, use tropical fruits for both drinks and in your meal. A sweet and sour pork dish might be nice if served in a carved out pineapple. You can use little, colourful, paper umbrella toothpicks to serve your appetizers.

Picnic fun

Building sandcastles
Enjoying board games
Playing ball
Blowing bubbles
Observing wildlife
Swapping stories
Taking pictures

Foods that suggest your theme should be bought just before your picnic. This will make sure that they are fresh. You want your foods to look appetizing to your picnic guests. A fresh watermelon, carved like a basket, filled with different types of melon balls can make an attractive centerpiece for your picnic table. Blueberries and raspberries, added to your melon balls, can also entice your guests for second helpings.

Using fancy utensils and dinnerware is not necessary to make your picnic a success. Plain white paper plates, with white plastic utensils, will reduce your cleaning up after your picnic is over. A red, checkered plastic tablecloth is an inexpensive was of sprucing up your table. Add to that a nice bouquet of wild daisies, black-eyed susans, and "voila" you have an attractive picnic table.

Easy to prepare foods should help you get your picnic underway. Consider buying coldcuts, cheeses, crackers, and fresh breads to serve your guests. If you wish to make a more elaborate meal, try to prepare everything the night before and store it in the fridge. In fact, a delicious potato salad or cold pasta dish prepared ahead of time allows the ingredients to mix adding flavor and taste.

Don't forget

Sunscreen for protection
Bug spray and hand sanitizer
Bags for trash
Extra ice for coolers
Blanket or chairs to sit on

Take care to ensure foods are safely prepared and stored. If you plan to serve your 'famous made from scratch' fried chicken make sure it is stored in sealed plastic containers in the refrigerator or picnic cooler until your guests arrive. This will ensure that no food poisoning occurs.

When you get ready to pack the picnic basket line the bottom with plastic or a towell to catch any spillage. Place heavier items on the bottom and lighter ones on the top for easier carrying.

According to Webster's Dictionary, a picnic is "an outing in which the people involved eat a meal outdoors with foods brought along for the occasion." With a little planning and a bit of creativity the picnic becomes more than an outdoor meal--it is a pleasant, relaxing experience long to be remembered.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff