Picnic menu ideas
Some cool picnic menu ideasProbably no other word, with the possible exception of beach, conjures more images of summer fun and pleasure than the single word, picnic. Baskets and pretty blankets under lush trees and scenic panoramas fill the soul with a lust for life and nature’s wonders as little else can.
Special aspects of the picnic experience
Eating al fresco poses its own rewards and challenges, and here are a few picnic menu ideas to enhance that special and unique summer picnic experience.
A picnic by its very nature is a festive time spent away from home and its routine chores. In most cases, at a picnic, everyone brings a dish and pitches in for clean up. Originally quite simple and usually limited to just a few cold items, the modern picnic has grown from a limited repertoire to almost anything you can think to eat.
How can you make everyone happy at your next picnic?
An important factor in developing picnic menu ideas is to remember to include something for everyone that will attend. Expect some nibbling and be prepared to face it head-on with some interesting appetizers. Some easy and delicious picnic menu ideas might include: deviled eggs and that old standby, cheese and crackers. Sharp cheese is always a favorite. If kids will be present, include some cheese whiz. Vary the selection of crackers and chips and include some fruit and low-fat pretzels and such in the mix.
Some problems to avoid
If some of your picnic menu ideas include mayonnaise, make sure to eat those items first unless your cooler really “cools” or you have excellent kitchen facilities. (This may not be a problem if the picnic is held in someone’s backyard. Otherwise, beware!)
Even those dishes that don’t contain mayonnaise will spoil if left too long in the heat. One solution is to sit each bowl of salad (macaroni, egg, potato etc) on top of a separate bowl of ice. You can also keep pitchers of lemonade or freshly brewed tea, which sometimes fares better than just a cooler full of soda on ice. Look for tea dispensers that have a place underneath for ice to keep it cold in specialty food markets and stores.
Some interesting dishes
Fruit is a great picnic menu idea. Don’t forget to bring some along. It makes a great side dish and is easy to store. Some good picnic fruits include: apples, grapes and oranges. Bananas sometimes don’t travel as well as other fruits but consider pears and peaches too.
The ubiquitous sandwich is always a winner. Pick a luncheon meat like cold chicken or beef rather than something exotic like chopped liver, for example, that some people might not care for.
Don’t forget to consider the proverbial salad as either a side dish or even a complete meal with some crusty bread if you are inventive enough. The best salads for traveling are those that can be mixed or tossed before you leave home. When choosing a salad, always make it from fresh ingredients. Small vegetables such as baby carrots, strips of red, yellow and green pepper, asparagus tips, celery sticks, radishes and cherry tomatoes all add color and a bit of crunch. You can also make a dip or two to go with them around the main salad plate.
The best picnic menu ideas are simple ones. Pick dishes that require little if no cutlery; at least no more than a fork. If you opt for a dish that requires a knife and fork then don’t use paper plates unless you crave a new, unwelcome design on your picnic ensemble!
Some things, like the weather for example, are beyond our control even with the best-laid picnic menu ideas.
Have a good time with your picnic recipes, and plan ahead with the “d” on the same line as the rest of the word!