Outdoor Life

Picnic Basket Essentials

photo credit:  food52.com

photo credit: food52.com

Tis the season, summer and picnicking.  Last week's post I told you about 3 picnic baskets locally made here in the U.S. Today I want to help you pack that basket. I did some digging to see what people like to pack and eat on a picnic.  Most of it goes back to common sense, logistics and classic traditional foods.  I will start off with saying, nothing with mayonnaise. It spoils super fast (1.5 hours)  and you don't want a slew of sick people on your hands. (although trash bags and wipes are on the things to bring list). 

Food: finger foods, easy to eat for kids and adults, and most finger foods stay edible. Crudités, hummus and my personal favorite french onion dip, cheese sticks for kids, 2 to 3 blocks of cheese. I had a truffle cheese recently at an outdoor night picnic that was absolutely amazing, so try something different.  Cut up fruit or just bring a watermelon to cut up onsite.  Baguette, crackers, tortilla chips because they can be eaten plain or with the hummus, pickles and/or olives.  Now on to more substantial items, salads, try to skip basic greens because of wilting, substitute the lettuce with kale or a grain like quinoa or farro and pack the dressing in a mason jar so you can shake and apply when you arrive. Caprese salad is always a hit, be sure to use local farmer heirloom tomatoes and a very nice Italian balsamic dressing. I go to L'Albero dei Gelati to buy our balsamic syrup.  A local place in Brooklyn who imports from Italy. It can be expensive but you do get what you pay for.  For the third course, I think fried chicken is always a hit and a cold pasta salad. Brownies or pie for dessert and don't forget the beverages; beer, wine and water.

photo:  oprah.com

photo: oprah.com

Ok so I told you all the food items, now for the non-food essentials. I try my best to leave a small carbon foot print. Have you seen the signs at the beach, take out what you brought in?  First on the list is trash bags. So easy to forget. Cloth napkins, gingham is a summer time classic, biodegradable plates/cups and flatware or take it up a notch and bring your melamine, acrylic or tin plates. Flatware, once again go with biodegradable wooden flatware or bamboo which you can get quite a few uses out of.  Another option is bring your flatware from home. You can wrap it up in each napkin and tie some twine or ribbon around it. Ready for use.  Corkscrew/bottle opener, salt/pepper, serving utensils and a small cutting board is ideal but not a deal breaker. 

Do you have some favorites you like to bring on a picnic?