The reason for a picnic is to get away from home and have a good time and relax. At a picnic, everybody brings a dish and helps to clean up. Some shelters ever provide kitchen facilities to store food that has to be kept cold when the festivities last all afternoon and into the evening.
The picnic feast has grown from a few cold items to almost anything you can think to eat. With the addition of barbeque grills at public parks, menu ideas expanded. Picnics can even turn into three or four course meals depending on your crowd. Kids won’t be interested in hors d’oeurves, just the main course.
When fashioning your menu, make sure to include something for everyone. While the main course is being prepared on the grill, people will play games and nibble on whatever you have to start off the party. So, what do you have?
My vote goes to deviled eggs. They are easy to whip up and being eggs, need to be gobbled up as soon as possible. We don’t want to mess with Salmonella or anything like that. It has a way of ruining a picnic and rightfully so. For non-egg eaters, set out some cheese and crackers. Choose sharp cheddar, cheese whiz (for the kids), or another favorite cheese type along with a variety of crackers and chips such as pretzels.
Unless you have a sufficiently sealed cooler or kitchen facilities, anything with mayonnaise or a dairy base should be eaten at the start. If any of these dishes sit too long in the heat, they can be dangerous to eat. To solve the problem sit each bowl of pasta salad, macaroni salad and the like on top of a separate bowl of ice for serving.
For the main course, go traditional with burgers and dogs or add steaks to the menu. A good steak can be marinated overnight to tenderize the meat and add flavor. Chicken takes a while to cook but can be grilled. To speed up grilling, use chicken on skewers to make shish kebabs. They grill faster and can be served over a bed of rice.
Most keep side dishes simple: chips. But, adults aren’t typically satisfied with a bag of greasy chips. Opt instead for a green salad or fruit salad.
A cooler full of soda is one option for beverages, but bringing in some lemonade or fresh brewed ice tea would hit the spot better. Keep the pitchers on ice. There are tea dispensers on the market that have a place for ice underneath to keep it cold.
When it’s time for the next picnic, give the menu some thought. Let all of the intended guests help put it together to come up with a meal that suits everyone.