How to host the best picnic ever

Yogi Bear had the right idea about “little jokes”. Eating out makes everything taste better and it’s also more fun and enjoyable.

Outdoor dining sounds more impressive than “picnic,” but whatever you call it, outdoor dining can be a fun way to entertain friends and family.

But before you grab the basket, there are a few temporary steps to take to host the perfect picnic.

Start by identifying why you want to host a picnic and who will be attending it. Is it for immediate family only or will multiple families share the building? Is it a birthday party or another celebration? Will it be a casual event or a more formal one?

Tips for making your next trip a fun festival that will make you an outdoor legend. (Jojo Yuen/Unsplash)

Knowing who will be invited and the reason for the picnic allows you to plan the menu. If there are parents and children, the menu should include food that children are likely to eat, such as macaroni, cheese and sausage. Set a table for the kids far enough from the adults to allow for fun conversation, but close enough to keep an eye on them and get there quickly if little Johnny starts choking on an undercooked sausage.

On a related note, bring a well-stocked first aid kit with you, and remember that mayonnaise can be used to soothe burns caused by accidentally getting too close to the grill.

Scotch Tablecloth Pattern, Red-white on White Background.
Don’t forget to bring a festive tablecloth to add a touch of skill to your picnic table. It can double as a picnic blanket, too. (happytim/shutterstock)

Once you have the guest list, choose a place. Many parks have picnic tables and suites available on a first-come-first-served basis, but on holidays you may have to reserve tables and/or suites in advance. Don’t assume you’ll show up and find a place. Some may allow you to use an open party tent and your own table in an open area, but make sure of all this before you arrive, to avoid an unpleasant surprise.

If the guest list is limited to adults, you can decide what to serve based on who will attend. For example, if your guest list consists of your family and a few of your cousins, you can probably plan a casual meal of burgers and sausages, plus chicken for those who don’t eat red meat.

Wicker basket with picnic tableware on a white background
For a picnic for two to four people, a traditional basket can hold all the good stuff, but as the guest list swells, your pickup truck may become the “picnic basket.” (Pixel Snapshot/Shutterstock)

This brings us to another filter to apply to your plan: Find out if anyone on your guest list has food allergies or diet preferences. Don’t assume everyone can eat what you bring, or you may find guests loading their plates with nothing but pickles and potato salad staring at you.

If your invite list includes co-workers, and especially if your supervisors are on it, step it up a bit. This is the culinary version of Impressive Dress, so you’ll want to serve up some unique or special items as garnish portobello mushrooms with cheese, A selection of drinks that includes a range of soft drinks, wines and liquors, as well as several brands of beer. Use a better grade of disposable plates, cutlery, napkins, and cups than you would “just for the family.”

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Picnics are all about food, so use only the freshest and most delicious ingredients to make your occasions legendary. (gowithstock/Shutterstock)

Regardless of your choice of appetizers and sides, prepare them in the days leading up to the event, in trays that are easy to transport to the picnic location, and put them in the refrigerator. If you run out of space in the fridge, which is fairly certain, ask the neighbors (invited to the event) if they would keep them in their fridge. Ice drinks on the morning of the event; A tip to make it easier is to add ice to coolers when they are already loaded into the minivan or SUV, before transporting all food and supplies to the picnic site. Don’t skimp on the ice. They rarely last as long as expected and are essential to keep drinks cold and food fresh. Serving warm soft drinks or beer is important.

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Use a variety of foods to “decorate” your picnic table, making your outdoor meal memorable and enjoyable.
(Maria Hewins/Unsplash)

Another option is to steer clear of traditional picnic food options like smashed eggs, baked beans, coleslaw, burgers, and hot dogs, and instead opt for a theme like pizza, with unexpected sides like tangy black pea salad, fresh or fresh guacamole or spring broccoli and pressed mozzarella sandwiches that pop. It is as fun to look at as it is good to eat.

For desserts that will make you a legend, consider Hello Dollies – chocolate-and-butter cookies made with Ritz cookies – for a unique treat, or fried donuts that look like thin-crust pizza but are much tastier.

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A picnic can be as complex as you like, or as simple as a loaf of French bread and wine (and water for the kids!). (Ken Lee/Unsplash)

If you go the pizza route, there are a number of propane grills you can use that have optional oven accessories. To add excitement, let your guests choose the toppings. Don’t make a face if they order Hawaiian pizza – it’s an acquired taste for many loyal fans.

Last but not least, pack your bug spray and sunscreen; Coming home with a sunburn isn’t how you want your guests to remember a great affair.

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