Healing Kitchen

Dining Al Fresco
Summertime is picnic time, be it the yearly gathering of the clan, a Sunday family-of-four outing, or a shady bucolic hideaway for a pair of lovebirds. Whether the picnic is a simple lunch on a blanket or a festive outdoor banquet, there are a couple of basic secrets to its success:

     First and foremost is planning how much food you need. Eager picnickers invariably make too much food that then has to be carted home or "fed to the fish." Instead of more food, take less food. Downsize the picnic hamper.  Select foods that require minimal preparation on site. Consider a variety of easily portable one-way foods (such as fresh fruits and veggies of the season, raw vegetable crudites, olives, pickles, nuts, and trail mixes) in small amounts that make excellent accompaniments to some of the home-prepared recipes listed below.  Look for roadside farmstands and country stores along the way to supplement additional or forgotten food items.  Last, and most definitely not least, is food safety. The object is to keep the usual suspects--you know what they are--well chilled with ice or dry ice to prevent spoilage and the growth of bacteria.

The links below are to some recipes that require minimal preparation at the picnic site. They will all travel easily and worry free. The recipes make four generous servings, but keep in mind that a recipe to serve four will sometimes serve six or more when there is a large spread.

A final word of advice: A principal pleasure of any picnic is to enjoy the beauty of nature. It's the responsibility of the picnicker to leave the area as beautiful as you found it, or even better than you found it. Make sure a fire is completely extinguished. Pack up all the trash for proper disposal. Reduce the amount of trash (and be more environmentally friendly) by using reusable dishes, glassware, and eating utensils instead of that throwaway paper and plastic stuff. It's not a big deal to just pack them up to wash at home.

Date Published: 07/02/2003
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