Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Picnic Dinner in the Park

I have always wanted to do a picnic dinner in a park that was nicer than just your average picnic. Here are my thoughts on how to do this and some ideas I found at about.entertainment.com:
"It's summertime and the great outdoors beckon. Starry skies, chirping crickets and balmy breezes can only be enjoyed for a fleeting few months unless you live in a year-round temperate climate. That's why it makes sense to take every opportunity you can to relax and entertain outside. After all, there's no rule that says you must host all of your dinner parties inside, or even at home. With all the fun activities available during the summer, it would be a shame not to bring your guests to the park one evening for a picnic dinner where you can enjoy conversation, games, and the fresh air."
Unlike your regular dinner parties, all the food will need to be cooked in advance and brought to the park in appropriate warmers or coolers. Here are a few other items you will need to pack for this excursion:


Picnic Essentials
The first consideration is location. The site should be comfortable, with nearly restroom facilities if possible and some shelter from the sun, whether trees or beach umbrellas.

Other necessities include:
Cushions and quilts.
A large blanket or two on which to serve the food and possibly sit.
Plenty of ice in a big hamper.
Utensils from home: serving bowls, sharp knife, forks, plates, spoons, napkins, matches, a small salt and pepper set, can opener, etc.
Plates, napkins, eating utensils and glasses.
Trash bag or grocery sacks for easy cleanup. A roll of paper towels and wet wipes will come in handy, too.
Portable chairs or camping chairs if you're not comfortable sitting on the ground.
Take some card tables for serving if you want
Beverages including water, soft drinks or juices.
Insect repellant or citronella candles (if permitted by the park.)
I’m in love with this clever barware idea from Brides.com… serve up a fun signature drink (like the hard lemonade pictured here) - in mason jars with stylish die-cut lids that have room for a straw!

These Daisy Cut Metal Lids http://www.candlesoylutions.com/thumbnail.asp?offset=0&deep=1&cid=13are available in both pewter & gold finishes at Candle Soylutions (starting at $0.39 each). Various sizes of mason jars are also available at Candle Soylutions. http://candlesoylutions.com/thumbnail.asp?offset=0&deep=2&cid=41


Food Ideas
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Veggie and Fruit trays
Chips, Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Green Salad
Bring a portable gas or propane grill and do hotdogs or other meat.
Watermelon
Cookies and other non messy treats
Lots of liquids

Important rules for food safety
Chill thoroughly food that is to be served cold before placing in a cooler. The cooler will not chill food that isn't already cold.
Fill cooler completely with food or ice to prolong chilling. Temperature should be maintained at 40°F or below.
Use a separate cooler for non-perishable items that will require frequent access such as beverages or fruit.
Keep cooler in a shady location during daytime hours.
Hot food should be prepared right before leaving for picnic and packed in a separate container. Hot food should be kept at 140°F or higher.

1 comment:

jenjen said...

Oh, how I wish it were warm enough for a picnic in the park! Thanks for the ideas!

Jen