There is something wonderful about eating outdoors isn’t there? Do you remember when you did this as a child yourself?.. So many options – a picnic rug on the grass “at home” or a towel on the beach or chairs set up on the roadside!
The British are famous for their picnics – whether that’s finger food favourites or gourmet tables, chairs etc – The Goodwood and Glyndebourne-type experiences. The “experience” got really enhanced in Victorian times – led by the Royal Family.
“Picnic” comes from the French from the verb “piquer” – to pick or peck at. A “Picque-nique” originally was a meal where the person paid for their share of the food or brings something to the whole table as well. What a nice thought!
To create your own special picnic – you can of course order a “done for you” option eg with a vintage theme if you really want to look the part – wicker baskets and more. But they are very expensive! Picnic backpacks are easily available now – and great if you are walking with the family for the day.
To make life easier – you need to get prepared in advance!
- Prepare and freeze things eg sandwiches (but NOT with egg or mayo in them)
- Freeze cakes – they come out really well!
- Serve crudites which can be prepared in advance and put in bags in the fridge – or bought already done.
- Easy dips are houmous and guacamole, fish pates, pesto etc Kids love them too.
- Sausages and sausage rolls are always welcomed. Cheese and pickle, quiche.
- Little veg make life simpler eg sweetcorn, baby tomatoes, carrot, cucumber and celery batons, mini potatoes.
- Actual salad can be difficult – its bulky, doesn’t travel well and then is fiddly to eat when sitting on the ground – maybe avoid this one!
- Desserts which stack in ramekins or cartons are easy to pack tightly – eg mousses, creme brulee, yoghurts, cake. Don;t forget fresh fruit as an option too.
- Packing foods tightly helps so use square containers. Pack the food in the order it needs to come out – ie desserts at the bottom.
- Drinks bottles can go on their side with ice cool blocks – or maybe pre-freeze them – so as they melt they are ready to drink!
Picnic check list
- Salt and Pepper – maybe use the catering paper packs..
- Likewise for sauces – mayo, tomato ketchup, brown sauce etc
- Napkins or kitchen towel
- Sharp knife with a cover – for bread cutting etc
- Drinking water
- Plates, glasses / beakers, cutlery
- Picnic rug / tablecloth
- Dampened cloth in a plastic bag for wiping little fingers etc!
- Insect repellent
- Sun screen
- Sun hats
- First Aid kit – plasters mainly.
- Refuse bad for rubbish
- Clingfilm for covering up leftovers – or use one of the empty cartons.
- Ice blocks – you can never have too many!
- Strong bag / cooler box / hamper (or two!)
- Umbrella for shade
- Table and chairs
So – where are you going for your picnic? The beach, a wood, the South Downs, a Festival??
© Gayle Palmer Chichester Self Catering 2016