Whether you're planning a family get-together, a romantic getaway - or a full-blown company picnic for the entire staff - a picnic is great way to just kick back, relax, and casually pick at a prepared feast in beautiful surroundings.
Preparing to picnic
Sure, a picnic takes a bit more planning than usual. Dining a la fresco means tranporting food to a favorite outdoor spot, observing picnic food safety precautions and, of course, carrying along an entire set of plastic utiensils, plates, napkins and a picnic blanket or folding table. The result on a sunny summer day? Priceless.
Make it easy on yourself by choosing tasty, transportable picnic foods. These traditionally include cold deli meats, cheeses, potato or macaroni salads, as well as chilled wine or champagne, cold drinks, bottled water, and bite-sized fruit such as grapes or sliced watermelon.
Use plastic coolers to pack your favorite outdoor foods ...and you're ready to picnic.
As a safety measure, always have enough ice or cooler packs on hand to keep food from spoiling -- especially if you are going to be spending a whole afternoon out in the summer sun. Although ants are the proverbial picnic spoiler also don't forget the bug spray and repellents, as well as plenty of sunscreen protection for yourself and others.
That includes plastic cups with covers to keep honeybees from being attracted to sodas and fruit juices. And always cover foods after your spread has been served. Planning on a centerpiece of fresh flowers for your picnic table? Make it a fresh pot of marigolds, a natural bug repellent. In place of a citronella candle, let fresh oranges serve double duty by placing discard peels around the table to repel insects.
Although it might be the ideal spot to have your picnic, bugs also favor that scenic spot near a river, lake, or stream which ofen attracts mosquitoes and other flying insects.
Finally, if all else fails, there are always ways to appease the enemy. That is, by placing a selection of sugary fruit and half-empty soda cans in a spot away from the picnic table. They will be attracted to the treasure trove of eats you've left for them.... and not yours!
Around the Web, find expert advice at top sites offering how to's, safety tips, recipes and menus ideas, along with more on what else to pack for a great outdoor summer feast without the hassle.