A GUIDE TO PACKING THE PERFECT PICNIC + A RECIPE FOR SOUTHERN CAVIAR
I absolutely love a good picnic! The fresh air, warm sunshine, and a meal shared between a group of people on a scenic landscaping is something that does not occur too often these days. That is why I have decided to provide you with my guide to packing a proper picnic in hopes of bringing back this lost art.
Most people tend to overpack when it comes to picnics. This should only be the case if you plan to have a picnic themed event otherwise pick and choose your items lightly (yes that pun was intended) because you will be the one carrying those items to and from your picnic destination.
PICK YOUR PLACE:
There are several places to have a picnic, ideally, it would be a scenic landscape outdoors such as a park, lake, or beach. However, you don’t have to just pack a picnic for your own entertainment, there are many times that packing a picnic is a side contribution to other types of entertainment like outdoor movies and open-air performances. Consider packing a picnic the next time you partake in any of these events.
I’m a sucker for a blanket with a carrier or straps, this makes hauling a load of goods much easier. You can find one like mine here. Floor pillows also make a nice touch if you are planning to entertain a large crowd and have several helping hands setting up.
This varies upon how many people you plan to entertain. You can use a straw market tote if it’s a small setting or there are several picnic basket styles available that may better suit your needs for larger parties. Coolers are also a plus in my book due to the fact that we live in the sweltering heat of Florida about 3 quarters of the year. Have a large crowd to feed? Bring a wagon to help you haul those goods to and fro.
SETTING THE MOOD:
This can be done with flowers, lanterns, tasteful music, and outdoor games. Remember to be thoughtful of others, if you are in a park with several picnicking neighbors nearby, music may not be within your best interest as it may disrupt their mood and defeat the purpose of a relaxing picnic. Usually, it’s better to feel out each scenery situation before diving into the initial setup.
*Fun Fact- Did you know that picnicking dates back to the 19th century? This type of affair was considered an essential form of entertainment during the spring and summer seasons often combined with outdoor games and/or a serenading guitarist.
You can either choose to use plastic/melamine dishware or ceramic/glass dishware this choice is totally up to you and don’t forget the utensils. You’ll need separate silverware to serve with and eat with. Also, cutlery if you plan on serving anything you may need to slice i.e. cheese (I like to pack a ceramic knife with a cover). Some picnic baskets come with their own set of dishware and utensils which make the process of packing a little less complicated. Another thought is your storage containers. I recommend using Mason or Weck jars for this purpose. They don’t take up a lot of room and there are dozens of recipes created specifically for them. This cookbook explains it all here.
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I have a certain formula I like to use when it comes to the food portion of this guide. Click The Ultimate Picnic Menu Guide to download this handy little helper. Keep in mind that serving cold dishes is best, you also want to make sure that it will mingle well with the heat as the day goes on. I have shared my family recipe for “Southern Caviar” below. This side dish works well with the heat and is extremely easy to prepare. Another recipe I have featured is chicken salad, you can get the details for it here.
- 2 CANS BLACK EYED PEAS
- 2 SMALL CANS OF WHITE SHOEPEG CORN
- 2 GREEN BELL PEPPERS CHOPPED
- 2 VINE RIPE TOMATOES CHOPPED
- 1/2 CUP SCALLIONS CHOPPED
- 1/3 CUP FRESH PARSLEY CHOPPED
- 1 LARGE BOTTLE OF ITALIAN DRESSING
- SALT + PEPPER TO TASTE
- MIX ALL INGREDIENTS IN A LARGE BOWL AND SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER TO YOUR LIKING.
- POUR ITALIAN DRESSING OVER MIXTURE UNTIL COVERED BUT NOT SOUPY.
- PLACE IN FRIDGE TO MARINATE OVER NIGHT.
- THIS DISH CAN BE SERVED AS A SIDE OR IT CAN BE A DIP, JUST ADD TORTILLA CHIPS.
Cheers- Ashley Nicole