Thursday, May 20, 2010

6 Steps to The Perfect Picnic

One or more of these basic steps have been used to plan all my picnics through the years. Every single picnic is unique, but for me that is the best part. Different people, different locations, different menu all add up to a new adventure each and every time. I hope these tips inspire you to get out and picnic more:

1. Keep your picnic basket packed and ready to go at all times. Nothing discourages picnicking more than having to hunt for necessities like dishes, silverware, napkins, tablecloth and all the other basics. For a complete list of items to pack in your picnic basket, check my Blog dated May 3, 2008.
2. Pick a location. I like to combine a picnic with some sort of activity, whether it is a tourist attraction similar to those found in Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket, or something more passive, like watching your kids play ball at the park, or enjoying a romantic sunset.
3. Decide who to invite -- a friend, relative, neighbor? Anyone would be thrilled to be invited to go on a picnic. But, what if it is spontaneous and everyone in your circle is busy? Well, I hope you will agree that you are the best company you know and go anyway.
4. Choose your menu. First, take into consideration the location and picnic facilities since the menu for a picnic at a state park with tables and grills might be very different than for a picnic on a blanket at the beach. Also, think about the safety and ease of transporting the food. For ideas on getting a head start on picnic foods see my Blog dated April 27, 2008.
5. Be flexible. If the weather decides not to cooperate, you may have to pick another destination, one that has an overhead covering. Or, in the extreme, spread your picnic cloth on the living floor. Hey, it's not as bad as you might think ~ all your favorite foods, background music and no ants. Story telling or board games may be the perfect activity to complement your home picnic.
6. It's okay to ignore Steps 1-5. Let's say you wake up to a beautiful day and some rare leisure time to get outdoors and play, which of course, will include a picnic. You don't have a plan, you can 't think of where to go, you don't know if anyone is free on the spur-of-the-moment and don't feel like calling around. More importantly, your picnic basket is definitely not ready to go, in fact, you can't even find your picnic basket, and you certainly don't have anything interesting in the fridge because you haven't been grocery shopping in a while, but even if you do have food you don't feel like taking the time to get it ready.

What to do? SIMPLE!

Walk out the door empty-handed, well, except for maybe a table or ground cover. Stop at the nearest market and buy the fixings for a grand French picnic: a loaf of crusty bread, some good hard cheese, and a bunch of grapes. Oh, and a bottle of fizzy water. And, then let your car guide you to the perfect picnic spot. The key is not to get so caught up or overwhelmed by the details of picnicking that you give up the idea altogether.

I like to think that when we have an open and willing heart, and an adventuresome spirit, all our picnics will be perfect!