Lifestyle: Four Tips for Packing the Perfect (and Pretty) Picnic Food
Bright sun, blue sky, what a perfect summer day! Even though the air is filled with more humidity than my usual liking (cue glistening face and fuzzy hair), it is very enjoyable and it’s definitely a nice change from the never-ending bitter winter weather we had for so song. It’s not hard to tell that New Yorkers are excited about this weather as well — walking around the city, all the restaurants with outdoor seating areas are packed with happy dinners that are enjoying the fresh air as much as they enjoy their meal.
When it’s nice out like this, I just want to spend some time outdoors and soak up every bit of the sunshine and summer breeze – During the weekdays, I’d take the outdoor tables (like the rest of the New Yorkers) when I go to the restaurants, but on the weekends, there is no reason to limit myself in the concrete buildings, there are so many wonderful parks in the city, this is the season to take the full advantage of the them and have a nice picnic outside!
For whatever reason it is, packing all the food in a basket and lay it all out on the blanket somehow makes the eating experience a lot more fun, whether it’s a romantic picnic for two, or a group picnic with all my besties. It is not hard to pack up the food to go, but in order to make the eating experience more fun without making too much of a mess, there’s actually a whole art to it when it comes to all the planning and packing the basket. Here are some of the tips I learned to make the perfect picturesque picnic:
1). Individually Wrap the Sandwiches
You don’t have to pack sandwiches, but sandwich is one of the most popular food to pack for a nice picnic – they are easy to transport, and it doesn’t require any plate to enjoy a good sandwich. Also, it’s easy to make a few different flavors for friends with different palates without too much hassle. Instead of packing the sandwiches in plastic bags or foil (which makes them soggy and depressing-looking sometimes), wrap them individually in a piece of parchment paper and tie them up with a string – it willl keep the sandwiches in tack, and it’s way cutter visually, too! When you get to the picnic spot, no matter now high you stacked your sandwich, they will look just fine and be ready to be picked up and enjoy. No mess at all!
2). Use Lidded Jars as Containers
Mason jars has been one of the most popular thing these days, you can’t go anywhere without seeing them…. just before you decide you have enough of them, give them a good chance when you pack for picnics, they actually comes in handy. I like to put some finger foods in the jars so it’s easy to eat without any utensils – think crispy vegetable crudités, salty pretzel sticks, or some roasted nuts – the jar not only makes a good container while keeping them fresh, it makes good presentation, too! I use mason jars as drink containers as well… they help keeping the bugs from falling into the drink without losing any style.
3). Put the Food on a Stick
There are lots of eco-friendly disposable utensil options for picnic, but I still prefer to make food easy to eat without using any utensils when I pack my basket. Whoever invented food on a stick is a genius, it is such a good way to share food without making a big mess – from appetizers to side dishes, to fruits and desserts, you can put anything on a stick and make them look good and tastes good! Try the combination of freshly cut figs with blue cheese with a drizzle of honey for a mini appetizer, or ripe strawberries with cheesecake bites and mint garnish for dessert… they will sure make good presentations and impression with your guests with no doubt!
4). Premade some Infused Drinks
Drinks are just as important as the foods when it comes to picnic. I usually like to use swing-cap bottles for the beverages so it can be on-the-go, and it’s easy to reseal if the drinks are not finished. infused waters are perfect for hot summer days like this, it gives a little flavor to the plain water with a refreshing twist, and it adds a little color to your picnic, and all the pictures you will be taking. You can never go wrong with lemon slices and mint leaves, or strawberries and cucumber with a little lime, these are easily the crowd pleaser. If you want something more exotic, try a nob of ginger with pineapple slices, or green pear with a spring of thyme, the flavors are simple yet delicately amazing. If your picnic spot allows alcohol, feel free to switch the infused water to sangria, just throw some cut fruits in the wine of your choice and seep it overnight, and you’re good to go!
Once the food and drinks are packed, don’t forget to pack some basic items such as napkins, wet paper towels for your hands and a garbage bag just incase you can’t find a place to dispose the trash on your picnic sights. Sometimes I like to pack a wooden cutting board too if I have room, it can be used as a good serving plate or flat surface to set the drinks on so you don’t have to worry about spilling the drinks on the blanket. For those who like to make a more romantic atmosphere, flameless candles are great when it comes to mood setting. Pick some wild flowers and make it a center piece, you’d be surprise how big a difference it’ll make.
Last but not least, put the cell phones and other electronic devices in the basket while you enjoy your food and your loved ones around you…. It’s something we definitely don’t do enough these days.