How to Pack Your Picnic Food Without Clutter
Summer has arrived, which means you need to get out of the house and truly enjoy “all this beautiful weather” during beach days, barbecues and picnics, but eating outside can be a little hassle. Sandwiches can get wet, plastic cutlery is fragile, and eating from a plate in your lap can be uncomfortable. With the right recipes and a little prep work, you can have your Pinterest dream picnic without a hitch.
Think outside the basket
Wicker baskets and picnic baskets do have a romantic touch, but they are bulky, not entirely insulated, and poorly suited for picnics that take place outside the park. Here are some alternatives:
- Hiking : If you’re going to eat outside, it might be something exciting, and what better way to end your hike than a delicious meal? The best basket for the job is not a basket at all, but a backpack, preferably insulated to keep things cool while hiking, like this or this one (both are available on Amazon).
- On the Beach : Sand and seagulls are the enemies of a beach picnic, so be sure to choose a container that is completely resealable. If you plan on spending the whole day, buy something on wheels so no one has to lug a heavy bag ashore, and make sure you have something with good insulation. Bonus points if there is a built-in margarita blender .
- For a little business : If this is a picnic for two (or one), there is no reason a couple of lunch boxes won’t do the trick. Check out this post for some of the best bags, containers, and boxes.
- For the traditionalist , if you really want a pretty wicker basket, then you should get the original wicker basket. This one is the best, but I have to warn you: I received it as a wedding present four years ago and it hasn’t felt the sun on its lid yet.
Make the best sandwich
Apart from ants, nothing spoils a picnic like a wet sandwich. Fortunately, you have several strategies at your disposal to deal with sogh:
- Keep moist ingredients such as condiments, tomatoes, and pickles inside the sandwich , and place meat and cheese in front of the bread to protect it from water enemies.
- Alternatively, you can coat the bread with a liquid paste such as butter, avocado, or cream cheese. Cucumber sandwiches are a great option, just be sure to cover both slices of bread with cream cheese so that the watery cucumber doesn’t affect the soft white bread.
- On this soft white bread: If you’re planning on making a Dagwood-style sandwich, consider replacing it with a crispy roll or hearty ciabatta. Not only will this bread help preserve the structural integrity of your food, but it is also great for making pressed sandwiches like this one from Crepes of Wrath . (Bonus: Pressing on the sandwich at night means the sandwich will stick better and soak up the wonderful pesto flavor.)
- Blot food by placing wet ingredients on paper towels while you pick up the rest of the sandwich, as suggested by The Kitchn .
- Don’t put so many things in there. Take advice from Barefoot Contessa and keep it simple with butter and salted ham or prosciutto on a crispy baguette. Not only will you avoid the horrible tomato slip, but a sandwich with only two (very fatty) ingredients has no chance of getting wet.
With one or all of these tips, you can say goodbye to rough wet sandwiches.
Put things on sticks
There is no dance more delicate than trying to balance on your knees with a plate and cut food with a plastic knife. Of course, you can put the plate on the ground, but then you have to bend over the plate, which is unattractive and bad for your back. Remove this noise by putting food on sticks. Not only will you eliminate the need for flimsy cutlery, you will always have at least one hand free. (Well, until you pour a drink into it.)
For a starter dish, try these Fine Cooking Greek Spit Salads ; Home, these classic club skewers from Stephanie Lynn ; for dessert, you can stick a bunch of fruits and cakes on a stick and end the day like Mel in his kitchen . If it can be cut into pieces, it can be put on a stick.
Put things in jars
Listen, I get it. We are all tired of Mason cans. Somewhere along the way, they’ve lost their rustic whims and morphed into the epitome of Pinterest twee, but heck they’re not great containers. They are easy to package and clean, and unlike cheap plastic containers, they last forever while maintaining their beautiful appearance. (If you really hate the aesthetic, you can always use an old peanut butter jar instead.)
With Mason jars, you can lay out individual salads – with the dressing at the bottom and the salad at the very top – without worrying about your greens getting thick. You can pre-mix delicious smoothies (or teas , I think) and refrigerate them for perfectly proportioned and chilled libations. You can even serve quirky layered desserts like these delicious no-bake cheese pancakes from Family Feedbag.
Combine some wine and pack it well
Drinking wine on the street is not an excuse if you drank the wrong wine. As for sandwiches, let this detailed article from the New York Times guide you; for grilling, refer to this handy graphic from Vinepair .
And if you’re going to bring wine, don’t let the bottles clink. You can buy a wine bag, but you can also get fancy and wrap the wine in Japanese furoshiki, as shown in the video above.