BBQWho doesn’t love a good picnic? You get to eat somewhere different and the food always tastes better outdoors. Being with people you enjoy, like your family, is the icing on the cake. And make that a layered chocolate cake that comes after the burgers.

Some picnics seem to work out perfectly on a moment’s notice, but usually you have to give some thought and plan them out beforehand.

The first thing to do is decide on the location because that could make a difference for all your other decisions. Does it have a covered picnic area or should you bring a shade tent? Is there running water for hand-washing or should you bring wipes?

Another important piece to know is how many people are coming. If it’s just your family then you know their tastes and how much they’ll eat. If friends are coming along too, then you’ll want to know more about the kinds of food to have and the proper amount. Also, what are they planning to bring?

The food will be the highlight of the picnic, of course, so take some time figuring out the menu. Do you want just cold food or are you planning to grill meat at the picnic? Make it more interesting by trying out some new recipes and bringing something different than your usual picnic fare.

Accessorize your picnic – bring a tablecloth, cooking and serving utensils, silverware, napkins, salt and pepper and anything else you might require. Pack a vase and let the kids pick some wildflowers to put in it for the table centerpiece.

Pack lawn chairs for lounging around afterwards, plus toys for all. After the picnic is a good time for Frisbee-throwing, impromptu games of flag football, hula hoops or scavenger hunts.

It’s important to know how to keep your food safe in the heat of the day. Keep these in mind when picnicking:

  • Cold food needs to stay cold. Keep the food in a cooler with ice until it’s time to serve it. Then return it immediately to the cooler. Food poisoning is no picnic!
  • Keep your cooler in the shade as much as possible. This will help keep it cooler and the ice inside won’t melt as quickly.
  • Foods made ahead of time should have plenty of time to chill in your refrigerator before being packed into the ice chest. It’s job is to keep things cold that are already cold.
  • If there is still ice in the cooler when you get home, the food is probably okay. When in doubt, throw the food out!

Picnics can be a lot of fun, except for the occasional one that gets spoiled by a rain shower. Keep these tips in mind when planning your next picnic and enjoy your family, friends, and food in a special outdoor location.

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