Perhaps the easiest way to make a meal into an event is by going on a picnic. The most basic lunch or dinner seems special when dining alfresco.
To be ready at a moments notice, keep a picnic kit packed with the essentials so you can grab and go. The kit can be a traditional basket, backpack, tote bag, cooler bag, or a cooler or suitcase-on-wheels. Just be sure to keep in mind your picnic location. You don’t want to find yourself wheeling a picnic kit over rocky terrain or carrying a heavy basket up a remote hillside.
The kit should contain the basics:
- A blanket, sheet, or tablecloth to sit on and a plastic tarp in case of dampness.
- Dinnerware, such as heavy-duty paper plates, napkins, and plastic utensils, which are available in many fun colors and designs. For the environmentally conscious, pack reusable plastic dinnerware and cloth napkins. Just tote everything back home to be washed.
- Serving utensils
- A sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Bottle opener
- Paper towels and hand wipes
- Garbage bag
- Insect repellent
When you’re ready, all you need to add is the food and you’re all set. For a picnic, the rule of thumb is to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Start by picking food that taste just as good cold as hot. (One of the reasons fried chicken is a popular picnic staple.) Also, keep the menu simple. Nothing toofussy.
One of my favorite picnic meals is this apple and brie sandwich. Just pack up the ingredients and assemble the sandwich on site. It is simple to make but gives a picnic an elegant flair. (
worry about keeping the brie cold unless it will be a long time before you dine
or it is an extremely hot day. Brie tastes better at room temperature.)
Apple and Brie
4 slices good sturdy bread
2 tablespoon bottled mango chutney
1 apple, sliced
6 slices brie cheese
1 small bunch watercress (optional)
Spread mango chutney on each slice of bread and layer with apple, brie and watercress. Cut in half and serve.