How to Set Up the Perfect Picnic
By Malka Kopolovich, Lubicom Staff
I’ve been refreshing the weather app on my phone for the longest time. It has been a very long winter here in NYC… I haven’t even had a chance to enjoy a spring picnic this year!
And now that we skipped over spring and landed into summer, I finally can.
When packing for a picnic, it’s important to take along all the proper utensils and food, and pack them in a way that makes it easy to take out when you need it.
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You can pack everything in a regular backpack, but I recommend a cooler. Insulated totes go for around $30 on Amazon, and insulated backpacks go for $40-$50. They have pockets inside and all around the bag for things that don’t need to be kept cold and bands to keep the blanket intact.
The following is a list of things you might need for a picnic:
A blanket – the largest one you can find.
When you take it out, lay it as flat as possible and keep your bag on it to keep it from flying away when it’s windy.
- A folding chair – for the guest that can’t sit on the floor for whatever reason.
Utensils - Open up a napkin and put a fork, knife, and spoon inside. Roll it up and secure it with a rubber band. Do this for as many placements you need – it’s a super organized way to find and hand over utensils to your picnic members.
- Takeout boxes! They’re smaller and easier to pack than plates, and definitely easier to eat off of when you don’t have a table. Bonus points if you pre-pack each serving (if you have the room for it)!
- Plates – for eating and serving
- Serving spoons
- Cups – for drinking and washing
- One good knife – make sure to wrap it safely!
- Trays to keep food and drinks steady
- Bottle opener, if you’ll need one.
- For those uninvited guests, don’t forget to bring bug spray. Remember to never spray it directly on bugs; it’s their park, too!! Instead, protect yourself from bites by spraying yourself.
- Sunscreen!!! Protect yourself, your family, and your friends from harmful ultraviolet rays! Even on a cloudy day, apply it – your skin is still getting up to 80% of the sun’s harsh effects.
- Baby wipes – if you aren’t taking them already for the little members of your picnic, wet wipes can clean up any mess; they’re portable and easier to pack than paper towels.
- Games, balls, and anything else to keep your guests entertained.
- Lastly, a first-aid kit. I know I’m a buzzkill, but it’s bound to be an eventful day, and better safe than sorry. Take along a couple bandages, hydrocortisone creams, and aspirin for those unprecedented minor bumps throughout the day.
Pack all foods in spill-proof reusable containers and all condiments, spreads, and sauces in their own packaging or mason jars. Try to leave behind the juicy and drippy foods, and instead take along some of these mess-free, delicious courses.
1. Turkey sandwiches with potato salad. Super simple, super delicious, enough said.
4. Bagels and spreads! You can bring a variety of breads to accommodate to everyone in the group.
Uncomplicated and easy if you have a picky crowd!
5. Caesar Pasta Salad
Lettuce, whatever vegetables you like, cold penne/rotini pasta, and grilled chicken, with croutons and Caesar dressing.
6. Pizza! For the ones who don’t feel like making anything, I see you and I support you – this is for you. Picking up a pie and fries on the way to the park is stress-free, requires no plates or utensils, and most importantly, is delicious.
Take along fruit (If you can, cut it during the picnic. Cutting fruits and leaving them in your bag over-exposes them to oxygen, causing vitamin and freshness retention. Freshly cut fruit is better for you and juicier!), cookies, pre-cut cake, bottled water and juices, tortilla chips and dips, and any other snacks. If eating bread, make sure to pack cups to wash hands with and siddurim for bentching.
Be safe, stay cool, and have fun!