The Anatomy of a Perfect Picnic
Intermittent cool breezes blow over sweeping hills, ruffling the long wheat-colored grasses, as the sun shines filling in the gaps with steady streams of light. The hot of the sun and cool of the breeze mix to create temperance—and the perfect spot to lay a plaid blanket. The matching wicker basket located at the corner of the blanket holds the key to absolute happiness: the perfect picnic. But what is the perfect picnic, you say? Well, that’s entirely up to you.
If I left it at that, I wouldn’t be of any help. And if I wasn’t helpful, my good deed for the day would go undone. If I’m going to do a good deed, I might as well help you pick out your picnic munchies. So what’s the million dollar question? What makes a perfect picnic?
When I hear the word picnic, I think of checkered table clothes, ants, watermelon, hotdogs, corn, apple pie, club sandwiches, and soda.
We’ve upgraded the picnic experience.
As always, our focus is on healthy eating at a reasonable price. There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for healthy and cheap food:
- It’s always cheaper to prepare meals yourself than buy them prepare at the grocery store, and even cheaper than takeout from a restaurant.
- When preparing food yourself, you control the amount of fat and sugar that goes into it.
- If you surf the sales and best deals, i.e. whatever lunch meat is cheaper, you can save even more. This may mean buying chicken when you want roast beef, and this can take patience and self discipline, but it can be done.
- You may be able to get a better deal if you buy local. The loaf of bread we will be featuring in our recipe cost $2.50 at the Park Avenue Bakery.
Jeff and I went to Shakespeare in the Park this past Monday, and made a myriad of wonderful things for a delightful picnic dinner. The lineup included: Jeff’s Hamlet Hoagie (chicken, salami, provolone cheese, roasted red peppers, pickled onions, tossed greens with dressing, and a small touch of mayonnaise on crusty French bread), Caprese Skewers on toothpicks, Watermelon-Mint Salad with simple syrup, and water with Crystal Light packets.
Now, let’s have a little fun and create a unique picnic experience at the same time. Below you will find four columns: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, and Dessert. Each column has 6 food items listed underneath it, and they are numbered. Take out an ordinary six sided dice and piece of paper. Roll the dice, and find the food item that has the corresponding number. You have now chosen the appetizer for your picnic. Continue on until you have all four of your courses picked out. No cheating! What you roll is what you get. So get rollin’!
Appetizer Main Course Side Dish Dessert
1. Caprese Skewers 1. Big Sandwich 1. Melon and mint 1. Dark chocolate
2. Meat and Cheese 2. Grilled Chicken 2. Grilled Sweet 2. Strawberries and
Plate Potatoes Cream
3. Veggie Tray 3. Chicken Wrap 3. Grilled Asparagus 3. Bing Cherries
4. Prosciutto 4. Pesto Chicken 4. Fresh Green Salad 4. Greek Yogurt and Fruit
and Melon Sandwich
5. Deviled Eggs 5. Oven Fried Chicken 5. Roasted Red 5. Jell-O Cups
6. Chinese Barbecue 6. Salmon Salad 6. Egg Fried Rice 6. Pudding Cups
Remember to bring paper plates, napkins, and silverware.
Life’s a Picnic! Now get out your checkered table cloth and have one! Summer’s almost over, so be sure to partake while the weather is still providing temperate breezes.
Crystal is the founder of Simply Playful Fare. She has been in the kitchen for as long as she can remember. She has a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing.