I’m not sure what it’s like where you are, but around here the weather is just about right for picnics. The Summer heat is fading a little, but the wind and rain hasn’t picked up yet. This means filling a hamper with food and going somewhere nice and warm to eat it.
This is how I make a traditional picnic, without relying on crisps and fruit, to have a great time anywhere.
1: Pies, pasties and puddings.
I try and make sure that all the soft foods like jam, meat stew and the likes are firmly encased in pastry, to make them easy to handle and carry.
Meat breads are also a great idea. You make dough and then as you are forming the rolls, you tuck meat and vegetables into the centre of the bread. When it bakes the dough absorbs some of the juices and makes for a delicious treat that is more robust than a sandwich.
2: Solid things.
Bring only hard fruits, like apples, or things in tupperware boxes. Anything soft or crunchy will crumble apart.
3: The basket.
You want a basket that closes well and keeps everything inside even if it is swung around. You want to pack it neatly.
4: Dishes and cutlery.
Choose less breakable items and try and bring a tray to keep them together.
5: A blanket.
A requirement. If the weather has been a little damp, bring a ground mat from a tent!
6: Keeping clean.
Baby wipes, two tea towels and a bottle of lightly soapy water for rinsing everything.
Bring plastic bottles, not glass or cans. If necessary, decant drinks from cans and glass bottles into empty water bottles before leaving. Just don’t bring glass or cans, as they can break, injure people, waste drinks and make a mess.
8: Against the elements.
Pick a spot where your blanket stays put on its own. Just put it down and watch it a moment if you’re not sure. When the wind doesn’t move it, the spot is right.
Don’t set up immediately under a tree, at the shell line on the beach or near sand dunes.
9: Against ants.
If ants are hard to avoid, bring some cinnamon and sprinkle it over your blanket. It burns ants so they will leave you alone.
10: For fun.
Bring two things for every person. There can be overlap, for example if two of the kids want to play football, that’s one thing for each of them, plus a magazine for the older kid and an art block for the younger one. Make sure everyone has something to do.
11: Make memories.
Press a few flowers, take some pictures or collect some still life every time you go on a picnic, it makes it all the more fun.
Finally, like anywhere, don’t overstay your welcome. When the food is gone, everyone has had fun and people are getting bored and tired, it’s time to leave. Trying to linger when everyone is bored is a surefire way to ruin a good picnic, not a way to make the day more fun.
TTFN and Happy Hunting!
Do you like picnics? How do you manage them? Got any good picnic recipes or ways of wrangling the kids? Feel free to share them with us!