Fill Your Basket with the Best Picnic Food

A guide to preparing the perfect picnic, including recipes for bruschetta rustica, marinated bean salad, and several sandwiches.

| June/July 1993

  • 138-026-01-im1
    Hold the mayo and the chips.... picnics are just as scrumptious without them.

  • 138-026-01-im1

Pump up those biceps: cooler hauling time is here again. Ah, it's the season of the movable feast, so while you're at it, grab the sunscreen and insect repellent. Whether you're picnicking at the beach, park, zoo, backyard, or bike trail, you've got to launch out prepared for any hunger attack that may strike.

When I speak of portable food, I'm not talking about when the ants carry off the blanket, but rather about your own carefully planned feast. Picnicking used to be so simple. We had a choice of ham, tuna, or egg salad on white bread—with lots of mayo. There was also the mandatory potato salad and coleslaw . . . and brownies for desert. But suddenly life has become complex with high-fat versus low-fat food choices, and the consuming question: "Is there life without mayonnaise?" In fact, the entire picnic atmosphere has become health-conscious. Remember witnessing throngs of people parking their oiled bodies on beach towels and rolling over every hour? Now "the perfect tan" conveys one of two messages:

1) sheer ignorance or 2) a death wish. When it comes to picnicking, my husband claims I take everything but the kitchen sink—which is why we rarely reach the lake before sundown. (However think of all the money I save on sunscreen.) Of course, no one complains when they're stuffing themselves every half hour, which is how frequently kids and husbands eat when away from home. The only catastrophe I've had was when we hiked 10 miles into a canyon only to discover I'd left lunch back at the car. Rule #1: The best picnics are those that actually make it to the picnic site. Here are a few time saving tips to get you out of the house at an early (or at least reasonable) hour:

At the first sign of warm weather, make up a picnic basket or bag with all the picnic necessities, including: bottle opener, knife, plastic ware, Ziplock bags, and so on. Replenish the basket as needed but don't unpack it until October.

Freeze an ample supply of freezer packs (or as I refer to them, "those frozen things") in a variety of sizes. Frozen lunch-box juice packs can also be used as frozen things. If there's no extra room in your freezer for long-term storage, keep packs in the picnic basket so they can be popped into freezer the night before the outing.

Get yourself a smaller cooler so you don't always have to lug the big cooler.

Prepare your food the day before the picnic. Don't make up the sandwiches ahead of time because they'll only get soggy. Instead, wrap up the fillings or store in plastic containers and have picnickers prepare their own sandwiches as needed.


Fermentation Frenzy!

September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pa

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me