Picnics are an occasion, a destination and a respite from routine. There are some essential guidelines for having a perfect picnic, with only ne rule that must be followed.
Read through the guidelines to help ensure that yours is the perfect picnic every time and follow up with making sure to adhere to the rules of picnic success.
For anyone who imagines that picnics are a lot of work, consider the outdoor gatherings more than 500 years ago with no coolers on wheels, no ice for keeping things cold, no paper plates or cups, easy-start charcoal briquets could not be found nor was there sunscreen lotion, sunglasses or bug repellents. Despite all this, picnics grew in popularity, becoming so fashionable that attempts were made to have picnics indoors during cold winter months.
Perhaps some of the earliest picnics were meals formally presented outside before hunts that followed most of the indoor dining protocol for those in high social and financial standing. These meals and other early picnics began before the word itself came into use but a word was needed to define the social gatherings where eating was done out of doors.
As picnics gained appeal, they evolved to be without a specific celebration or special event, such as a great hunt, to mark the occasion. Informal entertainment was a part of the picnics with lawn games, poetry reading, short dramas or musicians playing. A mid-day nap was easily accomplished with blankets spread out on soft ground in the shade before some final conversations while packing up supplies to return home before dusk.
As populations in urban areas grew, picnics in wooded glens and grassy farm fields transformed to more public green-ways and designated city parks. For ideas on where to picnic locally, go to http://thedailystar.com/archive/x1561285764/Where-to-Go.
The picnic outings became even more fashionable and elaborate for everyone, not just the upper-class society, by the early 1900s with menu and recipe suggestions appearing in print. Soon the early convenience foods began to appear, not on picnic blankets but picnic tables and, eventually, in coolers with ice, and meat began to be cooked on grills instead of over open campfires.
With the basic background of picnics as a foundation, it is time to look at modern-day hints to make the day go smoothly and fun for everyone who attends.
1. Who will be going on the picnic? This first consideration sets the guide for all other plans. Think about how many will be attending, their interests, driving distance and having a back-up plan if the weather is uncooperative.
2. What type of location? Consider if you want crowds or seclusion, grassy fields or playgrounds, hiking trails or a body of water. Also take in account children's safety, handicapped-accessibility, restroom availability, sun, wind, cleanliness and activities.
3. Food. Play it safe and keep it simple. Keep cold food cold and hot food hot. For a picnic with no cooking, sandwich ingredients are a great beginning point. The most popular picnic menu items that will be cooked over a grill are hot dogs and hamburgers. Possibilities are endless. For more menu suggestions, go to http://thedailystar.com/x1968163870/Pack-a-picnic.
4. Avoid alcohol on this menu, as the sun seems to intensify the effects of alcohol _ in addition to its effect on sleepiness and slower judgment. Cold water rules, but picnics are an occasion to have homemade sun tea and real lemonade, root beer or fresh cold cider. Encourage people to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
5. Bring along a wide range of games and entertainment options, such as a soccer ball, flying disc, jump rope, magnifying glass, butterfly net, sand toys, light reading material, a deck of cards, old-time games such as marbles, a few kites or an inflatable raft.
6. The necessaries make the day more care-free and include items such as a large blanket, tablecloth, disposable hand wipes, paper or plastic dining products, bug repellent, sunscreen, charcoal and matches (if cooking will be done), extra sweatshirts or windbreakers, a basic first-aid kit and definitely a cellphone.
7. Pick a picnic theme to add to the fun. Here are some examples: host a treasure hunt, with a pirate theme; have an Olympics-type event with sports of your own creation; take a "trip" by having a Hawaiian theme or a host a bake/cook contest, chili tasting, piestasting; or try rock hunting or having a renaissance fair.
8. The extras for a picnic would depend on many of the above mentioned factors and can be added or left behind: favorite condiments, a hand-crank ice cream maker with all the necessary ingredients, swimwear, a small quick-assemble tent, bikes, portable playpens. This is a list that could go on and on and it seems that the more time you have to pack for a picnic, the more can get loaded into the car.
The most important comment, the final idea, the last word that can be considered the golden rule of picnics is this: GO.
Forget all the reasons it would be easier to stay home, all the work to be done at the house and for the office, don't worry about the lawn needing a trim, phone calls to be made and household repairs waiting to be done. The hardest work of any picnic is getting out the door. Once that part is done, everything else falls into place.