The ultimate picnic
Creating a memorable outdoor feast
70 ;e Costco Connection JULY 2013
By Laura Langston
EVERYBODY LOVES A picnic. When the
weather is warm and the sun is shining, we
naturally think of packing up the cooler and
heading for the beach or the park. Enjoying
a picnic with friends and family is laid-back
and fun. It’s also an economical, easy way to
add a festive note to summer.
While picnics are no-fuss affairs, you’ll
want to do a little planning first to make them
even more foolproof.
The right location adds to the charm,
but only if you’re not too tired when you get
there. You’ll likely carry everything in to
your picnic site. If it’s a significant walk from
your vehicle, keep your load light. Ensure
that the site allows for cooking equipment if
you plan to cook when you arrive. And
check the weather forecast a few days ahead
of time; rain can wash away the best of plans.
Gather supplies. You’ll want blankets
or folding chairs for comfort, a tablecloth for
the picnic table (or a portable table) and two
coolers (a beverage cooler that you’ll open
and close often and another cooler filled
with ice and food that stays shut until it’s
time to eat).
Set the tone with plates, cutlery
and glassware. A romantic picnic for two
might call for beautiful plates, wine goblets and
a decorative centerpiece, while plastic utensils
and colorful paper plates are more practical for
a family get-together. Remember the bug spray
and sunscreen, and don’t forget trash bags,
paper towels, hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
Food is a big part of any picnic. Just
about anything goes, says Angela Fraser,
associate professor and food safety specialist
at Clemson University in Clemson, South
Carolina, “as long as you follow proper prep-
aration methods at home, transport food
safely and keep it at proper temperatures
when you’re outside.”
By nature, most picnic foods are simple
and easy to eat out of hand: fruit and cheese,
sandwiches, cookies, wraps, veggies and dip.
Fraser recommends preparing what you can
at home first. Chicken, for example, can be
cooked and chilled ahead; salads and des-
serts can be assembled and chilled. Raw
meat can be partially prepared.
“If you’re cooking burgers, form the
hamburger patties, put them in sealed plas-
tic containers and immerse that leakproof
container in ice for transport,” Fraser says.
And avoid cross-contamination: Don’t put
cooked food back in a container that held
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouses carry all of the ingredients for an unforgettable summer picnic:
coolers, storage containers, bug spray,
disposable dinnerware and, of course,
a variety of outdoor-friendly fare.