After months of near hibernation, it's no surprise that as spring rears her lovely head, we endeavor to spend every possible moment outside. From a walk around the block on your lunch break to backyard barbecues or a jaunt to the playground after school with the kids, every moment is an opportunity to soak in spring! If you're looking for a family-friendly way to get outside, why not try making a weekend lunch into a gourmet picnic the adults will enjoy too?
I never liked picnics as a child; I love them now! When I was younger, I would inevitably spill potato salad on myself from one of the flimsy paper plates we were using, or my napkin would blow away into the wind. Prepare yourself for a gourmet picnic by making a shopping list of equipment for packing the perfect picnic basket. Not only is this way of picnicking more environmentally friendly, but you won't have to deal with losing your plates and cutlery to the wind.
- Plates - I prefer to use reusable plates from home. They're easy to find with children's cartoons on them, but some companies sell colored melamine plates that are washable, reusable and perfectly unbreakable. If you prefer disposable, you can also use these palm leaf plates. Disposable, sturdy and completely biodegradable, you get the joint benefit of having a real plate to hold all that delicious food and a disposable plate you can leave behind when you go.
- Cutlery - You can bring your own cutlery as well; I don't mind washing everything when I get back, and you can drop the whole handful of forks, knives and spoons into an empty Tupperware to take home. To avoid carrying more things back, however, try Spudware, disposable cutlery made from potato starch that is fully biodegradable.
Gourmet picnics can be difficult to manage. Delicious fare can be hard to eat while sitting on the grass, and it's difficult to think of things that are delicious at room temperature. However, certain dishes benefit from having the added time to marinate. Why not try...
- Pan Bagnat. This Southern French favorite is like a salade nicoise on a giant roll. If you can't find the typical bread used for these, a baguette works fine.
- A steak and caramelized onion sandwich. The juices from the steak and onions really permeate the bread as you walk.
- This orzo super salad is packed full of good-for-you ingredients and is tasty, too!
- For this nectarine melba salad, toss all the ingredients with the dressing except for the lettuce; add that at the last minute. The flavors of the dressing will have soaked into the fruit by the time you sit down to eat.
- An egg and vegetable salad sandwich can be a messy ordeal to pack, but this salad is delicious on its own and can be packed in Tupperware. The same goes for this veggie egg salad, the perfect picnic addition for vegetarians.