Saturday, 13 July 2013

Ten Tools for Perfect Picnics

Wheeled Cool Bag
My most memorable less-than-perfect picnic mistake was to forget the ham, for a picnic for three rowing eights and multiple parents on a sunny day by the river in Bedford.  My second was when the salmon fell out of the car at Henley, but both of those stories are for other posts…….or not.

Having done picnics for Glyndebourne, Henley, and regattas throughout the year and for small groups to large nuColoured Cutlery Setmbers of hungry rowers I know that the trick is to make life as easy as possible.  What helps hugely is to have the right kit.  I’ve never been one of those ‘picnic on a blanket’ people, I like to sit at a table, on a chair, having had strong people move whatever I need to wherever I need it and then producing good food which is easily servable.

Because we’ve now finally totally reached the picnic season I thought I’d put this list together of items that will help create the perfect picnic.  This is not about the food, you understand, but about the moving, storing and dishing up of your feast. 

Perfect picnics are easy logistically if you have the following, all of which you can use over and over again – although paper plates and throwaway glasses may seem to be more cost effective, they’re nothing like as nice to use, and those listed below will last you for years of picnics:

Wheeled Cool Bag
Chairs in a Bag
Foldaway Table
High Quality Plastic Handled Cutlery
Melamine Plates
Freezer Packs
High Quality Plastic Glasses
Mini Salt and Pepper Mills
Pop-up Rubbish Bin*

Foldaway Picnic Table Freezer Packs for PicnicsPlastic Wine GlassJoules Picnic ChairMelamine Dinner PlateCole and Mason Mini Salt and Pepper MillsSalad Bowl with lidPop Up Laundry Basket for Rubbish
*Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Picnic

If you’re not just in your back garden, and are feeding quite a few, make sure you take two dustbin bags with you, one for rubbish, and the other for dirty cutlery, plates and glasses.  This you can just tip into the sink and wash later, and transport in your wheeled cooler bag.

Most places will not allow you to leave your rubbish behind and it’s also a pain to fill a rubbish bag when it’s on the ground.  When (again) doing picnics for large numbers I found it invaluable to have a pop-up ‘laundry bag’ with me, into which I put my dustbin bag.  I took this idea from someone else I saw at a regatta, and I know that it was copied many times.  Expect to be admired for your forethought and efficiency……..

Happy Picnics.