Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Perfect Picnic Packing!

With the summer holidays upon us, many of us will be spending time picnicking. Picnics can be very simple or quite elaborate, depending on the occasion. No matter what kind of picnic you are planning this summer, it can be made just right with selecting the right kind of picnic basket.

No matter what the cost of your basket, it should be able to do several things: sturdy enough to hold food, drinks, plates, utensils. It should be able to protect food from being squashed, and should be able to keep food cold or hot. The cool part is especially important if you have food that may spoil in heat- nothing ruins a nice picnic like a case of botchulism!

When you shop for your basket, have in mind what size you’re going to need- if you’re packing meals for two or for a family of eight, be sure what you’ve selected has enough room for all of your supplies.

Likewise, know what you want to bring along- if that means a bottle of champagne, a flower arrangement, china or paper plates, disposable cutlery or silver, make sure your basket has a place for everything.

Also keep in mind where your picnic will be, and select a basket that can get you and your food to the location- if your picnic is going to be somewhere near the summit of Mount Everest, you’ll need to select something that is more backpack-like than you would if your picnic is in the local park.

We have selected several picnic baskets with a variety of prices:

Target features Malibu Rivera insulated shoulder picnic bag for 2 with melamine plates, tumblers, stainless flatware, and a wooden cutting board for $59.99

Kate Spade has a wonderful Hobby Picnic Tote with a cool silk-screened fork, spoon, and knife on the side pocket for $123.00

And, a few baskets at the other end of the spectrum (I can dream, can’t I?)…

Modest Designs features this vintage Gucci Picnic Bag from the 70’s that is perfect for that special polo match! It has his and hers thermos, a biscuit tin, and collapsing bone-handled forks and spoons, and is priced at a breathtaking $1,675.00

Coach can help you plan a perfect day with their coloful logo print lining, logo plates, leather naplin rings, bamboo-handled flatware, priced at $1998.00

My hands-down, wonderfully impractical favorite is from Pinel & Pinel. As soon as I get my private Zeppelin, I will be sure and pack this massive trunk for an alfresco meal in Biarritz. This picnic trunk is finished in brown leather with a red leather lining. It features ten drawers and room for three bottles of champagne, and all the utensils are already packed, down to your truffle slicer (how many times have I been on a picnic and forgotten to pack the truffle slicer?!!) The trunk drawer transforms into a table and two chairs. Is Santa taking early orders? If you need to ask how much this affair costs, you’re at the wrong party, baby.

Some tips for packing are small Tupperware containers for condiments, a portable ice bucket, battery-powered candles (if you’re dining under the stars), some type of ground cover, an umbrella if you need one, some type of bag for trash- I hate to take garbage home in the basket- bring along a plastic grocery bag for this, as well as a few extra plastic bags to wrap up the dirty dishes and cutlery in for the trip home- and some throw pillows are always great if you’re not bringing chairs and a table, and I love to bring along a travel game of some sort or a deck of cards.

No matter what you choose to carry your meal into the great outdoors, you’ll be sure to have a great time if you keep all of this in mind when you choose your picnic basket.

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