8 Tips for the Perfect Picnic
We hope you're finding time to enjoy the glorious UK weather? Perfectly timed too, as the nation celebrates National Picnic Week (22nd - 28th June 2020) this week (yes really!) giving families, nannys, childminders and au pairs just the excuse to make the most of the clear blue skies and lush green grass and get the children out to enjoy the great British picnic.
So dust off those hampers, baskets, cutlery, crockery and wash those picnic blankets and outdoor napkins.
National Picnic Week have set up a website to celebrate and invite you to join in sharing tips and recipes for the perfect picnic. Picturesque spots to visit, picnic dishes to prepare, favourite treats, tips and games to share.
What better way to make the most of current UK government advice, maintaining a safe 2 metre social distance outside in the fresh air. Just remember ... no large gatherings please!
It’s a good way to catch up with friends and family you haven’t seen for a while, now the weather's improved. So pack up your favourite treats for the family, games, music, books or colouring for the children and cycle or drive down to your favourite spot for a few hours in the sunshine.
A perfect opportunity for you, the nanny, au pair or childminder to spend quality time with the kids, entertaining them in the fresh air, especially while they’re still unable to go back to school and still home-schooling.
TOP TIPS for the PERFECT PICNIC
- KEEP COOL
Make sure any fish, meat pies or dairy dishes are kept cool, either in a cold box or surrounded by ice packs. Don’t let them stand around warming up once you’ve arrived either, tuck in sooner rather than later to avoid dodgy tums.
That doesn’t mean putting all the food out on display, in the heat of the midday sun either. You’ll only have to throw food out if it’s been sitting out for ages. Keep the food as cold/cool as possible for as long as possible.
TOP TIP: Slice up quiches or pies and serve straight from the cool box.
- AVOID THE SOGGY WILT
To stop sandwiches and salads getting soggy, keep your (wet) dressings and fillings in separate compartments until they’re needed. Your diners can add as much or as little as they like then.
TOP TIP: Choose crunchier lettuce, salads and crudities like; radishes, cucumber, carrots and celery sticks.
- CUBE REFRESH
A lovely trick is to pop fruit juice into ice cube trays and freeze them. Pop them into an airtight container (they will help chill other foods in your picnic hamper).
TOP TIP: Either hand them out as individual super mini-lolly cubes or wait until they’ve melted and pour into cups with soda water for a lovely fresh drink.
- Invite everyone to bring along their favourite chair, rug, cushion to sit on to prevent everyone getting too close to one another and arguing over the perfect position!
- Country Living Magazine have published a sumptuous long list of picnic food ideas to try this summer – 94 of them to be precise.
- Try crafting huge sandwiches then be sliced and shared or pop a salad into a jar. Put the dressing in first, then layer up salad, feta, raw veg and chickpeas. Once you tip the salad out, the dressing comes out last. Perfect!
- Keep plenty of hand wipes and anti-bacterial gel handy to make sure everyone’s got clean hands before they eat.
- Very important too - please remember to clear up after yourselves, pick up all your rubbish and take it all home with you when you go!
And just in case you didn't know, here's a bit of picnic trivia!
Did you know although a British tradition, popular amongst the aristocracy in the 1800’s, picque-nique is originally a 17th century french word, making an appearance in Britain in the early 1800's.
Although once us Brits got hold of it, the "picnic" quickly became rather less refined than their original overseas counterparts. Towards the end of 1801 a slightly rowdy group of 200 wealthy young Francophiles founded the “Pic Nic Society”, and dubbed the picnic quite an extravagant gathering!
Each member brought a dish (decided by lots) and six bottles of wine, with each endeavouring to outdo the other in luxury and expense. Singing, dancing and gambling followed the meal, culminating in a play to entertain. As amateur as they were, they were popular. So much so that, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, owner of the Drury Lane theatre was getting rather peeved by how much business he was losing to the Pic Nics. His remedy? To have them shut down, but not before caricature artist James Gillray depicted him “Blowing up the Pic Nics” in true eccentric style!!