Although meals eaten outdoors always have a certain splendor, there are certainly key elements to planning and preparing your moveable feast that help ensure delicious tastes, food safety, and a pretty presentation. Use this checklist and have fun!

  1. Spruce up sandwich presentation by layering colorful wrapping paper with parchment or wax paper. Wrap like you would a present, tucking in the ends.
  2. Don’t forget the corkscrew, a sharp knife, a bread knife, small cutting board, and water.
  3. Bacteria and germs need the combination of food, moisture, and heat to grow. Temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees are not suitable for food storage and foods left in these temperatures for over four hours are firmly inside the “danger zone.” In hot weather (above 90 degrees) food should never sit for more than 1 hour. Any left over left out for more than 2 hours should be thrown away and always keep foods covered and in shady spots. The Partnership for Food Safety Education publishes very helpful information about safe food handling practices. ChefsLine is well versed in many food handling issues - do not hesitate to call us when in doubt.
  4. Lay a plastic tarp first so you can use that pretty blanket for seating.
  5. Bring a trash bag, wet naps, and of course, plates and forks.
  6. Prepare dishes that taste good at room-temperature including sandwiches, salads, and cheeses.
  7. Include a crunchy, lively salad as one dish to balance textures.
  8. And, unlike a cooler whose plastic and damp insides often give me pause before opening, there is nothing that says “look inside!” like a pretty picnic basket!
  9. Sources: Red butcher paper to wrap sandwiches or line tables Source
  10. Sources for red checkered take-out containers:
  11. Other ideas- Have the kids design own bags with stickers and markers. Wrap their own sandwiches with pretty plastic wrapping and stickers. Styrofoam soup containers can be decorated with markers and stickers too.
  12. Keep raw meats wrapped tightly and separately from cooked foods and those meant to be consumed raw.
  13. Pack ahead: Pack perishable foods at the last minute with ice or ice packs, and be sure not to open it too frequently.