1. What should I carry when I take my family for a picnic?
You should carry the essentials like a picnic blanket to sit on, refreshments like water and other beverages, snacks which could range from chips to nuts, fresh fruits to candy and chocolates. You should also carry paper napkins, hand sanitizer, paper plates, disposable cutlery, disposable glasses, trash bags for waste and dirty utensils and a few items like a Frisbee or a ball to keep everyone entertained.
2. Do I need to reserve a site at a campground if I’m picnicking for the day?
If you are only using the open grounds which are not campsites, then you don’t have to reserve spots – however, it is advisable to check the rules and regulations of the place you will be headed to. If you are headed to a campsite with the intention of staying the night, then you will have to reserve a campsite and pay for it accordingly.
3. Is it advisable to make food and pack it for the picnic? Or should I get non perishable food?
You can do whatever is convenient for you. However, you should note that is you are getting perishable food, it should be kept cool in a cooler or an insulated container with a temperature of below 40 F. The temperature range between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F is known as the ‘Danger Zone’ where bacteria multiply at a very rapid rate. A single bacterium can divide itself to produce 17 million offspring in just 12 hours.
Keep in mind that your vehicle will absorb heat and even on a summer morning, the temperature outside may be a hot 88 degrees F, the inside of your car will show much higher readings. That is bad news for any perishable items like meat, poultry and dairy products.
4. What are the precautions I can take to ensure the food is not contaminated when served?
Keep cold food and perishable items in cold refrigerated places like coolers and keep it in the coolest part of your car. Also, avoid stuffing your cooler to the brim with products. The air needs to circulate to keep food safe. If you have a long trip, freeze the food you have cooked thoroughly and place it in the cooler, letting it eventually thaw out.
5. Should I carry two separate containers for food and beverages?
It would be advisable to store your drinks and refreshments in a separate cooler, especially on a hot day as many people will keep opening it to reach for a drink. This will allow the cool air to escape which will mean bad news for any perishable items like meats and salads that may be stored inside.
6. Aren’t picnics an old tradition?
Actually, it is. It dates back hundreds of years, but it is one tradition that has been kept alive because of the simplicity and effectiveness of it. It is fun to take a small picnic out to a nice location where you can enjoy good company, good food and good views.