Planning a perfect picnic? It can. We interviewed to find out how to make an unforgettable picnic with family or friends Antonella Guzzardi, autrice de The fabulous world of picnics (Gribaudo, 12,66 euros, 160 pp.), Who explained how to make an outdoor day unique, transforming it into an elegant and collective convivial experience, which has its origins in ancient history.
The idea for this book comes from a personal passion "for the aesthetics and informality of the picnic itself". "Furthermore", says the author, "it is an experience that brings together my two primary interests: good food and nature".
Read also: Picnic and children
In this article
- The origin of the picnic
- The right location
- The timings
- Food safety
- The invitations
- Trash can
- Menu according to the season
- Menus and recipes
- How to combine foods
- Waste management
- Advice for those with very young children
Birth and development of the culture of outdoor dining
The first "open air" lunches were from the Middle Ages and hunters ate frugal meals during hunting trips. "But it is with the Victorian era in England that the picnic gained momentum and took on the characteristics we know today: they were sumptuous picnics, occasions to show one's rank and social status", says Antonella.
Rules for organizing a perfect picnic for the whole family
Organizing the perfect picnic for the whole family requires good taste and care. The writer has identified some tips to follow to live a unique experience. Here's what they are.
1) Choose the right location
The choice of place makes "50% of the picnic" and it is useless to deny it. And it is perhaps the most complicated part. Also, a picnic can be urban, in search of natural places more or less hidden in the city or in the immediate suburbs, delimited and away from traffic (and in general it is necessary to orient oneself on parks) or near places of particular scenic beauty, "open", and in this case a journey is undertaken specifically for this purpose.
"If possible, it would be useful to do an inspection; since it is not enough to identify the park, but also the specific place (under a tree, that tree, for example) that could be perfect (for the view, for the shade, because it is sheltered ..). Furthermore, it is advisable to study the rotation of the sun (spring and autumn: better sunny; full summer: better in the shade; and that it is flat, otherwise it becomes difficult to keep everything in balance, especially in the hills / mountains) In addition, it should be remembered that there are two macro categories: the picnic proper, lying on a lawn, or the one that involves the use of pre-existing wooden benches and tables or those that can be brought ", says the author.
2) Time management
The timing must be managed in the best way, because the successful picnic is a mix of environment, food, impeccable organization. "First of all, you need to make a list of guests, divided between: children (weaned) and adults. For the latter, you need to note the intolerances. You are not at home or in a restaurant, any 'surprise' in this sense will necessarily mean leaving disappointed or, even worse, some guests go hungry ".
The choice of the menu
At this point, at least a week in advance, you have to decide on the menu. For the organization it is necessary to calibrate the forces well: picnicking means making a variety of foods that will have to be cooked, cooled and 'packaged' each with their own needs. You also need to prepare a certain amount of materials, including crockery and accessories that will make the day a success, but which must be thought of in advance.
"If we have forgotten the corkscrew or napkins, it will not be trivial to be able to reach a place, perhaps on Sunday, that can provide them. Get help: involve a friend, a family member, someone who can help you and who has practical sense . An ally is essential, especially if more than 4 people participate. After deciding on the menu, concentrate on what you need to contain the preparations ", explains Antonella.
3) Food safety
"Remember that safety is imperative, especially if the thermometer easily exceeds 30 °", continues the writer. The maximum time to keep food out of the fridge is between 1,5 hours above 27 degrees and up to about 2 hours for milder temperatures.
"First of all, I recommend that you let the preparations cool completely in the fridge before storing them in their respective containers. Therefore, the freshness-saving plastic containers are essential to contain those fresh, raw or easily perishable ingredients that will be composed at the moment. gear up for the season, I still recommend the synthetic ice tablets, easily available everywhere; they can be rigid or soft. The advantage, as well as in terms of practicality, is in terms of food safety. Synthetic ice is a fermentation retarder. It is also bacteriostatic and fungicidal ".
4) Invitation for participants and weather
"I recommend providing an actual invitation, which adds style and personality to your picnic. It will be paper for an important occasion or if 'wow' is your goal or electronic.
The invitation must indicate that the date is subject to weather confirmation. Depending on the importance of the occasion, the invitation must be sent so that it will be delivered at least one week before, considering that the date will have been decided by mutual agreement between the participants.
If, on the other hand, it is a surprise, it is better to anticipate it to 15 days. Start monitoring the weather trend for the chosen day about 7 days in advance. If it is at risk, constantly monitor and be ready to move the date ", suggests Antonella.
The basket that represents the iconography par excellence of the picnic is the wicker one. There are many types, but the main difference is between "empty" baskets and baskets already equipped with everything: cutlery, glasses, saucers.
"I recommend that you equip yourself with some types of baskets: several basic, simple wicker baskets, which you will then customize. A red ribbon in the handle and a checked tablecloth made to measure for the basket, which covers it internally and emerges from the edges, are the ideal solutions. Very nice are also the baskets with the flaps on the sides of the handle, which do not let you see the inside. Next to these I recommend some large thermal bags; they are perhaps less elegant, but essential for preparations that require attention at temperatures ", says Antonella Guzzardi.
6) Foods and themes suitable for every season
"Generally speaking, let yourself be inspired: for the wonderful autumn picnics, for example, sweet and melancholy, use mushrooms, chestnuts, persimmons: they are delicious ingredients.
for summer season (when the thermometer exceeds 34-35 °) avoid delicate cheeses, creams, sauces, fresh fish and prefer super colored salads, cereals, cold pasta and everything that is 'dry'. Fruit is also essential, but it must be properly preserved ".
The writer, however, states that spring It is the most popular season for picnics and is perfect for fragrant menus: you can indulge yourself by decorating with edible flowers and wild herbs.
Better to use comfortable clothes, which does not mean little cared for, on the contrary: natural fabrics, cotton or linen will be perfect for letting the skin breathe. "Remember what will help protect you from the sun, wind or insects:
- Sun glasses,
- and layered clothing,
especially if you meet in the evening ".
8) Food preparation
Preparing food for a picnic must be very careful. To get started, you need to check that you have enough cool containers for transportation. Furthermore, the menu must be decided at least a week in advance. Here's what the types of 'preparations' which are well suited for a picnic according to Antonella Guzzardi:
- Desserts: leavened products, biscuits, plum cakes, sweet pies, tarts, crumble, Tarte Tatin;
- Aperitif - Dip - breadsticks, crackers;
- First courses: cold pasta or cereals - timbales;
- Seconds: skewers, meat loafs or vegetarians;
- Savory baked pies: quiche, flans, quiches, cakes, pies (closed);
- Snacks: Sandwiches, Bagels, croquettes, meatballs, rolls, dried fruit;
- Vegetable omelettes: pinzimonio, stuffed with rice or meat, sweet and sour, salads;
9) How to combine foods?
It is necessary to evaluate the intolerances of the participants and make sure that everyone has the opportunity to eat something sweet and salty. "Advise at least 3 savory preparations, something appetizing as an aperitif and snack, and a dessert. If you opt for a 'brunch' version, don't forget the omelette or the tortilla. If you plan to laze until late afternoon, think of small snacks to offer at different times ".
It is better to try not to repeat the main ingredients and it is advisable to think of a coherent menu. "Very nice is, for example, the vintage theme, with recipes inspired by the 50s or grandmother's, which are very nice for family picnics or with a vintage setting; on the contrary, a menu can focus on lightness and color , then black rice, cereals, vegetables, fruit, nuts, edible flowers, savory cakes, dips, light desserts, vegetables ".
10) Waste and respect for nature
The picnic must necessarily be zero impact. Therefore, one cannot leave without being equipped with bags for wet waste, plastic, glass, paper and, possibly, undifferentiated.
Advice for families with very young children
The one in family is the picnic par excellence: nature, green meadows, children, games, checked tablecloths and wicker baskets with many traditional products and dishes. What can be added to this simple yet already perfect mix?
"Meanwhile, as always, theoccasione. The picnic formula lends itself very well to children's birthday celebrations, and in fact this is a party formula for children that is very fashionable nowadays. Then, first the where: among the many possible solutions, safety is privileged. Well-defined parks or open areas where it is always possible not to lose sight of children will be preferred. Pay attention to those places - especially in the mountains - with waterways (rivers, lakes) or that could present a danger of falling. It will make it easier for you to have a place that has nearby toilets and that is shaded (in midsummer) and sheltered. Definitely strategic - but not essential - equipped playground areas ", says the author.
"After having drawn up the guest list, you will have to divide between adults, children, and infants. The menu will obviously have to follow simple tastes suitable for children. For this occasion I see very well the single portions rather than the whole dishes to be divided on the spot".
The types of recipes most suitable for children are: sweet and savory muffins, mini sandwiches, cold pasta or rice, meatballs, omelettes and leavened products (focaccia, plumcake ..). Better to prefer sweet ingredients that children particularly love (grapes, for example).
"The crushes with grapes it is, for example, a delicious and very rustic Tuscan dessert and, since it is usually prepared on the occasion of the harvest, it is perfect for the atmosphere of an autumn picnic. There briseè with peas, feta and mint it will be nice to look at, with a surface that will almost look like polka dots thanks to the peas; also there rice cake it has a gentle, delicate flavor, and will appeal to all age groups ", concludes Antonella.
Other recipes for the whole family include: pasta, ricotta and lemon croquettes, also good cold, potato tortilla. Then the skewers are excellent, practical and very quick to prepare. You can also make delicate sandwiches. For children, you can prepare the tortilla to put in the sandwich.18 PHOTOS
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