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4th of July Picnic
Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:38 pmForum Host
Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate that freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, parades, fireworks, and family gatherings. So - let's celebrate our country's fight for freedom!
Did You Know?
The word "picnic" comes from the French word "pique-nique" meaning "a fashionable social entertainment" in which each guest brings a contribution to the feast. In other words, pique-nique was a fancy way of saying "potluck."
The Fourth of July has become synonymous with the barbecue, outdoor cooking, and summer fun. While variations are as numerous, there are still favorite dishes and foods which immediately come to mind when one thinks of 4th of July or Independence Day. Hamburgers, fried chicken, fried turkey,potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, and sweet tea.
Take advantage of the weather and fire up the grill on the Fourth of July. There is something compelling about the smell of food being cooked over a charcoal pit, open flame or barbecue.
How about fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade or sweet tea, and apple pie? What do you bring to a picnic? What's your favorite dish at the picnic?
The hard part of all this outdoor dining, besides the no-see-ums, is all that organizing. Every time you turn around you’re trying to figure out what to pack, what to bring, what you might need.
In case you haven’t seen a no-see-um (lucky you!), then I’ll update you and tell you they are some pesky, biting, teeny-tiny critters here in the South. Down here, we put on some Skin-So-Soft, ignore them and get on with outdoor dining. It is just too much fun to miss out.
_____ Do chairs or blankets work best?
_____ Are there any electrical outlets?
_____ Will you need extension cords to get power to a table?
_____ Are there enough picnic tables? Do you need to bring more?
_____ How about restroom facilities? Do you need to bring soap or paper?
_____ Is there a grill on hand?
_____ If you are there after dark, are there any lights?
_____ List the tasks you need to delegate. Need someone to man the grill, pick up ice, start some games, and help with clean-up? Make a list and delegate.
_____ Designate a meal time- place appetizers or snacks out to hold people off from digging in the picnic foods before the meal is really ready.
Cooking and Dining
_____ Grilling? Do you need gas and charcoal?
_____ Grilling tools
_____ Fire starter or matches
_____ Seasonings or sauces for meat
_____ Pot holders
_____ Cooking utensils
_____ Serving utensils
_____ Insulated container for beverages
_____ Sharp knife and small cutting board
_____ Salt and pepper
_____ Sugar or sweetener packets
_____ Condiments- the restaurant-size packets are perfect
_____ Apron- sometimes picnic food can spill in transportation or barbecuing can be messy
_____ Extra tables
_____ Picnic blankets
_____ Plastic sheet for under blanket in case the ground is damp
_____ Beach umbrella or shade awning
_____ Beach towels- which can make a make-shift pillow or cover you up from too much sun or wind
_____ Playing cards
_____ Wiffle ball or other ball games
_____ Camera to record all the fun
_____ Books and/or magazines
_____ Taking a pet? Remember their supplies.
_____ Cell phone
_____ Bug spray
_____ Sun block
_____ First aid kit
_____ Sunglasses and hat
_____ Food safety: keep cold foods below 45°F and hot foods above 140°F.
_____ Paper towels or towels
_____ Trash bags
_____ Disinfecting wet wipes
_____ Toilet tissue
There is nothing more American than the picnic!
Picnics can take on many forms, such as the community picnic, friends and neighbors, tailgate parties, or ball games. There is also one sure thing at every picnic-lots of good food.
The important point is to have safe and healthy food, not food that can cause food borne illness. Always prepare and store food properly.
As always, wash hands and work areas before preparing food.
Plan your menu with an eye to safe food handling. Cook foods in plenty of time to thoroughly chill them in shallow containers in the refrigerator.
Have enough coolers with ice or frozen gel packs in which to store the perishable foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and salads. You want to keep the food at 40 degrees F. Pack foods right from the refrigerator into the coolers.
Don't put the cooler in the car trunk; Carry it inside an air-conditioned car. At picnics, keep the cooler in the shade and keep the lid closed. Replenish the ice if it melts.
Use a separate cooler for drinks so the one containing the food won't constantly be opened and closed.
Find out if there's a source of safe drinking water at your destination. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning; or pack clean, wet, disposable cloths or moist towelettes and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces. Cross-contamination during preparation, grilling, and serving food is a prime cause of food borne illness.
Pack raw meats, poultry, or seafood on the bottom of the cooler. This will reduce the risk of them dripping on other foods. Pack coolers until they are full. A full cooler will stay cold longer than one that is partially full.
If you plan on getting takeout foods such as fried chicken, Eat them within an hour of pick up.
Do not partially grill extra meat or poultry to use later. Once you begin, cook until completely done to assure bacteria are destroyed. Grill raw poultry until the juices run clear and there is no pink. Hamburger should not be pink in the center.
When taking food off the grill, Don't put the cooked items on the same platter which held the raw meat unless you have washed the platter in between uses.
Two Hour Rule. Don't leave perishable food un-refrigerated for more than two hours. Put perishable foods back in the cooler or refrigerator as soon as you finish eating. Don't leave them out while you go for a swim or a hike, and don't leave them out all afternoon to nibble on.
Chances are, picnic leftovers have been sitting out for more than an hour or two. Discard these leftovers. Cold food that were kept in a cooler that still has ice may be safe. If the ice has melted, the food should be discarded.
Menu Making Tips
It’s easier to pack foods that need to stay on ice that it is to keep them hot at a picnic.
Make sure you have a way to keep them hot or cold as you plan your menu.
Go for finger foods. They are much easier to eat while holding a plate.
Remember to plan on lots of beverages and always pack water
Consider a potluck. It makes life easy!
Here's a little tip I found helpful:
Laundry baskets are great for transporting items. Line a laundry basket with a beach towel. Then wrap each casserole or Crock-Pot in another beach towel and nestle into the baskets. The towels provide insulation to keep things warm, protection from the items banging against each other and if something sloshes out of the dish, it won’t get all over the car. Just throw the towels in the wash later.
Information from what'scookingamerica
Here are just a few recipes for a 4th of July picnic:
Slow Cooker 4th of July Chuck Roast Barbecue Sandwiches
4th of July Fried Chicken
4th of July Bean Casserole
4th of July Grilled Salmon *or Chicken!*
Patriotic 4th of July Cupcakes
4th of July No Bake Cheesecake
4th of July Cake
4th of July Trifle
Just make sure to have fun! What do you do on the 4th? Where do you go? What do you bring to a picnic? What's your favorite dish at the picnic? Please do tell!
Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:15 amSemi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
Every year my sister and her household (3 kids and husband), my mom and younger siblings, and my wife and I go to a local July 3rd celebration. We always eat dinner before but take a dessert picnic for the fireworks display.
For the kiddos we make little strawberry shortcake sandwiches (using white bread, strawberries, whipped cream). That's usually a big hit.
For the adults we usually take a couple pies and some of the left over whipped cream.
Nothing crazy but it's our tradition. I can't wait for this year's!
Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:58 pmForum Host
Hitomatomustard! That sounds like a great tradition and a wonderful way to spend time with family. Love the idea of bringing picnic desserts!
Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:36 amForum Host
Shaorn, what a great job you did with this thread! I loved reading about all the traditions and found your checklist very handy. Ill keep that for future reference.
While we dont celebrate 4th of July, picnics are also very common in German culture. Every summer the public parks turn into picnic areas with people bbqing there, etc.
When I was still in school, Id meet up with my friends in one of the city's parks and everybody would bring something nice to eat. I usually brought pasta salad or muffins. It was always a fun time!
Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:13 amForum Host
Meeting with friends in the park sounds like a fun way to spend some of the summer! And bringing food is even more fun!
So what did you all make or eat for 4th of July? Did you go to a picnic, fireworks? Were there food trucks, cotton candy, hot dogs, slushys???
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