The Picturesque Picnic. A picnic just isn't a picnic without a charming cloth to spread out on the ground. A colorful, inexpensive tablecloth, sheet or blanket will make your picnic a delight to the senses, not to mention more comfortable, as you enjoy your cloth's wonderful ability to keep dirt and bugs off of you and out of the food. Instead of dragging along that boring old paper ware on your picnic, pick up a set of nice-looking, reusable plastic plates and cups. If you don't have a wicker picnic basket, let the kids decorate a large, sturdy box with contact paper and markers. Keep your tablecloth and special plates in your basket so you'll be ready to picnic whenever the sunshine and green grass call to you.
Be Picnic-Equipped. One of the most indispensable gadgets to bring along on a picnic is a deluxe pocketknife. In addition to a knife blade, it should have scissors, a corkscrew and a can opener. When armed with one of these, you can handle any food or drink that needs slicing, peeling, trimming or prying open. If you do somehow find yourself stranded in the great outdoors with a lovely chunk of Cheddar and no knife to cut it with, just whip out your wallet: any plastic card can double as an impromptu cheese knife! For convenient cleanup of hands and faces, bring baby wipes or dampen several paper towels and put them in a resealable plastic bag. You'll also be glad you remembered a couple of extra plastic bags for garbage and dirty dishes (just don't get them mixed up!).
Perfect Picnic Food. Choose foods that don't require many utensils for serving or eating once you're settled onto your picnic blanket. Ideally, you should be able to eat most picnic foods with your hands, although we do advocate grabbing a few forks to enjoy your favorite salad. There is certainly something very charming about a blanket holding a cheese knife and a tiny cutting board arranged with wedges of brie and gorgonzola. For all the other food, though, try to do most of the necessary slicing at home -- it's much easier to do in your kitchen (or to have the deli do it) than to attempt slicing meat, cheese, bread and watermelon for 6 people using a pocketknife. Desserts are best when already in individual portions, like cookies, brownies and cupcakes.