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Picnic - Menu

Preparation    - Menu     - Layout     - Cleaning

Welcome to the most exciting section on the preparation for your party. Sure, as you look at the different options under preparation you see that terrible choice called 'cleaning'. But let's not think about that right now. Instead, why don't we just have some fun and let our imaginations run wild.

The first decision you will need to make is whether you will be doing your own food preparation or using the services of a caterer. There is no right answer. We will tell you that once they were organized, many people have actually admitted that they enjoyed preparing the food. If that is your desire, read on. If you decide to follow the caterer route, it might still be a good idea to read the rest of this section to help prepare for the questions they will be asking you in order to help make your event memorable.

The next decision to be made concerns who will be preparing the food at a non-catered event. The beauty of a picnic is that people almost desire to bring along their favorite dish. This, of course, makes your job much easier. Your goal is to ensure that there is a variety of dishes to avoid the embarrassment of serving five varieties of macaroni salad. As the host, it is you unique responsibility and opportunity to provide the main course.

However, if you decide to go it alone, it's a good idea to provide your guests with a wide variety of choices. Some hot, some cold. Some dry, some with sauces. Add a few vegetables, cheeses a couple of dips and maybe even some fruit and voila, you have a menu. Do you have a special recipe that is a little bit out of the ordinary? Add it to your menu. It's always a good idea to have a few old stand-bys such as chips and potato salad for those with a less exotic palate. A typical menu we've seen included: a garden salad with a variety of dressings, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, a variety of potato and tortilla chips with a couple of dip choices, a vegetable tray and a selection of olives and pickles.

Another idea to consider is having a few items on your menu that can be prepared in advance and reheated or served at room temperature or chilled so that you are not rushing to prepare the food when you would rather be relaxing and thinking of the fun you will be having.

After covering the variety of choices, it is now time to look at quantity. Always prepare more than you think you'll need. It may seem like a waste of money at first, but remember, you get to eat the leftovers. Or, as the host, you will be able to offer your guests a little going home gift.

Now settle in and let your imagination run wild.

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