Packing the Perfect Picnic

      Marnie Hanel is a founding member of The Portland Picnic she knows what it takes to put together the perfect picnic. She stopped by our studio today to share her expert tips:

      Every month my friends and I get together in a different Portland park to picnic. We call our picnic club the Portland Picnic Society, and through our experience we've become experts on outdoor dining. The most important thing to remember is that a picnic should be a stylish potluck. (i.e. Don't be a hero and try to bring the whole meal!) For our picnic this week, I've volunteered to bring appetizers, and all of the necessary supplies. You wouldn't believe picnic supplies for six could fit in this tiny basket, but they can! Here's the Portland Picnic Society's Dandy Dozen.

      The Portland Picnic Society's Dandy Dozen

      1. Blanket: Think washable! Overlap several blankets to create a larger space.
      2. Real plates: Mix-and-match patterns of dishwasher-friendly melamine plates, and bring an extra for drop-in guests.
      3. Picnic-proof glassware: We prefer stackable, unbreakable sets.
      4. Silverware: Pick up inexpensive metal flatware, or purchase a multi-use disposable bamboo set, which will certainly last the season. Write conversation starters or fortunes on the handles for an impromptu party game!
      5. Napkins: Keep it easy with paper. or if you choose cloth, wrap them in your picnic blanket at the end of the evening and throw the whole bundle in the washer when you get home.
      6. Bar board and knife: Everyone thinks that dishes need to arrive picnic-ready, but we know that fresh herbs and garnishes can kick up any dish on site. (Just look at the gorgeous deviled eggs Andrea Slonecker brought on AMNW on Monday!)
      7. Candles: After sunset, add ambiance and ward off bugs with citronella candles.
      8. Games: Scan your home collection for games that can still be played be if you misplace a couple pieces in the grass.
      9. A Tiffin Tin of Appetizers: This lunchbox straight from Bombay is a stylish container equally suited to packing and carrying picnic fare. It's also perfect for packing up leftovers.
      10. Wine Opener: You'll want this for obvious reasons! But be sure to check if alcohol is permitted. At many Portland events, i.e. zoo concerts, wine and beer must be purchased on site.
      11. Portland Sangria: You can also chuck the opener entirely and go for easy, outdoor-friendly bagged or boxed wine.
      12. Three Bags: The unglamorous, but very necessary final items in your picnic basket are bags for recycling, compost/trash, and a final bag for packing up your dirty dishes before putting them back into the basket.