How to Organize a pot luck Picnic or a Large Picnic - Recipesupermart

How to Organize a pot luck Picnic or a Large Picnic

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A pot-luck picnic is an economical way to get together with friends and family or to do something for a business or school event. This type of event does not have to cost much money and several people can work on it together to make less individual work. You may choose to throw an organized pot-luck picnic or allow everyone to bring whatever they choose. The better organized you are, the less likely it will be that three people show up with the same thing.
You have to think outside the picnic basket. A bag of chips or some potato salad from the deli will never make a good party, but with a little bit of effort you can create something from a family or favourite recipe that’s both simple and spectacular.
There are few rituals of summer that convey a sense of community like a pot-luck picnic. Pot-luck is a lesson in culinary cooperation, with aspects of the meal open to the interpretation of everyone invited. While the heart of the picnic is often the grill, guests fill the remainder of the menu with their favourite summer sides, salads and desserts.

Still, even a lazy summer picnic has pitfalls. According to some notable chefs, too many people rely on traditional dishes when they should aspire to variety. They say a pot-luck picnic should be filled with original food, and little or nothing from a store. While a bag of chips or store-bought salsa may fit the basic theme, a pot-luck meal should be a celebration of the tastes and heritage of the guests—not an example of what’s available at the grocery store.

The Proof Isn’t Always in the Potato Salad

The very foundation of pot-luck is variety. Following the well-worn path of some unwritten pot luck play book is not a recipe for success.

“So many people are making the same old things, and not even trying to add a twist to even those dishes,” said celebrity chef Wade Williams, owner of Picnic Inc., a Los Angeles-based picnic catering service. “And the result is a spread that’s unimaginative and uninspiring to everyone but the ants.”

Even worse, if they’re not making it, they’re buying it.

“I just feel that you can’t go to a store to get a potato salad or a macaroni salad that you can make on your own,” said executive chef of Lexington Social House in Hollywood, California. “They all have that metallic vinegar taste to it because most stores use a lot of vinegar, and it’s most likely been sitting in it for so long so that’s the only flavour you’re getting.”

You may find that going fresh and adding even the slightest twist to a classic summer recipe is even easier than standing in the deli line on a weekend.

“You have to think outside the picnic basket, “A bag of chips or some potato salad from the deli will never make a good party. But with a little bit of effort, you can create something from a family or favourite recipe that’s both simple and spectacular.”

More often than not, inspiration is right underneath your nose, and the personal twist you add to a recipe is what will separate you and your offering from the rest.

“As far as picnics go, I always like to bring really good food, but I’m also a traditionalist,” says a Master Chef. “Salsa is a great addition, but I like to roast my own tomatoes and make a home-made version, and if I have the time I’ll even make my own chips.”

You do need to show a little restraint. On the other side of the preparation spectrum is that would-be chef who intends to make a pot-luck picnic his culinary coming out party. Wade Williams said you have to remember the picnic food should be simple and fun.

“You have those people that try to overachieve with their food goals,” he said. “It’s great if you want to expand your cooking repertoire, but don’t try to duplicate a recipe the first time and bring it to a pot-luck. It will only lead to frustration and a ride home with leftovers you don’t even want.”

Proper Planning

Another common misstep is not taking into account the way a pot-luck offering will handle the transition from an air conditioned kitchen to a table in the hot summer sun.

Those ‘classic’ go-to picnic side dishes can be pretty volatile if they’re left in the sun too long, , People figure they can keep these cold in mini-coolers, which on a hot day doesn’t always work. Soon you have people gobbling up these unhealthy dishes before they spoil in the afternoon sun.”

If you’re dead set on salad, make something that does not rely on sour cream and mayonnaise. Think fresh, and you may be surprised at how easy a dish can be in all facets from prep to transport.

One of the favourite summertime salads is a panzanella salad, which is a traditional Italian tomato and bread salad. “Get some good, ripe tomatoes, use a good olive oil, a good vinegar, chop up a day-old piece of bread into large croutons and mix them together. Not only is it inexpensive, easy to make, and easy to transport, you can even mix it right there at the picnic. It’s a salad that gets better as it sits.”

Getting on the Grill

Common convention holds that you don’t approach the actual grill unless you have an empty and waiting bun for a hot dog or hamburger on your plate, but the grill does not have to be off limits for pot-luck food.

“When I think barbecue picnic, I’m thinking pork ribs, but you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” she said. “Do a dry rub with cumin, coriander, garlic, chili powder, and maybe a little bit of lemon zest or lime zest to give it a little kick, let it sit overnight, marinate, then maybe add some maple sugar to give it some sweetness. (At the pot-luck) just walk up and say, ‘These are ready to go, want to cook them?’ “

1. Make a list of people to invite to the event. Send invitations, post fliers around town, advertise it within your organization or announce it in a community newsletter four weeks in advance, with the event name, date and time, and location; add your name and phone number for people to get back to you within one week of the event. Explain on the invitations and announcements that you are looking for people to bring at least one dish, as well as another necessary item such a napkins or tablecloths. Mention that you will need volunteers for barbecuing, trash pickup after the event, serving or anything else required. Create a volunteer list.

2. Record what each person will bring as she calls to tell you she will attend. Have one person bring hot dogs and another rolls. Request brownies from one family and cookies from another. Ask that someone else bring beverages and ask the next person who calls to bring a salad. Have more than one food per category available, such as two or three meats, a few different salads, and four or five types of vegetables to ensure that everyone will have plenty of food to choose from. Request that each person responding also brings another item, such as trash bags or paper plates.

3.  Look over who is bringing what the day after the respond by date. Make a list of necessary items that still need to be obtained, food and otherwise. Call people who have responded and whom you believe might be able to help a little more, to see if they might be able to bring another item. Mark these items off your list and create a shopping list of the items that are still left. Pay for these items with funds set aside for the event, if available.
Purchase the food items that are left on the list first, then buy other items such as plastic silverware and paper bowls. Pick up plastic wrap, as well, so that leftover foods are able to be wrapped.

o4. Have a plan for leftovers as many people will not bring these items back home with them. Find out if you will be able to donate to food cupboards or soup kitchens ahead of time, or if there are any families in the area who will be able to use the leftovers. Plan to save leftover paper and plastic items for the next event or donate them to a community organization, such as a senior centre

Here’s a recipe for a pot luck outing…


Hearts of 3 bunches of celery with the leaves left whole and the stalks cut on the bias

2 lbs. English peas, shelled and left raw

4 oz. Grana Padano or other hard aged cheese, crumbled into thin bite sized pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Red wine vinaigrette:

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup pure olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together.

Toss the celery hearts, English peas, grana, salt and pepper. Add mixed dressing when the salad is ready to serve.


                                               How to Organize a Large Picnic

Spend the summer with your family and friends at a large picnic. Enjoy the summer sun in the company of those you enjoy. Eat, play games and have a good time. You can invite a lot of people if you take the time to organize your picnic. Follow these tips to organize a large picnic.

1 Delegate the tasks to guests who will attend the picnic. Get the help of everyone who will be there. Each family can take care of something so the picnic is not the responsibility of one person.

2 Plan ahead. Know who’s coming. Find out how many families will attend, what you’ll be eating, when you’ll get together, where you’ll meet and how you’ll have fun.

3 Make a list of everything you need. Create a menu which will help you decide what to buy and how much to buy.

4 Decide whether you want hot food like barbeque or cold cuts. Let everyone know what you have decided. Ask about food allergies. Divide your list into items each family can bring.

5 Have a pot-luck picnic or get one group of people to bring each item. Delegate a group to bring the meat, another can bring the salads or vegetables. Get someone to bring the desserts, another to bring the snacks. Everyone can bring their own drinks.

6 Ask one or two families to buy plastic utensils and paper napkins. You might ask each family to bring chairs, a table cloth and a blanket.

7 Plan activities to keep people busy throughout the day. Choose some family activities and activities for the children. You can plan games and play group sports. Have a craft table set up for the kids.

8 Create a picnic eating area. Keep the food in coolers. Set up picnic tables or picnic blankets and place the coolers nearby. You can keep chips and cut up vegetables on the tables. Pick a time to serve the rest of the food so that everyone can dine together

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