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book club southern-ish picnic

It's my turn for book club, and I have the challenge of bringing food that can be served cold or at room temperature. In addition, it all has to be cooked in the 2 nights prior to the meeting, and most of it has to be kept in a cooler (there will be room in the fridge to refrigerate 1 dish).

The book is by Fannie Flagg, so I was going to do southern-inspired picnic food. I'd like to keep it a mostly vegetarian meal, with one dish being meat. I was thinking the following:

black eyed pea salad
spinach salad with sweet potatoes and pecan
cold fried chicken
(the two salads are inspired by chow recipes)

I need something to round it out. I was thinking a cream cheese-based dip? Not necessarily southern, but that's ok. I'm not a big fan of cream cheese, but I was thinking artichoke and cream cheese...or peach chutney and cream cheese?

What about dessert? Icebox cake? Any ideas are appreciated!

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  1. For the southern theme, I'd think pimento cheese would be an obvious choice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jeri L

      or cream cheese with hot pepper jelly.

      1. re: LaLa

        Either of those would be perfect!

    2. How about deviled eggs?

      1. I think Jeri L and Mrs.Cheese are on the money but for dessert ice box cakes are messy to serve, I would do a bar cookie of some sort maybe pecan squares, or gooey butter cakes in any flavor. Sounds like fun good luck Juli

        1. Deviled eggs were my first thought. Potato salad would be good. If you want to do a cream cheese spread go with pepper jelly rather than chutney. Something pickled is always good.

          Since you have to cook 2 days prior, perhaps a pound cake or cookies for dessert.

          1. Maybe pecan or lemon tassies for dessert.