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What's Your Favorite Picnic Food?

As my family and I pack up the chow this morning for a local event, I'm wondering about favorite picnic foods for cool weather. We're bringing potato salad, chicken sandwiches, fruits, yogurt, etc.

Anything more creative?

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  1. Homemade cold fried chicken. Done right, the crust does not fall off.

    1 Reply

      Karaage, Japanese fried chicken, is damn good stuff. Squeeze a bit of lemon on top, and/or add garlic to the batter.

      Good call.

      I'd also dig grapes (no cleanup necessary), Carr's water crackers and brie.

    2. I agree with Indianriverfl on the cold fried chicken. The picnic foods of my childhood often include that, deviled eggs, and cucumber sandwiches. I am also fond of hard salami sandwiches on crusty baguette with a semi soft cheese and Stone ground mustard, Pommery if I am lucky.

      1. We just recently had a cool weather picnic and were very happy with smoked trout, marinated roasted vegetables and a thermos of potato soup. Apples and cheese for dessert.

        4 Replies
        1. re: cayjohan

          I'm always on the look-out for smoked trout. Do you buy it canned or are you able to get it fresh. I live inland CA and can't find it canned and only once in awhile fresh on an ocean pier.

          1. re: Gail

            I suppose I should have said lake trout. I get mine from a couple of places along Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota. One is Northern Waters Smokehaus in Duluth, MN ( http://www.northernwaterssmokehaus.co... ); the other is Russ Kendall's Smokehaus in Knife River north of Duluth. Great (!!!) fish at both places. Both ship. Russ Kendall's doesn't have a website, but here's a photo from their Facebook page.

            1. re: Gail

              trader joe's has smoked trout in a can. it also has the whole split smoked trout near the smoked salmon.
              whole foods has smoked trout in their refrigerated case near the fish area.

              1. re: alkapal

                Thank you so much! I'll check Joe's. Last time I checked WF, they didn't have it. Perhaps, they were just out.
                I had a most delicious salad at Bouchon (Yountville, CA) with smoked trout, greens and pieces of potato with a citrus/oil dressing. Been looking for smoked trout ever since.

          2. I'm in the fried chicken camp too...growing up, my mom made it along with sandwiches, potato salad, macaroni salad w/tuna fish in it (I love this) some sort of fruit salad and sometimes deviled eggs.

            1. We just had a "picnic" on our new screen porch last week with friends: some country pate, a couple of wedges of strong cheese, crusty bread, a selection of olives and and a caramelized ginger and pear tart.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodieX2

                Great menu! I love country pates for fall picnics. We took at on one outing where we were able to bring some baked potatoes fresh out the the oven. The potatoes, smeared with mustard and topped with slabs of pate were great eaten out of hand like an open-faced sandwich. Cornichons to go with.

              2. I like sandwiches already made(pan bagnat), salads in individual portions ( sesame noodles, panzanella or roasted root veg)and cookie/square/chocolate. My husband likes to bring everything individually, mustard/mayo, cheeses, meat, bread, knives, cutting boards, fruits/veg, plates, cutlery.....he lays everything out and eats for hours. I have learned to pick my battles...

                1. In the fall we love to bring a big thermos of chili along with cheesy biscuits or fritos.

                  Spanish tortilla, olives, crusty bread and room temp grilled veggies with a romesco sauce is also great. A nice rioja to go with it.

                  1. I love cold fried chicken but alas, that has never been customary in our picnic baskets.

                    This time of year, I fall back on liverwurst sandwiches on crusty bread, served with fresh tomato wedges with S&P, and cut up fall fruit, apples and pears. If it is a chilly day, then tomato soup in a thermos.

                    1. Pork pie is my ultimate picnic food. The rich, hard crust; the moist pork filling; an egg if you want to get fancy. It takes a bit of work to get the crust right so if we're feeling lazy we might just turn the pork and egg into Scotch eggs which are incredibly easy.

                      1. Baked beans or Deviled eggs - but I guess if it is a cold weather picnic, the beans win out.

                        1. No matter the weather, my favorite picnic foods are:
                          Tuna salad sandwich with lettuce on soft whole wheat.
                          Cubes of sharp cheddar.
                          Crunchy potato chips.
                          Iced tea.

                          Well, that's not creative, is it?
                          I'll try again...
                          Home baked pita chips, and carrot sticks with hummus.
                          Garbanzo bean salad with big chunks of feta on top.
                          Stuffed grape leaves with lots of lemon wedges.
                          Mint iced tea.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kitchengardengal

                            I'd eat either of your two picnic menus!

                            Last picnic was with the boyfriend a few weeks ago. We picked up a pizza and bittle of coke and ate looking out over the Veranzzano bridge.

                            Past picnics with family were simple. We'd pick up cartons f cttage cheese and bags of chips and drinks at the market, or else peanut butter and jelly or cheese sandwiches packed at home. With the must -have chips, cookies and drinks. Any picnic is a good picnic!

                          2. Not very creative but my definite picnic favourite is bacon and egg pie.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Billy33

                              I've been trying to get my hands on a good NZ bacon and egg pie recipe. Do you have any recommendations? (Preferably a volumetric recipe, rather than one which relies on weights for the dry ingredients!)

                            2. In Decatur IL, in the '50s, there was a tamale man who pedalled a three-wheel device with an insulated box in front. Decatur is not a large city, but this guy was everywhere.

                              So one day we'd scheduled a family picnic - the three of us, Mom, and her parents - for Decatur's Lakeview park, and had packed the usual sandwiches, potato salad and cold fruit punch. When we got there, though, the sky was overcast and spitting rain off and on, the wind was blowing off the lake, the temperature had dropped, and we had the park completely to ourselves. We huddled behind the thick brick piers of a pavilion and nibbled on sandwiches, sipped fruit punch and tried to have fun … and then we heard a bicycle bell, and there, down in the parking lot, was the tamale man! Grandpa said, "I'll be right back!" and ran down the hill, coming back in a few minutes with a sack full of tamales and a wad of paper napkins. I seem to recall having four of those delicious HOT things, maybe more - I don't know if Grandpa had bought him out, but there were plenty, and about the time we'd had our fill the sun came out and the wind died down.

                              As for any cool-weather picnicking suggestions, lacking a magic tamale man I think the thermos of soup is an awfully good idea, and the kind of salads and sandwiches that can be served at something approximating room temperature. If it's in a place that has fireplaces (as any decent park used to), then of course hot dogs and sticks are de rigeur …

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Will Owen

                                great story, as usual, will owen. the thermos of hot soup is a great idea.

                                and dogs over a fire are the best -- they get a little burnt and their skin gets snappy! then…s'mores!

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  Were these Mexican tamales or Chicago tamales? For Chicago Public School alumni of a certain age, memories of piping hot cornmeal tamales with ground beef conjure some of the better reminiscences of school lunch.