I like picnics. We even registered for a picnic basket for our wedding (I was really excited to see that someone got it for us when I was stalking my registry). But I’m not so big on bugs, and I’m still working on finding the perfect picnic blanket (it’s harder than you know – I’m looking for the classic red and white picnic blanket with water-resistant/proofing on one side in case anybody’s interested). And Brandon has an all-out war on mosquitoes – he likes to put the lit citronella candle on the wooden deck so they stay away from his legs. So I guess you could say that we’re more of a “picnic in theory” sort of a couple.
Why am I so big on picnics? When I was little, Mom would pack up a picnic basket and we’d have picnics on the driveway. They weren’t super elaborate (from what I can remember), but it was just a really cool thing to do.
So that brings us to last Saturday, which also happened to be the Kentucky Derby. Back in high school, my family actually went to the Derby, and we did it big – hats included. Since then, it’s been kind of a thing to celebrate the Derby in some way. On this particular Saturday, I was planning on doing the landscaping for the summer (more on that in another post), so I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time or inclination to do up some classic Southern food, but I still wanted a Southern feel.
Enter the indoor picnic idea! Seriously, what is more Southern than a picnic? Ours required a TV so we could watch the pre-race coverage, hence the indoor part. Since it was Friday afternoon when the inspiration struck, I came up with a short list of quick and easy food that I could present instead of make.
- Fried Chicken (gotta love Royal Farms – I’d send Brandon out to get this right before our picnic started)
- Pasta Salad
- Potato Salad
- Cheese (what kind of an event is it if there isn’t cheese involved?)
Simple, low-stress, super easy food. On my way home on Friday, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up everything except for the fried chicken. If I was going to be super authentic, I probably should have stopped for the chicken too, since real picnics don’t have hot fried chicken (side note – the fried chicken was good hot, but it was amazing cold the next day as leftovers).
The Derby’s gate time was sometime around 6:30 on Saturday, and I figured if we sat down sometime around 5:30, we’d have enough time to watch the pre-race coverage. So I sent Brandon out to get the chicken, and I ran down to the basement to my tablecloth stash. I had a green tablecloth with white polka dots – perfect for an indoor picnic.
Our puppies aren’t usually too interested in people food (HA!), but I thought it would be better to lay the tablecloth over the coffee table than trying to eat on the ground. I also wasn’t into the whole ironing thing, so we just ignored the wrinkles.
While Brandon was gone, I cut up the cheese into cubes and sliced the watermelon and strawberries (they also got a quick sprinkle of sugar, because I live on the edge like that). Then it was time for presentation – just some simple white square bowls and plates, and our everyday white plates for us. And yes, I have special lemonade glasses. I’m ridiculous and only use them for lemonade. Once the fried chicken showed up, that also got plated and added to our picnic table.
Yum! I have to say, I was really impressed with how easy this was to throw together, and how pulled together it looked without a lot of effort (I have spreadsheets for Thanksgiving, so anything that takes less time or coordination than that is kind of a surprise to me – I have to work on entertaining more often).
What did you do for the Derby? Does anyone else have indoor picnics? Or an extreme hatred of mosquitoes?