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Volume IV
January 31, 2014

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Use Winter To Plan For Summer

By Alice Osborne

What's one thing we can do to get us through the blahs and doldrums of our bleak and long winter? Spend time pondering and planning for what we love to do in the summer!

For instance, we love to eat out-of-doors-picnics are a favorite pastime at our house. So I've been looking for fun new picnic-worthy recipes to try this summer (which BTW, DVO has 12 awesome recipes in their cookbook, PICNIC—which is available right now for $.99!). I've also been thinking about ways to make our picnicking easier and more visually pleasing.

We consistently find that most parks and picnic sites do come with picnic tables, but they are usually spread far apart from one another. What I wish for all the time is two tables for our picnic—one where we can sit to eat, and one for setting out our picnic buffet.

While some picnic sites do have movable tables that we can heft over to where we're sitting, most sites today have anchored tables. When that's the case, we've had to try to arrange our picnic foods at the end of our table and down the middle (meaning we sit crowded) or place it atop the cooler we toted in.

And have you noticed the anchored grills aren't all that close to the anchored tables in most parks and picnic sites? So then we also need to provide table-top space to the grilling mechanics of the meal.

Well, you're getting the picture. So back to taking some time this winter to think about these cramped table issues and see if there isn't a better way to execute our picnics...I came up with a couple ideas.

Taking my cues from a decorating trend that trailer-traveling folks are using today, I purchased a wooden vintage ironing board! This becomes a fold-up, movable buffet table that can be set up next to our picnic table to hold all the food.

With a pretty cloth draped over the top (I'll match the cloth we use at the table), voila, problem solved! And in a visually pleasing, efficient way. Now I'll admit, this might not work for you if you drive a very small car, but it works for us. But you get the idea; if the above has bugged you too, think about how you can improve the situation in a way that will work for you.

Plus, if I wanted, I could even use the board as a jazzy sofa table when not needing it for picnic duty. Clever, don't you think?

The next idea to create an easier picnic serving process that came to me: Get a plastic tub with handles that can serve dual duty—it can hold all the paper and non-food goods and then after arriving at our site, can hold that bag of ice (that was in the cooler keeping the food cold) plus all the drinks. We'll set this at the end of the ironing board buffet, sort of underneath it. Now we won't need to sit the drinks at the end of the picnic table, or keep opening and closing the cooler to get them, like we've always done in the past.

Well, before we know it, summer will be here, along with all its fun activities. So start today—what are some summer-oriented things you can give your attention to now? I promise, this is a fun way to get through the winter!


Alice Osborne
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2006

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