The 8 Foods You Shouldn't Bring on a Picnic

Consider this PSA from Cooking Channel before packing your baskets and blankets in plaid.

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Picnic-Perfect ... Or Not?

There are some foods that work well for picnics (you know, the classics: sandwiches, potato salads, lemonades, the rest of this menu), and then there are those that … don’t. Lest you attract all the ants marching through your local park (or the disgruntled looks of neighbors), avoid bringing the following foods on your next on-the-go meal: 

Things That Melt

We’re talking ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes, ice sculptures, ice luges and the like. The one exception here is bottles that have been partially filled with the beverage of your choice and frozen – they’ll keep your food cold en route and will eventually become drinkable. 

Things That Require a Knife

Just try cutting bone-in pork chops on that paper or melamine plate you're balancing on your lap and you'll understand why it's a bad idea. Pretty much any large-form meat or poultry (whole steaks, roasted chickens) is a no-go. Slice meats beforehand or, better yet, choose a dish that's hand-held.

Things That Smell

Peel-and-eat shrimp, steamed lobsters and paella are a few of the foods you should avoid toting in your basket. Washed-rind cheeses (if eaten promptly) and already-peeled cocktail shrimp are the stinky-but-safe exceptions to this rule. 

Things That Fall Apart

Tacos are not as picnic-friendly as they might seem. If you’re trying to make a Mexican feast happen, burritos would probably be a better option. Other offenders? Mile-high sandwiches and super-crumbly baked goods.

Things That Will Get Soggy

Some dishes are meant to be prepared in advance, with ingredients and flavors that meld harmoniously as time goes on. Others should be eaten within 5 minutes of preparation. No one likes a solidified grilled cheese, soggy sandwich bread or a salad wilting under the weight of a creamy dressing. Instead, go for cold sandwiches and kale salads (which stand up better to dressing) or wait until you're ready to eat to apply your condiments.

Things That Spill

Soup is not meant to be eaten while sitting cross-legged on the grass or balancing on a nature-made seat. If you need to consume liquid vegetables, go for a green smoothie (and use a straw).

Things That Require Fire

You won't be able to flambe your way out of a public-park violation, so avoid desserts like bananas Foster and even s'mores. Don't confuse camping (fire = good, necessary) with picnicking, where you're not likely to permissibly build an open flame.

Things That Squish in Transit

Before you arrive at your alfresco destination, your food will be jostled, tossed and bumped by the trains, planes and automobiles in which you ride to get there. Bananas and delicate curd-based treats like lemon bars will be smashed and bruised well before dessert. You're better off with apples, cookies and hand pies for this round.

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