When the weather starts getting warm, my family immediately starts planning trips to the beach, playdates at the zoo and picnics at the park. Since tomorrow is expected to be beautiful – and it’s Fun Day Friday – it is going to be a perfect day to have a cookout.
Cooking and eating dinner at the park is one of The Goose’s absolute favorite things to do. And I love it, too. It’s cheap, there is very little clean-up, and it is easy – especially since I keep a picnic basket stocked with all of the cookout items we’ll need (other than the food, of course)! I just grab the bag, throw it in the car and head to the park.
Here is our cookout checklist:
Plastic table cloth
Foil (if you are using a community grill at the park you’ll want to line the grates)
Small foil pan to hold the charcoal (this makes it easier to dispose of them once they’ve cooled)
Small bottle of water to cool down the hot coals if they’re not cooled when you’re ready to leave
Containers or sandwich bags to bring home the leftover food
When it comes to food, we usually keep it pretty simple, sticking to hot dogs and potato chips. (Sometimes we bring potato or macaroni salad, but I usually stick to non-perishable foods, especially when it’s really hot out). As we are heading out the door, I usually grab the ketchup, mustard, onions and relish from the refrigerator and toss them in our cooler bag, along with the hot dogs and our beverages. (We almost always bring Hawaiian Punch with us – it’s sort of become our tradition).
One thing to remember if you’re planning a cookout at the park is to always restock your picnic basket as soon as you get home. That way you’ll never get to the park to find that you’ve run out of napkins, or that the lighter fluid is empty. You don’t ever want to be forced to pack everything up (including the kids) to run to the store. Trust me.