Take Mom on a Picnic

Wed, May 09, 2012 at 12:00AM

Trust us. Mothers like flowers, candy and cards, but what most Moms really want is time spent with their families doing something fun, preferably outdoors, and that includes the day off from cooking!

Since there isn't a lot of room to cook a big meal on most boats, especially with family and gear aboard, why not pack a great picnic lunch to take out on your Monterey? There aren't many Mother's Day gifts that trump a boat ride to a beautiful beach, lake or park on a sunny day, enjoying the sound of the surf, some interesting birds and children's voices.

Having a picnic is a wonderful way to combine sun, sand (or woods), and water-related activities with a good meal and pleasant conversations. They provide a great opportunity to get your family together, where everyone will have something (or two) to enjoy.

First, chart your best boat-access destination and check and make sure picnics are allowed, and that you are aware of any restrictions. Next, plan your meal and choose a variety of foods that complement each other and taste good cold. Some great choices for a beach picnic include spreads and dips with crackers and crusty bread, chips and salsa, marinated vegetables, quiche, pasta salad, pre-assembled sandwiches - but without spreads, so they don't get soggy (include to add later), cornbread or herbed muffins, whole fruit or fruit salad, with cupcakes, cookies or brownies for dessert.

Finger foods reduce the need for too much cutlery and extra plates, so cut everything into hand-held size portions whenever possible. Don't forget serving spoons and forks, a good knife, napkins and some moist hand wipes - for removing sand, dirt and food crumbs. Use plastic containers or wrap food items in wax paper for convenience. Choose an assortment of drinks and keep them well chilled. Take along a cooler to keep drinks cold the entire time you are out, not just for the picnic. Bring plastic cups, not glass.

Include a big picnic mat or blanket, pillows or some comfy folding chairs, shade items if needed, bug spray, visors, hats and sunscreen. Check out Monterey Gear for lots of your summer essentials.

Games for all ages are a must. Bring buckets and shovels, a baseball, bat, football, soccer ball or flying disk, swim toys or games, boogie boards, or take advantage of the wind with a kite.

When the day is done, properly dispose of all your litter. Don't leave anything, including any food, behind. Keep music to an acceptable volume.

Have a safe trip home and enjoy the memories. You'll be "Mom's favorite" now.

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