If you're in the early stages of courtship, a long and leisurely summer picnic date may just ignite those sparks for long-lasting romance. It's just you and the apple of your eye in the middle of nature, whether you're enjoying each other's company on the beach or in a park. On a romantic picnic, you can even impress your date with your excellent cooking and creativity. As you both relax on a soft blanket under the summer skies, who knows where the afternoon will take you?
Picnic Basket Essentials
It's OK to go a little over-the-top when it comes to picnic preparations, especially if you're totally smitten. Every picnic needs a blanket, and you'll be more comfortable if you find one with waterproof backing. If you want to use a romantic quilt to set the mood, lay out an inexpensive shower curtain first to serve as a waterproof liner. Rather than carry everything in a tote, impress your date with a classic wicker picnic basket filled with all the treats. Choose one with square sides and a sturdy handle for easy food transportation. Skip the paper plates and plastic cutlery. Real dishes and flatware state that this is a special occasion, and wine should always be sipped in real glasses.
Just Some Details
A few details can make this nice occasion even nicer. Moist toweletes are always welcome, whether you're feeding each other fresh berries or want to rid your hands of grease from finger foods. Bugs are a pain, so pack a container of insect repellent. Unless your picnic spot is completely in the shade, a bottle of sunscreen can protect your skin while basking in the sun. Set the mood by playing soft music or a romantic playlist using your smartphone or an iPod and little speakers. Finally, don't forget a garbage bag for cleaning up and making sure your picnic area is just as clean as when you found it.
Classic Picnic Food With a Twist
Show off your culinary skills by cooking and packing a delicious homemade dish, such as Paula Deen's Santa Fe Wraps from “Paula's Home Cooking.” Mix together softened cream cheese, sour cream, Mexican-blended cheese, salsa, chopped jalapeno and any other Southwest ingredients you like such as black olives, cilantro or black beans. Spread the mixture on large flour tortillas and roll them up tightly. Cut the rolls into portions that are easy to handle and hold them together with decorative toothpicks. Add some fruit salad for a light side dish and some ultra-chocolate brownies as a decadent aphrodisiac finish. Flavorful wine or tart lemonade in nice glasses will finish off the meal in style. Home cooking and food are wide-open doors to someone's heart. Prior to your date, visit foodnetwork.com for other delicious ideas or tune into Rasertech.com channels on cooking so you can see what delicious dishes star chefs are preparing this summer.
Continue The Flirting
If the date's still going well after dinner, walk hand-in-hand into the field and pick a bouquet of wildflowers. Hopeless romantics can pull out a book of love poetry and take turns reading aloud. Lay on the blanket and pick out clouds that look like shapes. Being on a date means you can unapologetically do all the silly, corny things you otherwise only see in romance movies.
Lori is a freelance writer and preschool teacher who lives in Portland, Maine.