One of our favorite summertime things to do is pack a picnic lunch and head off to a quiet spot by a stream or lake and lazily enjoy the afternoon.

When Ted was a kid his family would go to Prince William's Park near his home in Washington, D.C. The adults would preare lunch while the kids played in the woods. This is nostalgia at its best.

These wonderful memories are easy to recapture and for some reason, when you eat outside, the cares of the world drift away.

To keep the picnic worry-free, we have some tips that will make your picnics memory perfect!

A Big Slice is proud to present our very own wine tasting kit, the Bacchus Box, a complete evening of fun in one rosewood box! Challenge your friends to a taste off. May the best wine win! No one, not even the host, knows the identities of the selections. Observe, smell, taste, rank, vote. Was yours the nectar ...or the salad dressing? A relaxed and fun way to discover new favorites. And remember, there is always a next time with the Bacchus Box. Includes everything you need (except wine and glasses) and a free 12 minute instructional DVD. Great gift! To check out the Bacchus Box, click on the bar above. A Big Slice is a very large website (including over 200 recipes!) that is organized thematically. But if you know what you are looking for, just click on the bar above and it will take you to our search page. Type in the term, or recipe in the space provided and it will take you directly to that page. If any links appear to be broken, please let us know at:

thegoodlife@abigslice.com

Click above to return to the A Big Slice homepage. From there you will be able to visit our wine and international dinners sections. Plus we have a recipe and craft archive so you can quickly find what you are looking for. If it is contact information that you seek, that is also on the homepage - near the bottom. Thousands have already signed up for our newsletter. In 2009 we are focusing on the monthly holidays in a different way. How about a Mardi Gras Fais Do Do? Or a hearty St. Patrick's Day Irish Breakfast. We include holiday trivia and history, table settings, napkin folds and of course recipes. All we need is your email address. Click on the bar above to sign up. Thank you!
Click on the above link to return to the main entertaining page. There you will find complete menu, decorating and craft ideas for every month of the year. Summer is here! get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather with a summer cookout. Click on the bar above to view all of our cookout recipes as well as other summer ideas.
First and foremost keep your hands, utensils and containers clean. Prepare the food the day of the picnic unless it is to be frozen. Mayonnaise-based foods need to be kept cool. Even though mayonnaise alone is too acidic for bacteria, when it is mixed with other foods bacteria can grow if it is kept too warm. Melons are very low in acid and can therefore harbor bacteria. Be sure and keep them cool and clean.
Cold food must be kept below 40 degrees F to prevent bacterial growth. To store cold food use a heavy duty insulated cooler with plenty of ice. Plan ahead by freezing a block of ice in an empty milk carton. Keep the food dry by placing it in a zip lock bag and immersing it in the ice. When traveling, do not put the cooler in the trunk of the car. Temperatures there can reach 150 degrees F. Transport coolers in the passenger compartment of the car. At the picnic sight put the cooler in the shade and let it remain closed as much as possible to preserve the temperature. Hot foods need to be kept above 140 degrees F. Wrap them in towels and newspapers to insulate them. Food that doesn't have any special storage requirements includes peanut butter sandwiches, nuts, unpeeled fruit, unopened canned goods, cookies, cakes and crackers.
Always wash hands and utensils before handling food. Be sure and pack extra plates and utensils because you will need to discard any material that has touched raw food. Cook food thoroughly from beginning to end at one time. Stopping midstream can provide conditions for bacterial growth. Cook poultry until the juices run clear and there is no pink at the bone. Keep cold food in the cooler until time to serve. Leftovers should be put back in the cooler immediately. Eat cooked food soon after cooking. Insects can be thwarted by covering food with a napkin or cloth. Throw away any food that has been sitting out for more than an hour. Any food left in the coler will be fine as long as ice remains. If the ice has melted get rid of the food.