Preparing for Safe Summer Dining

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Outdoor_diningIt won’t be long now until summer is here.  With summer comes picnics, camping trips, pool parties, barbecues, and a desire to eat outside in the sunshine and fresh air.

With thoughts of how fun each sounds, dining outside requires some additional preparation to keep your family and the food safe. We’ve all seen tubs of ice containing sodas and beer.  Excellent, since both taste best icy cold.

In the heat it’s even more important to keep our favorite dishes chilled.  High temperatures cause bacteria to form on some foods quickly.   Dishes such as potato or macaroni salad that contain mayonnaise are especially susceptible .

Even a fresh fruit salad needs chilling, if only to keep it crisp and icy cold for the most refreshing taste.

Thankfully there is a wonderful selection of dishes available now that include room for ice.  Most are acrylic, which is perfect for outdoor use—no worry about breaking or shattering while carrying or traveling.  There is a variety to meet your needs too, since they are available in sizes to hold two separate dishes or even to hold several condiments.

It is a small matter to buy an extra bag of ice to fill these containers.  Or make your own at home if you prefer.  Plan ahead and bag some extra to have on hand for your outdoor event.

Keep food safe and be prepared this year with one or two of these serving dishes. If you attend many parties, go to potlucks or events with your children, a server like this is invaluable.   Pretty, safe, and a lovely presentation too.

How perfect is this container for hot dogs and hamburgers?  You can spend your time enjoying the party instead of stressing over mayo getting too warm or food going bad.  It holds a variety that should cover all the requirements for dressing your burgers and dogs.  Mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish… don’t forget the diced onions.



Love This Inflatable Server 

I wish we’d had one of these on our camping trips!  I think it should be a requirement for camping.  You can use it anywhere since it is inflatable.  It would take very little room in the car for a camping trip.  Inflate, toss in a bag of ice, and keep your cold food nicely chilled and safe in those hot summer temperatures.

Use it in your backyard, even around a pool since there is nothing breakable about it.  So handy and so reasonably priced, it seems to me that every family should have at least one on hand.



Two Dish Server for Icy Cold Salads  

This is the size I’ve most often used.  I love potato salad at any barbecue or outdoor event.  It seems to belong there.  Yet these days I always want to include a fruit salad since it is so healthy.  A dish like this makes serving both an easy decision.  On a hot day, there isn’t much better than icy cold fruit, is there?  And potato salad always needs to be kept chilled since it contains mayonnaise.  What a pretty way to present both for serving too.



Crudités anyone?  Ready to Serve, Chilled

Another healthy option for outdoor eating and parties is a collection of fresh, raw cut up vegetables.  They look so appealing when served around dip.  Using this container, whether you are taking it to a potluck or serving it at home, will make it available for instant serving.  The ice container beneath it will keep all the vegetables crisp and cold, and the dip safely chilled.  If you have extra veggies, they can be in zip bags in the ice chest, ready to add to the serving dish.



Single Server on Ice

Doesn’t a fruit salad look lovely in this dish?  Great for a party or buffet when you are bringing any chilled dish.  Excellent for nibbling if you are playing in the yard or the park with family.  Fill it with healthy cut up fruit and watch the kids go for it.  Pretty enough for any gathering, yet sturdy enough for any time and any where.

Net covers for food to keep bugs away

These little things are invaluable if you are eating outdoors.  Little can spoil an outdoor dining experience more than flies or bugs getting near the food.  Aren’t these a handy and easy way to prevent that?  Little food covers that fold up like a mini-umbrella when not in use.  That makes them easy to store, easy to pack, and perfect to have on hand.  They make larger sizes too, or smaller round ones.  A few of these seem essential if you enjoy a lot of meals outdoors.



Cake Carrier or Veggies and Dip 

Versatility… Cake carrier, dip, ice chamber…I had to include this one because of its versatility.  A cake carrier that includes small containers too.  You can use it for dips and chilled veggies, sliced meat and cheese, or anything like that.  The ice tray will keep everything chilled.  I love that it can hold a layer cake too.  Don’t you love multi-use gadgets?



Get Ready!

Each of these dishes makes me anxious for summer and a picnic at the beach.  I’ll even use mine for indoor buffets and parties.  They wash up beautifully, will last for years and keep food at a cold and safe temperature.  That’s the best part of all.



Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry

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