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Recipes Pack the picnic basket: Recipes for a day of family fun

If serving a pulled chicken sandwich right away, dollop some slaw on top. Wrap well if going on picnic and serve slaw on the side. Pulled chicken sandwiches for Globe Life. Lucy Waverman food shoot Jun 20. 2012. (Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail)

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Growing up in Scotland, my parents took my brother and I out on a picnic whenever the weather was nice.We drove to some beautiful spot, usually Loch Lomond, and had thin but wonderfully flavourful sandwiches (I think the butter helped), followed by scones and fruit, then a slice of a cake that travelled well – often a heavy Dundee cake.

With Canada Day approaching, a family picnic in a park or even on your own lawn is a fun way to celebrate. Here are two chicken sandwiches, one trendy and one more traditional. Take your pick for a picnic or casual dinner at home.

And here are some tips to make your outdoor feasts easy and fun:

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Food

It's best to stick with finger food or fork-friendly dishes. When packing greens, opt for marinated vegetables and dips instead of salad leaves that will wilt. Package salad dressings and condiments separately.

Drinks can double as ice packs if you freeze them the day before. For another space-saver, use containers that can double as serving dishes. Instead of an impractical fancy wicker basket, use insulated bags or a cooler. Pack bulky to fragile, topping with the tablecloth – it looks good and helps protect the food.

Safety

As a general rule, stay away from foods that spoil easily. While you should always avoid dishes with whipping cream or raw eggs, store-bought mayonnaise is a safe choice thanks to its salt, vinegar, preservatives and lemon juice.

Be sure to chill precooked meats or fish before packaging. Refrigerate all food two to four hours before packing your picnic. Once at your destination, keep food out of direct sunlight.

Insects

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To keep the bugs at bay, use citronella candles or sprinkle the top of a plain one with ground cloves (once lit it will scent the area). You can also use a saucer of stale beer or sweet wine near the picnic spot. Attracted to the sweetness, flying insects hop in and you'll have a bite-free afternoon.

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