Do you live in an area with a burning ban this 4th of July? Reader Barbara wrote us asking for some creative "anti-barbecue" ideas, since she lives in Colorado and there is a ban on outdoor cooking and fireworks this summer. But you don't need to stand over hot, smoking coals to eat outside this Independence Day. Here are five ideas for a fire-free picnic.
Now, of course you could just have a picnic in the park or on the back porch with food cooked in your own kitchen. Things like cold sandwiches, or big salads topped with steak cooked in the oven are always welcome. But steak and potato salad are fairly common — what else could you do for a 4th of July party? Here are a few ideas.
Throw an Ice Cream Party - With a Giant Banana Split
I adore this idea from Jordan Ferney: Set up a giant banana split in the park! You could even make the ice cream first, if you want to do a smaller one, and if you have more time. Bring an old-fashioned hand crank ice cream maker or those balls that you can roll around so the ice cream churns inside.
• Get instructions: Giant Banana Split at Oh Happy Day
- Indulge in Red, White & Blue
Even if you can't participate in that great American tradition, cooking meat over an open flame, you can overtly celebrate the holiday with red, white, and blue patriotically-inspired food. Start with this salad and cheese, do some oven-cooked steak with Gorgozola and sliced tomatoes, and finish up with this mixed berry fool (or one of these colorful treats).
- Recreate a Historical Meal
Another way to celebrate the holiday is to recreate food from the Revolutionary War period.
• Check out The Food Timeline for some historically-appropriate ideas
- Have a British Picnic
You could also nod to our former British overlords by doing a picnic British-style, complete with elegant hamper, a thermos of tea, petite sandwiches, scones, and a real cake.
- Do a No-Cook, Elegant French-Inspired Spread
Or skip the British and curtsy instead to our allies, the French, with a lush Mediterranean spread of all no-cook foods: Charcuterie, olives, good cheese, storebought pate and little cookies. Champagne is required, of course, and don't forget your picnic knives. (See more inspiration here.)
What about you? What are you doing for the 4th of July this year?
More Picnic Inspiration
• Bring a Blanket! 10 Dishes for a Picnic Lunch
• A Sandwich and a Basket: Weekend Picnic Inspiration
• Picnic Inspiration from Charles and Ray Eames
• Best Picnic Knives
(Images: Jordan Ferney; Nealey Dozier)