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Party in Five: Retro-Inspired Picnic in the Park for Two

We here at Cooking Channel love a good party. But throwing a memorable event requires more than just gathering some food and drinks. We show you how, with just five main “ingredients” (including recipes, big-impact decorating ideas and easy DIY elements), you can throw a party that feels like it has a cohesive theme — minimal work required.

Gorgeous weather often infects people with a specific spontaneity — the impulse to cancel those dinner reservations, head to the park and soak up as many sun-filled minutes of the day as possible. I love taking a tried-and-true concept like this one and giving it a few gourmet touches. When you factor in homemade food, this picnic in the park captures a timeless American spirit. The cross-generational tradition offers a way for people to get outdoors and enjoy public spaces — and an excuse to indulge in that most classic of picnic customs, fried chicken. So locate a shady spot in your favorite neighborhood park and gather some vintage-inspired elements to host your own picnic reminiscent of summers past.

To host this retro picnic in the park, you’ll need five essential ingredients:

• kite and string
• classic recipes for fried chicken and pickled vegetables
• utensil sleeves (download the template here)
• portable radio
• fresh berries or other fruit

Click here to the see the lunch in action and get tips on planning your own outdoor picnic for two.

Spotlight On: The Menu

To give my picnic in the park the 1960s retro vibe I had envisioned, I acquired a plaid blanket, classic blue camping plates and a portable radio to set the scene.

True to tradition, a full basket of buttermilk fried chicken is the star of this picnic lunch. The chicken is accompanied by easy sides that are ideal for transporting in the car: pickled vegetables and homemade coleslaw packed into vintage Mason jars, and fresh berries left in the crate from the grocery store. For drinks, try an updated twist on an old classic: Tequila Lemonade. Everything is easily transportable packed into a small metal cooler and a picnic basket.

Find out how to prepare your own picnic basket and cooler for a fun day in the park.

(See more parties and events from the Party in Five series here.)

Camille Styles is the founder and editor of the lifestyle blog, where she shares creative entertaining ideas for parties and everyday life. She also owns Camille Styles Events, a design and planning firm that transforms ordinary events into extraordinary experiences.


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