Sunbathing, boozing, and building sandcastles at the beach require little effort. But eating is another story. A long day at the shore can easily lead to a food disaster of epic proportions -- sand in your coleslaw, wet sandwiches, melted ice cream.
But there are foods that make beach eating a little easier -- not to mention specific ways to pack a picnic, serve it up, and keep our sandy oasis pristine.
So to prepare you for the upcoming summer that begins in earnest this post-July 4 weekend, Short Order spoke to Amy Smith, executive chef of Joe's Take Away, for her expertise on oceanfront eats. Here are her suggestions:
(Note: With all the drinking that's likely to go down over the next four days, eating becomes that much more important. So be prepared.)
Cold salads and sandwiches
These simple foods are no-frills and easy to nosh on. Stow salads on gel packs (better than ice). And secure those sandwiches with plastic wrap -- there's nothing worse than soggy bread.
This dish was made for summer afternoons. Throw the shrimp in some Tupperware, pack a few ramekins of cocktail sauce, and shovel in the little suckers.
Fried/barbecued chicken or ribs
Hands-free food is best. Throw some wet naps in the mix and get to meatin'.
Cheese and crackers with a fresh baguette
These accouterments will pair quite nicely with the um, "fruit juice," you brought to sip.
Marinated artichokes, olives
Always good a companion for any assortment of cheese, these charcuterie faves are easy to pop in your pie-hole all afternoon.
Dried, cured meats
Salami, prosciutto, or pancetta are salty, delicious, and even better when paired with the above artisanal cheeses or marinated goodies.
Cupcakes, pound cake, or flourless chocolate cake
A summer picnic isn't complete without something sweet. But ice cream or other easily melty items are a no-go in 90-degree temps.
Easy to pack, easy to keep cool, easy to eat. Three stars. Watermelon (spiked, if you're feeling saucy) is standard summer fare.
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And don't forget: WATER. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Amy suggests freezing water bottles. That way, they'll stay cold and keep your foods cool too.
When it comes to utensils and packaging, keep it simple, disposable, and eco-friendly if possible. Make sure to chuck all garbage into trash cans (common sense!) before you hightail it home.
(We also love this little SkyMall ditty for keeping foods -- and bods -- as sand-free as possible.)