Kicking off spring with a meal under the sun (or stars)? Skip the bulky picnic basket, and pack these essentials from Sara Moulton, host of PBS's Sara's Weeknight Meals and author of Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners.
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Forgo flimsy paper plates for reusable bento boxes, like the Bento Box Set (shown at left, $22.99). These traditional Japanese lunch boxes feature compartments that separate foods. "They're like the Japanese version of a TV dinner," Moulton says.
"You can pack the whole thing ahead of time for each person." Another perk: you don't need a picnic basket; just place the box in your tote and go.
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"I like lots of little tastes," says Moulton, who suggests this fun alfresco meal: grill bread bites, and serve them with dips and toppings like a bruschetta bar; try a marinated white bean salad, fresh salsa, or an olive salad.
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It's funny-looking, but the sporka spoon and fork rolled into one utensilcomes in handy because you can use it to dish out portions and eat. Moulton likes the colorful Light My Fire Sporks ($2.99 each).
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A thermos (or two!)
Bringing cold soup or dip? Store them in a thermos, like the Vacuum Insulated Food Jar ($19.99), Moulton says, and you won't have to worry about anything leaking or going bad in the hot sun.