• Many people have sent in the tip to use two bowls, one larger than the other, to serve cold salads at picnics. You add a few cups of crushed ice to the larger bowl, then nestle the smaller bowl into it, making it “chilled.” In any case, remember: Don’t leave food out longer than two hours.
• If you’re planning food platters for your barbecue, consider making several smaller platters instead of one large dish. The large ones are harder to store when you prep beforehand, but a better reason is that the items will not go stale/too warm/too cold quite as fast, and it’s easy to switch out plates throughout the party.
• “Using plastic cups for a crowd? Remember to put out a permanent marker, colorful rubber bands or some other way to mark each person’s glass. It’s sometimes hard to keep track when they all look the same.” — C.L. in Pennsylvania
• “Purchase a small cooler to use for large quantities of side dishes. I have a cooler advertised as fitting a six-pack of drinks, but it’s perfect for holding macaroni salad at our summer beach gatherings with family. I do not use it for anything else, and it retains its cold temperature despite the heat (when everyone remembers to keep the lid closed, of course).” — R.R. in South Carolina
• “For serving utensils used during picnic lunch, I have two large zip-top plastic bags. I label them ‘clean’ and ‘dirty.’ Anything used to touch raw meat goes in the ‘dirty.’ And serving spoons that can be used again to serve are in ‘clean.’” — M.A. in Arizona
(c) 2012 King Features Synd.