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| Credit: William Meppem

It seems as if we've been eating the same backyard picnic fare forever. Coleslaw, for instance, is adapted from a hot cabbage salad made by the early Dutch settlers. Southerners have been gathering for weekend-long barbecue feasts since our nation's birth. And fried chicken has been a finger-licking American pleasure for more than a century, though it was kept out of the ladies' cookbooks of the 19th century because it wasn't eaten with a knife and fork. Happily, today we don't have to prepare these dishes the old-fashioned way. After all, there are better things to do on a hot summer day than labor over an even hotter stove. Try the quick and easy dips on the following page, and you'll have plenty of time for fun in the sun.