The Enjoyment Of Picnic Time
By Mary Emma Allen
traveling on a lengthy trip or simply going out for the day, summertime
means picnic time when we enjoy eating out-of-doors. This may be a backyard
barbecue at Uncle Don and Aunt Susie's, a basket lunch at the lake, or an
outdoor meal when hiking or traveling. Often children simply like to eat out
on the deck or in the yard and pretend they're on a journey.
During my childhood, the school and
church picnics were annual events each June and July. Usually held at
a nearby lake so we could go swimming, but sometimes in a backyard or
meadow, they were a tradition in the small towns of America.
My dad and mom recall them from
their childhoods, too. Father even wrote about them when I asked him
to jot down his memories.
Sunday Travels & Picnics
During my childhood, we often went
for a Sunday drive after church and before we had to be home for the
evening milking. We took along a picnic lunch. It might be fried
chicken Mother had prepared the day before. Or it could be simply
sandwiches, cookies and fruit.
No matter which it was, we found
the outing fun. Sometimes we found a vacant school yard. In those
days, no one minded if we ate on a blanket or picnic table and played
on the slides and swings at that location.
A special occasion was spreading
out blankets and lawn chairs in a small park overlooking the Hudson
River. We watched the boats going up and down the river and the trains
crossing the bridge over the river near Poughkeepsie. Jim and I have
had picnics as we've traveled across the United States. We pick up
lunch fare at supermarket or deli and dine at various locations...a
park overlooking a river, a roadside rest with scenic view, a historic
site with picnic tables, etc.
- Although the classic American picnic menu often consists of fried
chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, pickles, rolls, chocolate cake,
and lemonade, enjoyable meals can be prepared on the spot. Simply take
along bread, sandwich makings, potato chips, pickles, cookies, fruit,
Take Along Picnic
- Just pack everything into a hamper and cooler and let each person
make the meal of his choice when you arrive at your picnic spot. Also,
this way your sandwiches won-t get soggy, and you don-t have them
leftover or wasted.
Entertaining - For picnics in the backyard when you want to
entertain informally in an outdoor setting, you may want to serve
somewhat fancier fare. But this can be easy on the cook and leave her
cool and calm for enjoying her guests if she prepares many of the
Barbecues - These
have become popular American outings and involve a variety of meats,
vegetables, and even fruit cooked over the charcoal or gas grill.
From the simple hot dog and
hamburger fare first common at barbecues, this type of meal now
encompasses steak, pork chops, chicken, and fish, skewers of meat and
veggies, as well as rotisserie meats
PISTACHIO - PINEAPPLE SALAD
can be a meal accompaniment or dessert. It's refreshing in summer.
Mix together one 20-oz. can crushed
pineapple, one 8-oz. container whipped topping (thawed), one 3-oz.
package instant pistachio pudding (use dry), 1/4 cup chopped nuts, 1/4
cup halved maraschino cherries, and/or 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows.
(I prefer without the marshmallows, but others in our family enjoy
You can add more nuts and cherries,
and vary the amount of marshmallows, as desired.
Stir lightly until all ingredients
are combined; chill before serving. For something fancy, you can put
the mixture into a pie shell or individual tart shells before
(c)Mary Emma Allen (Mary
Emma Allen writes from her home in the woods, where she enjoys birdsong in
summer when the doors are open. She writes for children and adults and gives
workshops in writing and art. E -mail: