I’ve been visiting the happy memory bank in my head a great deal lately. It’s a combination of real memories and memories I’d like to achieve. They may never happen but they might. Picnicking was a popular pastime when I was a kid. My family and I enjoyed spending time outdoors and eating al fresco was something we did fairly often.
Living in Vermont provided many opportunities for outdoor activities. Therefore, circumstances were favorable for picnicking. We had a traditional wicker picnic basket with the flat wood top and large handles. Many picnics occurred at lunch time so those were pretty straightforward. Most of the time we were swimming at North Beach or some other spot on Lake Champlain. We had sandwiches, wrapped in wax paper, and my mother always packed lots of fruit. Plums were easy to transport as were slices of watermelon. On occasion one might find small pretzel sticks, celery sticks, carrot sticks, small gherkins, olives, deviled eggs and/or quartered radishes. Never did we find chips or soda. But there were usually some homemade cookies.
I am definitely an eater who likes to graze. Once, when I was in my late 20’s, I prepared a picnic feast meant to impress. While the food was good, it was a tremendous pain to transport. I also discovered I wasn’t a big fan of cold fried chicken. Add some potato salad and pie and we were ready to nap for hours. Tasty, but far too heavy. Grazing is more fun, items are easier to pack and transport, and a wide variety of foods can be provided. Some things I like to pack now: cheese cubes or Babybel cheeses, small crackers, grapes, gherkins, hummus, carrot and celery sticks, rolled slices of ham and cheese, plums, watermelon cubes, nuts, etc. If space allows I might make some macaroni salad with tuna. I pack that into 12 oz. plastic cups and cover with plastic wrap.
I am definitely not a gourmet picknicker, nor am I a foodie. One could easily transport a baguette, various cheeses and some wine for a picnic. I don’t care to grill during a picnic. I save that for eating at home. Also, I prefer the use of a picnic table as opposed to sitting on the ground. The periodic car picnic is sometimes necessary and can be fun. It works well when one is traveling and the weather is inclement or scorching hot.
Many fond memories of mine have their roots in picnicking. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of eating outdoors anymore because of heat and insects. But in a perfect world, the one that exists in my head, a picnic is a lovely thing.