Last week Len and I went on a picnic at Three Oaks Recreation Area. A hubbub of activity, it was packed! People were swimming, sunbathing, boating, and fishing—all with the common focus on picnicking.
We saw all manner of picnic styles: from bags of take out, to gourmet grilling, and everything in-between; there was even a group who had their picnic catered. People were relaxed on a blankets, in lawn chairs, and at picnic tables; clearly enjoying their picnics.
All the while we were surrounded by flowers—gorgeous, purple-ice-cream-cone-looking flowers. My friend, Sandi, told me that they’re known as Blazing Star (Liatris Spicata). They definitely added to the festive ambience.
For me, a picnic’s not a picnic unless there’s watermelon involved.
In your eyes, what food makes a picnic a picnic?
“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan
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Is food involved in a picnic?
Anyways, I think Cole Slaw and or Potato salad, which was Mother’s signature dishes during the summer. More BBQ than picnic!
Jeff – Cole slaw (creamy or vinegar) are among my favorites as well.
I hesitate to answer since I’m trying to be a good vegan, but……… Deviled eggs! My husband’s cousin made the best ones on the planet until our daughter’s boyfriend came along with his amazing recipe.
Those blazing stars are beautiful!
Barbara – Shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone, but the secret ingredient in my deviled eggs is a dash of horseradish, and then I top each one with a tiny sprig of parsley and a roasted, salted cashew. Talk about d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!
Fried chicken….mom always prepared it before our picnics when I was a kid and I did the same when my children were little.
Becwillmylife – You just made my mouth water – I haven’t had fried chicken in a month of Sundays 🙂
Would have to be potato salad or macaroni salad, although I haven’t been to a picnic in more years than I could count. Cookouts, in someone’s yard, yes, but a picnic means going someplace where you take your already prepared food to me.
Carol – I haven’t had macaroni salad in years….oh, that sounds so good right now. And you bring up a really good point in that people may have varying definitions of what a picnic is 🙂
Kitchen-sink pasta salad is probably our favorite go-to picnic dish. With some crusty bread and nice cheese usually in the mix 🙂
Colleen – I’m in-between clients right now and just popped open a yogurt. It doesn’t even hold a candle to what you’ve just described. And now I’m starving!
Kathy – I second the motion 🙂
This is so interesting, Laurie. I saw a real-live cut-open watermelon in our frig at school this morning and immediately wanted a bite–and now here’s your tempting photo. What foods make a picnic? You know, this is something I’ve never been able to figure out–and the reason why we don’t go on too many picnics. I need a picnic guru. Am now going to read the comments carefully to see what everyone suggests.
Kathy – I think it’s a sign from the Universe that you’re suppose to serve watermelon to your house guests 🙂
I am afraid I am a bit of a downer on this subject – I do not like to eat or drink outside. I am apparently such a sweetie that when I add food to being outside yellow jackets, wasps all find me irresistible. When we took the kids camping, I ate outside but immediately went to brush my teeth, wash my face and put the dishes clean and away – in all those years I only 2 times came home without a sting. One of those 2 times, my husband who is fatally allergic to yellow jacket stings…got stung 5 times and I had to use all the syringes of antihistamine we had carried in = in order to get him back to life enough to have him walk out. I love being outdoors and hiking but you will rarely find me eating or picnicking..I have been known to eat in the car on long trips….I am not allergic, but when blazing a trail at church camp, I was stung by over 200 wasps ( the nurses stopped counting at 200 daubs ) and had to be sent home It had taken me 2 years to earn enough money to go to camp and then to bee now so attractive to the critters is hard to gracefully accept.
People who have had chemo therapy are supposed to be less attractive to being stung? Oh well…maybe I am the walking dead?
One of my favorite things is to visit beautiful gardens – that is one of my extreme sports I partake in 🙂
I can not get my spellchecker to work…sorry
Happy 4th to all your readers and safe and fun celebrations !
Patricia – Holy Cow! You must be Karo Syrup for blood the way wasps and yellow jackets sample your blood.
What makes a picnic a picnic are the people I am out of doors with. The lively conversations, the companionship that feeds my soul…now that is the best food of all!
Intuitivejuliemarie – I agree with you that lively conversation and companionship are two excellent examples of delicious soul food 🙂
And best of all: CALORIE FREE!
Intuitivejuliemarie – All the better 🙂
Many memories from childhood, like many others here.
Devilled eggs, cold roast chicken, coleslaw, white bread and butter was one favourite.
Taking the easy route was just sausages, tomato sauce, bread and butter, with coleslaw.
Since going vegan, I haven’t done many picnics.
Toasted wholemeal bread with avocado and tomato (and salt and pepper), followed by freshly cracked macadamia nuts was one that comes to mind, in a valley above a lake in the central alps.
Closer to home we had one a couple of months ago where I just cooked up a can of organic baked beans (WholeEarth) and had them on toasted wholemeal bread.
Must get into having more picnics with salads, nuts and melons.
Ted – The two meals you described: (1) Toasted wholemeal bread with avocado and tomato (and salt and pepper), followed by freshly cracked macadamia nuts, and (2) organic baked beans (WholeEarth) on toasted wholemeal bread, both sound delicious!
Len and I will often share a can of black beans slathered with fresh salsa (tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and hot peppers). Yes!
I’m a big fan of watermelon myself, Laurie. Hard to beat the sweet juiciness–cold and delicious. Happy 4th of July, my friend.
Kathy M. – Your watermelon descriptors are perfect: sweet, juicy, cold, and delicious. Happy 4th of July to you, too 🙂
I love picnics. For most Aussies, picnics always include a BBQ, usually sausages, or home made rissoles or both and nice fresh salad, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, beetroot, asparagus, cheese, potato salad and cold slaw, and always some varieties of fruit. 🙂
I love the flowers they are really beautiful, sounds like a wonderful spot for a picnic. 🙂
Magsx2 – You’ve got my mouth watering with your wonderful list of picnic foods 🙂
I can’t help but share my childhood memories of picnics with my Italian immigrant grandparents and first generation parents serving up macaroni pie! Spaghetti held together with egg and ricotta cheese. Made in a frying pan. Served cold. Sliced like a pie. Eaten with your fingers.
Mary Jo – Ohhhhhhhh, I’ve never heard of that before, but it sounds absolutely wonderful!
Laurie, for me a picnic is a picnic when there’s more of an absence than a presence of . . .poison ivy. My childhood memory of wandering off to ‘pee in the grass’ at one of our family picnics, still haunts me.
Alison – Oh me, oh my…that sounds like an awful experience.
hot dogs please, burnt, no mustard, no relish, just one or two hotdogs, overcooked in a toasted bun. oink. nice post-the purple sunburst flowers look like friendly creatures from Mars.
Sorrygnat – I have to admit you’re the very first person I’ve ever known who has a hankering for burnt hotdogs, served plain in a toasted bun. I like my roasted marshmallows on the crispy side, so I’ll have to give burnt wieners a go at some point 🙂
Oh I am with Jeff – my picnic favourite is potato salad along with some fresh berries or your water melon Laurie and cold baked chicken – now I wish I had eaten supper before reading this post! 🙂
Terrill – I think I’ve gained three pounds today just reading about the delicious, mouth-watering food in the comments section 🙂
What beautiful flowers! Looks like a perfect afternoon 🙂
Ann – Thank you for your visit. Happy Independence Day 🙂
Mmm… I love picnics, so long as the ants and wasps stay far away! Avocados should be involved, but it’s not necessary (I guess). 😉
Dana – Yes!
Here’s a fast, easy, and delicious way to eat an avocado: Cut an avocado in half and remove the pit. Sprinkle each half with fresh lemon juice. Put a scoop of chopped up hard boiled egg in each half. Top with Salsa. Voila!
Sounds like fun Laurie. Interesting flower the Blazing Star. I have not been on a picnic in years, but I would go with watermelon as well 🙂
My favorite is Lime pickle in virgin olive oil from a company called Ashoka.This is available at Indian grocery stores.It is not hot but very tasty,you can spread this over any type of.. sandwich..Happy 4th to you and yours,Laurie.
Roamer – Wow, that sounds delicious!
Quite simply: lemonade!
Megtraveling – yes, Yes, YES! Ice cold and sweet/tart 🙂
Laurie, for me the best outdoor food is ….Homemade Ice Cream! Just got a message from Mike that his Ice cream is made and is firming up in the freezer. At the big White family celebration I can guarantee we will have home-made Chocolate, fresh strawberry, fresh peach and vanilla custard ice creams to be eaten out of foam cups as fast as possible before they melt.
Sandi – oh man, Oh Man, OH MAN! that sounds scrumptious! Enjoy some for me 🙂
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I gained two pounds just sitting here reading this . . . things here are just a tad too toasty for being outdoors for very long here in Maryland. When I go picnicking it is generally attached to camping which means there must a campfire and if there is a campfire, there must be marshmallows. If there are marshmallows, there must be graham crackers and chocolate . . . need I say more?
Barbara – I’m cracking up on where you went with this. Love it! 🙂
I know you guys had a scorcher for the 4th! So sorry I arrived for this picnic so late but with temperatures hovering near 100 today, that succulent watermelon looks most appetizing. Hot dogs are as American as apple pie and they are always part of a picnic. Sure they won’t make anyone’s list of healthiest foods, but here and there they can be done in some moderation, especially if they are grilled. But the chicken breast option is the one I will usually opt for these days. A picnic was a wonderful choice of the week of the 4th, if there’s some shade available! Ha!
Sam – Last week we hit 116-degrees with the heat index factored in — whew! — it was a doozy. And you’re absolutely right about grilled hot dogs and homemade apple pie. Enjoyed as an exception rather than the rule, they’re fantastic picnic food!
pickled beets and eggs, lots and lots of different kinds of cakes . . .
Sheryl – Oh my gosh, I haven’t had pickled beets in ages and I LOVE THEM! Thank you for the reminder 🙂
Those are very unusual and beautiful flowers – and I absolutely adore watermelon. Now you’ve made me very hungry! 🙂
Val – Another watermelon fan, whoohoo! And I’m told by my friend Sandi that the unusual flowers are called “Blazing Star.” Thank you for stopping by 🙂