Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Family Picnic

"Let's Bring Back The Family Picnic" was the title of an article written by John Rosemond last year calling for a "national movement to bring back the picnic." He thought the picnic movement important enough, even if it meant taking kids out of organized after-school sports!

I love the part about the "national movement" to bring back the custom of picnicking, but I don't believe we have to take such drastic steps as giving up sports. What if we simply give more thought to the idea of picnicking as we go about our daily lives, so that we are organized and ready to go when we have a welcome break in our daily routine?

Here are some suggestions to accomplish just that:

1. "Think Picnic when you are grocery shopping for ingredients to prepare dinner. Example: If you are planning to make a meatloaf, double the ingredients and the recipe. Wrap the extra meatloaf (or one-half of the large loaf) and place in a freezer bag marked "picnic." Think of all the other meals you make where you could easily double the recipe for instant picnic meals.

2. "Think Picnic" when you are cleaning up after a meal and wondering what to do with the leftovers. Leftover roasts, sliced and frozen separately (place wax paper between the layers so you can un-thaw the exact amount you will need) will make the perfect sandwich for a picnic. Almost any food will serve as a delectable picnic at some future date, whether it is an appetizer, meat, side dish, soup, bread, or dessert. Even casseroles, if heated to a proper degree and placed in a wide-mouth thermos, can be a choice picnic item.

3. Buy foods especially for picnicking and put them away. Juice boxes and bottled water can go into the freezer until needed for the picnic. Then, place directly into your cooler. They also work well when placed in a backpack along with a sandwich. By the time you are ready for your picnic, the drink will be un-thawed and your sandwich still cold.

What if you haven't gotten around to doing any of the above, but an opportunity for a picnic comes along? Don't despair. Simply "wing it" by scrounging around the fridge and cabinets and grabbing what you can find. After all, even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tastes great when eaten out of doors with family and friends.

The real value of the picnic is, as Rosemond says, "an opportunity for the family to tone down their daily lives, get away from it all, and just relax and enjoy one another's company." I couldn't agree more!

Next time, I will tell you how easy it is to "think Picnic" in order to get the picnic basket stocked with all the accessories, so it is ready to walk out the door with you at a moment's notice. Because, really, when you don't have to worry about finding and pulling dishes and utensils from drawers, cabinets, and closets, you are more than halfway there.

So, starting today, let's all "think Picnic."


Marie Louise said...

I love a picnic and it's become a regular family pastime, perfect entertainment without much planning or much of a budget. I'm in CT too and would love to know some of your favorite picnic spots!

Anonymous said...

What great ideas for making a picnic easy and fun. I've read your book and can't say enough about it. Not only do you give places to see, with details about the picnic area, you give wonderful recipies that are easy to make and take along. This would be a great book for people traveling to Connecticut this summer; it would make sightseeing so much more fun.
Thanks for a great book.

CrusingCT said...

Hi marie louise, I love park picnics ~ Wickham Park, Elizabeth Park (especially late June when the roses are in bloom.) It seems that every area of the state has lovely parks for easy, relaxing interludes. Today, most of my picnics are apt to be at one of the destinations in my book "Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket" as I try to keep up with any changes. And, I usually pick the time of my visit according to the seasons. For instance, when I visit Gillette Castle, I look forward to a summer picnic by the pond (covered with pink, white and fuschia water lillies) or when I feel like strolling down Main Street in Essex, I wait for a nice Spring or Fall day to picnic by the water in the park. But, I sometimes miss the Sunday picnics of years ago, when we simply packed the picnic basket, got in the car and explored different areas of the State. We were never disappointed. I hope you are doing some of that. Have fun! Jan