Picnic Pleasure

Picnic Pleasure Then and Now

Food historians tell us picnics evolved from the elaborate traditions of “moveable outdoor feasts” enjoyed by the wealthy.


Family Picnic Pleasure
Family Picnic Pleasure


Whatever your reason for a picnic, it’s the the spirit, not the food, that makes a picnic special. Have a picnic at the slightest excuse! It is  fun to have a box lunch and a hot drink in the car on a wintry day. Picnic pleasures are fun, relaxing, get you out of the house and help you reconnect with loved ones. In our high-tech, fast-paced societies we seem to have forgotten some of these simple, time-honored traditions.

Picnics can be held on the beach, in the woods, in a park, or even in your own backyard! How about an impromptu backyard bonfire picnic with sweet corn, toasted marshmallows and hot dogs. The ideal picnic pleasure!

In 1953, the following were recommended Picnic menus from “The Joy of Cooking“, Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (p. 971-8).

  1. All beef wieners or hamburgers rolled in pancakes. Chilled tomatoes, rye crisp and Cheddar cheese.  Gingerbread in cup cake pans, pears and grapes, coffee.
  2. Sauteed Canadian bacon on hard rolls. Snap bean salad with lettuce, onions and French dressing or potato salad. Add lots of lettuce. Have deviled eggs with liver sausage. Bring watermelon, poppy seed cake, coffee.
  3. Baked ham, Italian salad and bran muffins. Roquefort cheese balls rolled in chives, sour cream apple pie, berry pie, coffee.
  4. Broiled steak, canned French fried potatoes and picnic salad. Soft buns spread with butter.  Pickles, white cake with chocolate icing. Snack of salted nuts. Beverage of coffee.
  5. Sauteed eggs with bacon or sausages. Baked beans or jambalaya. Olives, toasted buttered French bread loaf. Apples, gold layer cake with caramel icing and coffee.
  6. Fried fish or chicken, baked potatoes, potato chips or green corn, Cole slaw, dill pickles, beaten biscuits, banana chocolate cake, peaches, coffee.

They all sound pretty good, don’t they? The most time-honored traditional meals for picnic pleasure are:

  • 1) Cold broiled or fried chicken , potato salad, pickles, bread and butter sandwiches. Apple pie and cheese for dessert with coffee.
  • 2) Sliced meat loaf, potato chips, sliced tomatoes, nut bread sandwiches, jelly doughnuts, peaches, tea.
  • 3) Baked beans, buttered bread sandwiches, tomato and lettuce salad, peach ice cream, coffee.

But now-a-days we want to add some more healthful treats without sabotaging the fun of  picnic pleasure. Bring favorite fresh fruits for the sweet tooth. Anything from watermelon to strawberries with a little powdered sugar to goes well at a picnic.

Healthy picnic pleasure suggestions.

Tomatoes and Peaches. Toss together sliced seeded tomatoes and peaches, along with thinly sliced red onion and chopped cilantro or rosemary. Dress at the last minute with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Chicken Bites. Cut boneless chicken breasts into small pieces. Dip in milk or buttermilk, then dredge in seasoned crushed corn flake crumbs, cornmeal or panko. Pan-fry in oil, drain, cool and eat cold.

P.S. July is National Picnic Month!

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Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing

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