When the weather warms up and our weekends are greeted with blue skies, thoughts all across New Tecumseth turn to picnics, whether it be a quiet romantic picnic for two - like Helen and I would have B.A. (before Alec ;-), taking the children to Earle Rowe Conservation Area or Tottenham Conservation Area, or the full-blown family picnic that I remember so vividly having several times each summer at various destinations across Southern Ontario. In the 1960's and 1970's, these family picnics were tradition and a well-planned event. As few as four families to as many as eight or nine full families, grandparents et al, leaving early on a Saturday morning and driving to destinations as close as Boyd Conservation just north of Woodbridge, Heart Lake, Albion Hills, Glen Haffy, Earle Rowe, Jackson's Point, Wasaga Beach... to as far away as Sauble Beach on Lake Huron... staking out our picnic area, finding swimming (beach, water hole, or lake) or open field or forest and stoking the BBQ's and grills, carting out the Coleman coolers and laying the table cloths and setting up the lawn chairs... fond memories.
Picnics have evolved over the years, and there are many tips on how to have a great picnic.
Food: Certain sandwiches are a good bet, and thought and preparation can help create a convenient menu of hand held or fork friendly choices.
Because sandwiches are often prepared in advance and eaten outdoors, often in warm weather, it is preferable to avoid wet and perishable condiments, mayo, soft cheeses in favour of Dry-cured meats and hard cheeses.
Potato, beet, lentil, chick pea and similar salads are great, store and serve easily. Helen makes a delightful blend of whole wheat pasta, olive oil and mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, corn, beans etc). All you need to do is pop open the container and give a quick stir and the dish is ready to serve.
Other convenient fare can include tortilla chips and guacamole, roast chicken (pre-cut), fresh cut veggies and dip, pickles, a baguette or buns with assorted spreads or pate.
Fresh whole fruit, cookies, brownies or other bite sized desserts are a good ending for a picnic. Avoid beverages in glass bottles - tetra-paks are great choices.
Coolers, Blankets, plastic tablecloths, beach towels.
Dishes and Cutlery: If you picnic often, consider buying lightweight reusable dishes and cutlery, and if you only picnic infrequently, consider PLA based (poly-lactic acid) biodegradable disposable plates and cutlery (sugar fibre plates are much more earth friendly that paper plates and disposable cutlery made from potato starch use no petroleum products in their manufacturing).
Finally when you are ready to leave, clean up your site and leave it as clean or cleaner than when you arrived!
Happy picnicking all!!