For the Love of Picnics!

We’ve all heard of or remember the famous church picnics and really, who doesn’t love a good potluck? I don’t know why but food tastes extra good outdoors. Across the US many annual pioneer picnics and family reunions have been going on for over 100 years. Biscuits, fried chicken, ham, lovingly protected cakes and a glorious array of pickles used to be standard fare. Today many of the same favorites show up along with some Pinterest “experiments” and gourmet goodies. But relatives still vie over who makes the best potato salad or brownies.


If you’re here in New Mexico looking for a new place to hold your next picnic check out this wonderful round-up of Best Picnic Places by author Juliet White.

In their book Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier,  authors By Linda S. Peavy and Ursula Smith describe the daily “picnics” of cooking outdoors for a family while traveling across the country. Pioneer woman Pamelia Fergus is quoted, “Camp life has no charm for me…the children think its fun, they want to eat all the time.” Another pioneer who had made the crossing as a child recalled, “Maybe it was hard for the grown folks, but for the children and young people it was just one long, perfect picnic.”


What’s on my family’s picnic table? Pretty much the same thing we have every year. My kids don’t want the menu changed.

Dad’s grilled chicken, Great Grandma’s famous clam dip, blueberry cream cheese dessert, chile con queso, potato salad (this is where I insist on experimenting). It’s a mix of Southern, New Mexico and Pacific Northwest, reflecting our family heritage.

What does your menu look like? What kind of fun does your family make?

Enjoy this Independence Day as you celebrate with family, food and fireworks. Share a favorite recipe from picnics past or a great 4th of July memory.

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    Karen Ray

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