With the unfolding of spring and warmer days, picnics seem to be a natural and wonderful way to experience them. There is something so deeply satisfying about enjoying time with those we love, surrounded by His creation, music of birdsong (maybe even a flowing stream or river) and a basket filled with delicious food.
With so many places one can venture for a picnic, there are several elements that my family & I have found that seem to make a picnic a wonderful experience:
Picnic Basket or maybe a vintage lunchbox or suitcase. For my wedding gift, my Grammie gave me a wicker picnic basket that has endured for almost eighteen years of being carried all over the countryside. It's hinges fixed here and there with twine or wire. We also use an ecclectic mix of other containers that make the experience fun.
A cozy & comfortable blanket. Our family likes to use an old fabric Waverly shower-curtain (yes, a shower curtain!). It is very soft fabric and has beautiful cabbage roses all over. Consider anything that does well on a table or placed on the grass. We also use other soft blankets or pretty tablecloths we have on hand. One thing to remember (which we learned the hard way) make sure the ground is dry if picnicing on it!
Drinks. Fun bottles or thermos' filled with lemonade or sparkling cider. Vintage-bottled seltzers or jars with chopped berries floating in a fruited-drink mixture. Be creative & have fun. Old glasses or wine-glasses. Pretty paper cups are wonderful too especially for little hands.
Plates & Utensils: There is something that I love about using real plates & utensils on a picnic. It feels more elegant possibly if one doesn't mind that they will need to be washed upon arrival back at home. There are so many choices of adorable paper plates or plastic plates too, just make sure to anchor them well if a sudden gust of wind blows through the picnic. That happened to our family just last week at Rocky Mountain National Park, where we escaped for the afternoon.
Fresh Fruit: grapes, strawberries, cherries, orange slices, raspberries, watermelon....eaten whole or sliced into a fruit salad.
Bread: baguettes, bread-sticks, artisian loaves, twisted rolls, pitas, focaccia, sourdough. Wrapped in a beautiful cloth napkin, nestled in a little basket. Maybe some olive oil & small bowl to dip torn pieces into.
Salad: Because of the drive to some picnic destinations, a cold picnic salad really works well. Potato or pasta salad, grain salads made with quinoa, lentils, beans, barley, etc. work wonderful as well and are filling. As a family, we will use them as the main dish and sometimes add some shredded chicken.
Dessert: The finale to a delicious plein air meal is dessert..if there is room in our stomach! A covered tin full of frosted brownies, a homemade cake, a fruit cobbler or a lattice-crusted pie. We sometimes will pack little vintage plates for the desserts which lends to the atmosphere of picnic elegance.
Packing some fun activities to do also makes a picnic a memorable experience. Binoculars for viewing birds or other wildlife, horseshoes and a stake, nature sketchbooks, frisbees or other sports equipment, a good book or butterfly net. These beckons one to stray from the picnic blanket/table and to explore the area nearby.
May we escape and slowly savor these seasons, enjoy a delicious picnic with those precious to us and marvel in the glory of His creation.