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Family Central: Picnics Made Easy

I love estate sales. I like picking through the leftovers of somebody else’s life and trying to piece together the puzzle of another place, another time. I also like anything retro. I’ve collected old sewing patterns, embroidery patterns, kitchenalia of all stripes, magazines, cookbooks, photographs, records, books. In a world that sometimes seem so unreal, here is evidence that things are real, just impermanent. One of my prized finds was a box of old magazines from the early 1950s. The June issue showed a rosy-cheeked family, all smiles, with their picnic basket full of goodies. Little American flags dotted the grass next to them. Whether it’s 1953 or 2011, nothing says summer in America like picnics and red checkered blankets.

But like a lot of things, what we think of as picnics today started as something completely different. The idea of picnicking probably originated in Medieval England as part of large, traveling, hunting feasts. And the actual word picnic comes from France. The term piquenique was used to describe a potluck-style meal in which each guest brought a dish. And these piqueniques were indoors!

Early Victorians moved the picnic outdoors and truly elevated it through art and literature.  But these were still formal meals with the same rules of etiquette that would be used in their formal dining rooms. Only now they could feel a breeze.

Us Americans, we de-stuffified the picnic. We perfected it and turned into what it should have always been – a way to connect with family and friends through food and a way to connect with the outdoors through carefree activity. It wouldn’t be a picnic without a little Frisbee-throwing, softball-catching, flower-picking, dog-petting, or hand-holding.

And here at FRESH, we’ve made picnicking as easy as pie. Bring in your basket and let us help you fill it with goodies from our Chef Prepared area, dip bar, salad bar, bakery, and pastry cases. Look, we’ve even put together some menu ideas for you. So you can concentrate on the flowers and Frisbees and family part.

Classic Family Picnic Menu

For Ma & Pa – Herb Grilled Chicken Breast, Grilled Potato Salad, Carrot & Sugar Snap Pea Sautee, and Apple Pie.

For the Kiddies – Pretzel Crusted Chicken Tenders, Picnic Potato Salad, Grilled Veggies, and Texas Watermelon Blueberry.

Vegetarian Picnic Menu

For Ma & Pa – Mushroom & Goat Cheese Quesadilla, Grilled Cole Slaw, Cucumber Dill Salad, Black Bean Salad, Fruit Salad.

For the Kiddies  – Macaroni & Cheese, Grilled Veggies, Texas Watermelon Salad, and Cherries Jubilee Cookies.