Picnics are all about making memories with friends, family

Thank you for sharing your many picnic memories and recipes. The common elements were simple foods shared with family and friends eaten outdoors in a wooded or scenic location, offering a time to relax, ex-plore and create memories to last for generations.

Phyllis Cunningham of Speers, Sask., shared an entry from her grandmother’s diary, dated Sept. 14, 1935, when the family had “a wiener and corn roast with ice cream, tomatoes, pie, cakes, tarts, watermelon and muskmelon.”

Her family’s favourite picnic place is the North Saskatchewan River east of the Maymont Bridge, where they have been going for years to fish, hike, skip stones, pick berries and enjoy a meal.

She included some photos of her as a five-year-old in a dress at picnics in the 1930s, with the men wearing ties and vests.

Bill Romanowski recalled picnics eaten in a bluff at the end of the pasture. Fresh garden cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes along with egg salad, ham, cheese and lettuce, bologna and mustard or peanut butter and jam sandwiches were the usual fare. Watermelon, strawberries or apples were included for dessert with ice cold water for a beverage.

Violett Burant of Melville, Sask., remembered keeping water in jars when travelling with horses. They would drink cold tea and coffee and bring boiled eggs, along with buns, cheese, fruit, grapes, watermelon and ginger snap cookies.

There was chilled juice for the kids and more recently, no calorie beer.

Blaine Lake, Sask.’s Marlene Szwydky has picnic memories from wagon treks. More than 100 people from across Saskatchewan participated in 32-kilometre treks daily this year, exploring back roads, pastures and the riverbank. Many of the same people have been doing this weeklong trek since 1993. They share food ranging from sandwiches, fruit and vegetables to cookies and coffee.

Dennis and Betty Turner, farmers from Killarney, Man., kicked their picnic up a notch not only in location but in the picnic basket contents. They love to hike up the Turtle’s Back in the Turtle Mountains.

“It is a short hike through beautiful prairie pastures, past sloughs full of waterfowl and then up the Turtle’s Back along the wooded trails.

“The view at the top is worth it all. A climb up a fire tower provides a view for miles above the treetops all the way to the U.S. border. … We feel on top of the world.

“Dennis makes wine so we had a bottle of wine, glasses, cheese and crackers, goat cheese and hot pepper jelly to add to the crackers, as well as carrot and celery sticks. … We sat and just enjoyed the view and each other’s company. Took a selfie of ourselves at the top with the sun setting and then headed back down.”

Vicki Juve of Kelvington, Sask., was the winner of the picnic hamper draw. She shared one of her favourite and most versatile picnic salad recipes. This salad is also included in the harvest meal menu.

Quinoa Salad

  • 1 c. quinoa 250 mL
  • 2 c. water 500 mL
  • Use some or all of the following ingredients:
  • 1/2 c. olives, any 125 mL
  • kind, chopped
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries 15 mL
  • 1/2 c. dried apricots, 125 mL
  • chopped
  • 1/2 c. dried mango, 125 mL
  • chopped
  • 1/4 c. celery, chopped 60 mL
  • 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, 125 mL
  • halves or quartered
  • 1/2 c. cooked chicken, 125 mL
  • beef, sausage etc.
  • 1/2 c. cucumber chopped 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. nuts, pine nuts, 125 mL
  • pecans, almonds etc.,
  • chopped
  • green onion, chopped
  • to taste
  1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer, place in a medium saucepan with water, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Turn heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for four more minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a medium bowl and add other salad ingredients.

Dressing

  • 1/2 c. olive oil 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. apple cider 60 mL
  • vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. honey 5 mL
  • pepper to taste
  1. Whisk all together. Add enough dressing to moisten the salad and mix.
  2. Save the rest of the dressing for leftovers because the quinoa will soak up the dressing. This salad will keep for two to three days and gets better as it sits.

Puddings in a jar

Vicki’s sister lives in British Columbia and often includes these puddings in the family picnic basket. Make a cooked pudding or Jello and pour into little Mason jelly jars. Top with a little whipped topping or a piece of fruit and close with metal lids and bands. If packed in a small cooler with ice, they will stay cold for about three hours. They are also great for harvest meals.

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