Memorable Summer Picnics
by Sue Zelickson, Tastemaker in Residence
There are picnics in the park and picnics in the dark (with candles) but the ones we remember from our youth seem to be the most memorable.
As a child, my family used to go to Lake Nokomis with our wicker picnic basket filled with cold homemade fried chicken and fresh squeezed lemonade made with garden mint and a bit of orange juice; celery sticks filled with herbed or Roka cream cheese and perfect chocolate chunk cookies. My mom used broken chunks of large thick Hershey Bars.
While at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the picnic season had the usual brats made on fire pits and lots of beers, but the best part were the watermelon drinks. We would buy seedless watermelons, chill them and as I recall, whack off a slice on the bottom of the melon so they would sit level and not tip. We would then poke 6 quarter size holes in the top, that was large enough to stick a long thin spoon in to mash up the flesh. Then we added some vodka or gin. We would mix some more, place it on the ground or a picnic table and share with six of our best friends; using disposable straws, three on each side.
Another option is to slice off the top of the watermelon and use the bottom as a bowl. Scoop out the flesh and put it in a blender, adding lime juice' simple syrup and rum. Then we’d pour it back into the melon bowl, add some ice cubes and ladle it out into glasses.
We loved watermelon punch of any kind or just slices of it to munch in your hands and then we’d have a spitting contest, with the seeds.
Enjoy my picnic memories during the lazy days of summer each year, but most importantly create your own version and share them with me!