My, how picnics have changed…

Picnics have been around since before I was born and that was a long time ago. Mom made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on store-bought white bread, the kind that tore to pieces if the peanut butter was too thick. We didn’t have baggies of any sort, either. The sandwiches were wrapped in waxed paper or aluminum foil. We took fruit – maybe a watermelon if it was the right season – and a bag of chips. Ah, remember Wampum chips? They were the ‘other’ corn chip. Tortilla chips didn’t come in bags back then. There were only two flavors of potato chips then, too: plain and barbecue. Nothing fancy like the gyro or biscuits and gravy flavored ones I saw recently. Times were tough…

We had an honest-to-goodness picnic basket, not a paper bag or cardboard bucket. Ours was made out of wicker – the natural fiber kind, not plastic. The set came complete with Melamine-type plates (sectioned with ridges so the beans didn’t slop over into the potato salad or sandwich). There were probably paper plates available, but we never used them. We were treated to a bottle of soda or shared a pitcher of Kool Aid, chilled and in cups we took home with us to wash.

Nowadays, if we go on a picnic, we drive through a fast food restaurant or stop by the grocery store. A bag of burgers and fries or an eight-piece pack of fried chicken, a few pints of various sides, and maybe some Jo Jo’s (the most awesome super-fries in the world). Instant gratification but high cost, low nutrition, and loads of garbage to dispose of!
Back in the day, if we wanted music, we’d open the car door and listen to music on the AM radio. No Sirius, Alexa, or streaming tunes through a smartphone. Of course, there were battery-operated transistor radios around. They came out around 1955. Aw, how great to listen to music without power cords.
We sprayed DDT-type bug spray or swatted flies and mosquitoes with a fly swatter, but otherwise were pest free. We didn’t have to worry about being interrupted by phone calls either. There were no such things as portable phones, much less cell phones. That’s why it was so important to let someone know where we were going and when we’d be back. Sort of like a flight plan for a day trip on the road.

What kind of picnic foods did they have in Revolutionary War-era America? Find out about Evie’s ‘fast food, Colonial-style’ in Naked in the Winter Wind, the tale of a 21st-century woman who finds herself in a new and improved body in 1780s North Carolina.

THE FAIRIES SAGA: Thirteen books about friends and family who bounce between the 18th and 21st centuries, fighting bad guys and the elements, striving to make new lives in their little corner of North Carolina.

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About Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.  View website

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