by Chrysa Smith

We were on a nice family outing to a nice family party about three hours from home. My mother, now 88, reminisced about the days spent up in that area of NY; the younger days when the family would meet up for the day at a park, grill, swim, chat and generally enjoy each other’s company.

“You know,” I said, “whatever happened to picnics? Nobody does them anymore.” The car was quiet.

Is it our modern day time crunch, running to and fro, always too busy to stop being so busy? Is it just a change in venue, where modern day picnics take place at the beach, tailgate parties or in someone’s backyard? Is it just too much of a hassle to pack all of this food when it’s just so much easier to eat or order out?

Whatever the reasons, I can’t help but think that picnics are not only a fun way to dine–(ala in the park with ants, bees and other flying, stinging insects), but also, a nice way to s l o w d o w n. Fast food, quick eats and ‘get it in 10 minutes or your meal is free’ aren’t great inventions in my world. Why, even at a nicer restaurant, when my family went without reservations, we were actually asked by the matre’ d, “Well, how long do you think it will take you to eat?”

So today’s column may not be so much of a food commentary, but a commentary on slowing down your food consumption; even if you don’t have that nice Longaberger picnic basket. Here are some of my modern takes on slowing down enough to eat while sitting down, taking your time and letting your food spend some time in your digestive tract before you run off to shop for more food.

  • Take your sandwich to the park during lunch time, admire the trees, watch the birds and breathe
  • Gather your friends together at the local park for a smorgasbord served under a pavilion-where everyone brings one dish to share
  • Or if you really want to do it up, check out a polo game. They picnic in a most civilized way— to slow down with wine, cheese and crackers before sitting down to watch dashing young men on fast horses.