August 18, 2005

Do you like picnics?

I don't. What's the point?

49 comments:

tommy said...

Eat First. Then go to the park.

Too Many Jims said...

Not a big fan of them myself, food and bugs don't mix.

Too Many Jims said...

Did you need a change of pace from your other posting Ann? You could always revisit the PJ media vs. blogads? Does the increase in traffic make you even happier (though I know your motivations were not strictly pecuniary) that you are sticking with blogads?

Ann Althouse said...

Jim: No. The topic came up in the comments to the eco-tourism post earlier today. And I haven't had an increase in traffic since those old pajama posts.

Freeman Hunt said...

No. The breeze is always blowing on the picnic blanket, napkins, and one's hair. Then there are, of course, the bugs. And usually either the ground is damp or the sun is too bright and hot. It's also awkward trying to sit on the ground and eat from a plate that is also on the ground--most often one just has to hold the plate in one hand and the fork in the other. No fun for eating. No thanks.

Ann Althouse said...

But if you mean the flood of short-fused poor readers that got sent over here today, yeah, that hasn't exactly been a picnic. Or walk in the park — sans food. It was an interesting look into the minds of the sort of people who hang out on those rabble-rousing blogs, but they're really boring after a while. It's that MoveOn.org mentally that gets a core group of people all fired up and then can't remember how to talk to regular people. Pretty sad actually.

Ann Althouse said...

And the food is never what you want to eat. And there's always that picnic-enthusiast making picnic-related conversation and telling you that the food tastes better outdoors or some such nonsense.

D-Day said...

I'm always disappointed by picnics. It's always too hot, so that by the time you get there, the food is vaguely scary. Why is it that people always insist on bringing mayonnaise-based salads to outdoor meals?

Nels said...

How elaborate must it be to qualify as a picnic? Does there have to be a checkered blanket, wooden basket, thermos full of hot soup, or even a fold-out table? Too much preparation and one might as well stay indoors, but I do very much enjoy sitting in the grass, under the shade of a tree and in the company of others, while eating a sandwich and an apple out of a backpack.

goldsoundsz said...

What about if you're on a day hike? A picnic is sort of required then. And I've had some pretty nice day-hikes-with-a-break-for-lunch-and-eat-outside's before.

That said if I'm in civilazation a picnic in the park is silly. I don't like eating outside at restaurants much either. Unless it's truly perfect weather outside.

Freeman Hunt said...

And the food is never what you want to eat. And there's always that picnic-enthusiast making picnic-related conversation and telling you that the food tastes better outdoors or some such nonsense.

So true. And always cold. Cold hamburger or sandwich with potato salad, potato chips, and cold baked beans; everything running together on the paper plate. Yeck.

Oh and everyone having to constantly chase around the trash from food packaging that blows away.

Why do people go on picnics?

mrgumby2u said...

I find it interesting that none of your readers seem to like picnics. I don't think I've ever met such a person.

Brendan said...

If you're young, in love, and live close to Central Park, fine. Otherwise, screw it.

me said...

Picnic is a very broad term, and within that broad term, there are very nice picnics.

In the end, the people make the picnic, and if you are sorrounded by good people, then it is a good picnic.

The food is secondary, but since most picnics require everyone to bring a dish, there is individual responsibility if the food is inadequate.

It's fun to watch the people picnic too, e.g., at Devil's Lake or around the parks in Madison.

downtownlad said...

I was invited to a picnic about a month back with some good friends.

I said I couldn't go, because I had other plans.

I lied.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, mayonnaise. I could do a separate "do you like mayonnaise?" post, but suffice it to say, mayonnaise is way overused. I like chicken salad or tuna salad made with mayonnaise, but a reasonable amount, and not taken out of the refrigerator and left to warm up! I have never in my life eaten the sort of potato salad that's cold and made with mayonnaise. And, of course, you know -- if you've been here a while -- how I feel about egg salad. So mayonnaise should be questioned. It's a questionable substance. The other day, I saw a woman in a crumpled ruffled ballgown, sitting on the church steps down on campus. She had with her a scruffy dog, who was wearing boxer shorts. No kidding. She also had a chrome toaster. And, my friends, she had one other item: a big jar of Hellman's mayonnaise.

Bob said...

My mother thought that picnic meals should include Jello with peas mixed in.

EddieP said...

I don't go to picnics unless I know there's a screened in porch and a table at which to eat. Furthermore, I want a hammock or recliner that I can hog!

Scipio said...

Although I loathe a picnic, I have to say that I have a very good memory of a family picnic we had during the time of my uncle's funeral. My family is deeply involved in a summer camp in Illinois, and during camp, we learned that my uncle had died in Milwaukee. We drove up there, and before the funeral (the day after the visitation) we had an impromptu picnic of hot ham and kaiser rolls in one of Milwaukee's many beautiful parks.

k said...

Oh, man. I LOVE picnic food. I adore cold fried chicken and nearly every kind of salad. And mayo has gotten such a bad rap. I believe all the food poisoning over the years was mainly due to the semi-warm protein entrees (like lukewarm burgers, sitting there attracting flies), not the salads. The lemon juice in mayonnaise turns out to be just the pH-ifier to keep germs at bay. Really, it's true. Plus, a lot of people drink a lot of beer at picnics, and couldn't that be the cause of some picnic-induced sickness?

Ok, that having been said, I DESPISE picnics. Give me my picnic food indoors in the air-conditioning, please, where my iced tea doesn't get all melty and I don't have to fight with aforementioned flies. If you just gotta have some outdoorsy feel, turn on the ceiling fan and maybe spray on Off!. (One of my favorite phrases ... Spray on Off!)

katiebakes said...

Wow! You guys sure do seem grumpy today!

I like picnics, myself. We bring out Crazy Creeks so we can sit a little more comfortably.

It's not ALWAYS windy, you know. Ants don't just APPEAR at the first tiny bite of food. Sandwiches are often cold ... hence the term "cold cuts." What's so bad about that?

I think maybe you aren't drinking enough wine at your picnics. Maybe then you'll enjoy them a little more.

(Mayo is questionable. I do agree with that.)

DannyNoonan said...

Does tailgating before a Packer game count as a picknic? I suppose the bugs wouldn't be an issue since it's on concrete and in the fall/winter. But eating outside in that context is the best! Hot grill and bloody marys required.

Lars said...

Picnics are too much work, usually for the woman.

Brendan said...

Real men don't eat drumsticks sprawled out on the ground like a savage.

bearing said...

For anyone who doesn't like picnic food: try this, only put some meat in it---say, turkey and cappacolla. You can skip enough of the refrigeration for this to make good picnic food.

The same idea works with almost any sandwich filling. For example, I often make one with an olive oil/tuna salad filling and roasted red peppers.

Beagle said...

I love picnics. From the kind that are little more than a bottle of wine (opened with my trusty swiss army knife), a crunchy fresh baguette, and a lumpy of runny Brie, consumed with one or two fellow backpackers while seated on a park bench along the Seine; to the communal feast on giant blankets set on a green lawn along the bank of the Dordogne, where everyone has brought their family specialy (tandoori lamb kebabs; chicken livers sauteeed with bacon, garlic, parsley and fresh cream; slivers of sirloin tips a rich Dijon mustard sauce; chilled poached salmon in a lemony dill sauce with transparent slices of cucumber; champagne punch made with tine "fraise des bois" strawberries) illuminated by the Bastille Day fireworks bursting overhead.

Hmmm. On second thought, I guess I like picnics in France.

cowboy99 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cwoo2005 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Commenters are doing a good job of describing idealized picnics that even a picnic Scrooge would have to love (inclucing the classic football tailgate).

Brendan said...

Forget ants. The bigger problem is cartoon bears stealing your pic-a-nic basket.

chuck b. said...

I like picnics at the beach more than picnics in the park, but we don't call that a picnic; we call it "going to the beach". But since there's always food, drinks and a blanket, it's gotta be a picnic.

Finn Kristiansen said...

I never liked picnics though I want to like them. Beagle's post above makes picnics sounds like those pictures one sees in Saveur magazine, where the light, the food, the company, and the place is all perfect.

Unfortunately my picnics have involved the following:

1) Fighting with ants, bees and flies over the integrity of my food, skin, hair, space, butt crack.

2) Trying to sit in such a way that my butt crack remains covered, and not an open theme park for said ants to go to "find themselves" or engage in alternate sexuality. (I am big boned okay? Just shush it!!)

3) Having my pleasant music drowned out by various really large families of indeterminate ethnicity, who want to share with me their love of polka, salsa, mariachi, rap or gospel.

4) Debates over whether the things in the salad are really pepper or not; invariably it ends with me sitting with plate of salad, a spoonful in my mouth, and someone saying, "Oh wait, that WASN'T pepper in there" as I glance up at pigeons flying overhead.

5) The sun shining down making me sweat and less attractive to the women jogging by who are ignoring me.

6) Looking behind me and seeing a group of attractive people--including several busty women--playing volleyball while I am sitting there munching on egg salad and engaging in witty banter like, "This is good isn't it," all of us nodding our heads in agreement, then silence, before someone again says, "Mmm, this is really, really good isn't it?"

7) Happy dog owner 10 yards away gladly scooping up little chihuahua's poo with a clear plastic bag over their hand.

Picnics are mostly stupid for regular people. (Oh, and barbecues and tailgating are not picnics).

Ann Althouse said...

Finn: LOL. Especially #2. And you need to know that nothing makes a man less attractive than his eating an egg salad sandwich.

Wave Maker said...

I live less than a mile from the ocean south of boston, and I eat outside on my own deck daily,overlooking a tidal march -- easy, convenient, at home. But there is something about packing some tupperware full of whatever and a bottle of wine and eating it sitting with your feet on the soft warm sand at sunset that makes home feel like a thousand miles away.

Picnics: Attitude is everything.

ploopusgirl said...

LOL. Yah Brendan, REAL men sit at home in front of their computers whining about picnics on their favorite internet blog pounding back a Big Mac and a six pack!

Brendan said...

As usual, Ploopy, you've lost me. Now be a dear and swallow 100 sleeping pills. Later.

ploopusgirl said...

Oh, sry, Brendan. I luv 2 u. :>

An aside to my favorite Miss Althouse: You closed your comments on that other thread! :< Actually just wanted to say that I think you were correct in your assessment of the London situation. When we try to take positives from negatives, we usually can. You were able to do that and I applaud that. Don't generalize the whole left though! We're not all hurtful, unreasonable, and, well, stupid! :> Opa!!

Ann Althouse said...

Ploopusgirl: Thanks. I did go out of my way to avoid using the word stupid, but maybe you read my mind. I think there's a noisy on-line version of the left that more mellow, reasonable folk ought to try to counterbalance. There aren't enough reasonable lefties on the web! I mean I personally know some, but they don't blog about politics.

Steven said...

You must pick the food correctly. If you need a fork or spoon at the picnic grounds, then you've picked the wrong food. Same if you need a plate or other vessel for the food (drinks excepted), as opposed to a plate being somewhere handy to set down your food for a moment so both hands are free. The food must further be something you'd willingly eat at room temperature at home, and only produces trash that's unlikely to blow away. For best results, drinks should be consumed from the original packaging (if you're splitting a bottle of wine, do it with a lover and with a wine that doesn't need to breathe).

After you've made those adjustments to the menu, it's relatively easy to have a good picnic. You still need to intelligently pick location, time/weather, and company, but the correct choice of food will have already made it so much easier that enjoying yourself will not be too hard.

bill said...

More fuel for Ann's mayonnaise phobia.

bill said...

Steven: I'm not sure, but it sounds like you've described the dining habits of most of the homeless in the parks.

Drethelin said...

no

Simon Kenton said...

I told my daughter that, either on specific suspicion or on general principles, she should pass an open jar of mayonnaise in front of her suitors. If one recoiled in horror and began to wretch, good. The fellow in question is a bachelor, who recognizes mayonnaise as the deadly poison it is. If the suitor says, "O! Mayonnaise. How nice, dear," then she should hit the red button, blow the canopy, and bail out: the rogue is operating under false pretenses. Only married men can eat mayonnaise without intolerable risk.

Steve Donohue said...

In defense of picnicing- there are few things I enjoy in life than an evening at the Ravinia Festival in North-suburban Chicago sitting on the lawn with a bottle of wine and listing to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It's the absolute perfect ambiance for dining- sundown, somfortable temperatures, candlelight, and America's premeire orchestra.

Earth Girl said...

I cook over a campfire at our river property about once a week from April through October. The large plastic storage box is equipped with everything I need, so I just do the prep work at home and throw it in the cooler. The real skill is building the cookfire so I can roast, simmer, medium boil, grill at the same time. And why is everyone sitting on the ground? We have picnic tables here in Indiana.

Goesh said...

- location and time of year have alot to do with it - dont leave food out after dining - most folks on a picnic end up about 20' from the next bunch of folks doing the same thing - the whole idea is peace and quiet and the real sights and sounds of nature, not some barren city park with a bunch of brats running around and the usual sounds of a city -

Aaron said...

I read/skimmed all the posts and for the life of me I think I never saw the word Bar B Q or Barbeque or some other spelling. Outdoor cooking is great great fun. Maybe not as fun for guests but for those lucky enough to work the grill... FUN!

Does this not count as picnic? If it doesn't I don't think meals eaten during a hike get to count either.

BARBQUE!!!!!!

Daryl Herbert said...

Does it count as a picnic if you have ants in your keyboard because crumbs keeps falling in?

Thumper said...

As wavemaker said, "attitude is everything." Most of the complaints you people have about picnics apply to most outdoor activities. Is there a larger issue here for you?