When the early Autumn kicks in, it’s time to enjoy your last warm evenings together and plan a picnic!
You’ll find that many different factors influence the picnic planning. It might be weather conditions, the number of attendees, cost or dietary requirements to name a few. So forward planning is a must, and that’s why we created this cheat sheet. You’ll find everything you need to know to plan the perfect picnic for family & friends.
I want to give you a few historical facts to explain to you why it’s important and useful for you to plan gatherings. As you all know I have the Bio-Archaeology degree and from the archeological perspective food and especially sharing food plays a big role in our society. It shifted from a physiological essential for survival to a social necessity of sharing food.
As I read in one book food as biological necessity plays an active role in constructing and negotiating social distinctions. So commensality – eating and drinking at the same table – from it’s deep roots is a fundamental social activity, which creates and cements relationships.
Why not to strengthen the bond over a meal? let me share the best practices to plan and prepare for your picnic.
Gathering Friends & Family
Amazingly, setting size of a picnic and deciding the number of people gives main aspect on picnic planning. You should make a list of people who likely to attend to now if they have any special requirements, like food preferences etc.
Prepare your invitations and send them via E-mail, text or using a social media platform. You can also go beyond the limits and send the invites in the old fashioned way by writing a handmade cards.
The beauty of a picnic is the freedom by selecting a location. By saying freedom I mean that you can do it anywhere, but you still need to think about two elements: table and the food.
A fundamental element of meals is commensality. The word derives from the Latin com = together with, and mensa = table. We eat at a table, or at least a specific place intended for a meal, such as a mat on the ground. Even when we plan a picnic in an outdoor location we always carry something to put our food on. Humans are not simply what they eat but how and where they eat.
Simply bringing the table into to the middle of the field or by the lake can create a tremendous feeling for your event.
Also while in our modern society the table is less and less the center of our family life, we still want to feel the warmth created by the shared meal together. Nowadays when we usually eat at the computer, standing in the kitchen, lounging on the sofa in front of the television, in the car or on the go on the street. The picnic helps us bring back the feeling of a low pace of life.
We moved to the last piece of the picni, which some people think is the most important one. But without knowing the two things above, you shouldn’t move to this point.
When you know how many people are coming and more importantly who are coming you can decite the meal you’ll share. Also don’t forget the factor of your location. If it’s some remote place, don’t plan a meal which should be eaten hot or requires “kitchen” elements to be served. Choose simple meals. One of our examples is pizza. I should mention the factor that we served it in a very remote cottage, but it still can be eaten cold! So we share the recipe with you.
Our all time favorite pizza recipe
Makes enough dough for three 25-30 cm pizzas
– 500g spelt flour
– 1,25 cup warm water
– 0,5 package (50g) of active yeast
– 0,25 teaspoons salt
– Olive oil
– Tomato paste
– Vegan cheese, grated
– Fresh tomatoes
– Black olives
– Onions, thinly sliced
– Mushrooms, thinly sliced
– Chopped fresh basil, added as pizza comes out of the oven
- In large bowl, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water (few tablespoons); let stand for 5 minutes. Add salt. Stir in flour until a soft dough forms.
- Turn onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl with a bit of flour on the bottom and stir some on the top. Cover and let rise above pot with hot water for about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the ingredients.
- When the dough is ready. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into large rounds, about 25cm across, using a rolling pin. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise in the oven. Lift the rounds onto baking sheets.
- Top and bake. Smooth oil over bases and then sauce with the back of a spoon. Top with all other ingredients.Bake at 200° for 15 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Serve with fresh basil leaves.
I invite you to look at life through the kitchen and explore unknown horizons. Share your meal with old friends and bond again with them. Anyone can bond over a meal. Start creating social distinctions and building relationships.
We were dining with our good friends from farmed animals sanctuary (you can read a story about who they are and what they do here) that evening when the pictures were taken, therefore I want to leave you with one quote:
the peace starts at the kitchen table.
Share your picnic experiences bellow or what you have planned for a special evening.
Thoughts by Eisve Treciakauskaite
Photos by Justinas Lekavicius