It is the end of July, the Minnesota State Fair is in the news, back to school ads are on TV, major stores have large sections of school supplies, and “I’m bored,” is heard more often by parents than a few weeks ago. Yes, we are on the short side of summer now.
So it’s time to enjoy the warm and longer days while we can. One of the great traditions of summer is the picnic. Whether it’s simply taking your lunch to a park and eating on a bench, or gathering every relative you never knew you had and meeting at a local park for a family reunion, or a dinner in the backyard with a few friends and family members – picnics are part of the summer fabric, especially in places known for colder weather. You know places like the Scandinavian countries and the frozen four (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas).
Here’s an idea for a different kind of picnic – a midnight sun picnic. People in Nordic countries often embrace the midnight sun by having outdoor activities all night long — including picnics. Even though we don’t have the midnight sun here, with the addition of some candles, torches, lanterns, and even that new fangled invention called electricity you can have a late night picnic. (And by late night that can be anywhere from 7:00 to 10:00, as long as we are done in time to watch the news and get a good night’s sleep.)
Every picnic has four necessary components: tasty bites, an easy main course, plentiful drink and a little game time for family fun. (Plus, in Minnesota at least it should also have some sort of insect repellant and something to keep the napkins from flying away.)
Tasty Bites: Put out the standard items like fruit, veggies, chips, cheeses but for a Scandinavian touch maybe add some flatbreads or Uff da Chips.
Main course: It’s a picnic so, of course, that means BBQ. Stock up on anything you want to BBQ. There’s actually a word in Norwegian ‘grillmat’ that means anything that can throw on the grill. You can get hamburger, old-fashioned hot dogs, and other items to grill at Ingebretsen’s market. Stop in and ask the guys behind the counter for suggestions. If you serve hot dogs make it a lefse dog – it is much lighter than a standard bun.
Plentiful drink: Sodas, beer, lemonade, and maybe this is the time to try Aquavit, the spirit of Scandinavia.
A little game time for fun: Klubb by Moonlight sounds like a wonderful time. Or that favorite Scandinavian card game: Gå och fiska (go fish).
Picnics are great fun, but can have many challenges too:
Hope you get a chance to have a lot more picnics this season, before it’s too late.