What food should we bring? cold baked beans, potato salad (no onions in it please), salmon sandwiches, tomatoes. I honestly can't remember the food that we ate at some of the picnics that I have attended. Today when I attend a function, I take my pistachio salad. I have a thermos style bowl with a lid to keep the salad cold.
Pistachio Salad (can be doubled)
1 package of pistachio jello pudding
1 container of cool whip or equivalent
1 can of pineapple chunks or crushed pineapple with the juice.
The day before the event, put the cool whip in the refrigerator so that it softens.
Mix all the ingredients together. Put it in the thermos container and leave it in the refrigerator until it is time to leave. Put in a container to keep cold until it is time to eat. [If I am making this for a gathering at home, it goes in a glass bowl. To fancy it up, I add fruit salad without the juice and small coloured marshmallows.]
When I checked our family photograph albums, I found photos of family picnics with my mother's side of the family up on the Manitoulin Island. I am quite young in the photos so I don't remember them at all. I imagine the picnics were quite informal with my older cousins watching the younger ones.
Love family picnic 1955 at Lake Mindemoya, photo in possession of Janet IlesWe went to Sunday School picnics when I was a child. This were held on Wednesday afternoons if I recall. There would be races and prizes for each age group. Now we have church family gatherings with barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers. The last couple of years we have gone to Storybook Park. That is fun for everyone young and old.
My dad's side of the family have had a number of reunions (descendants of my great-grandfather). The last one was in 1994. Several times, we had potluck and I can remember the food being tasty. Many years we had the meal catered to so that family members could visit and not have to spend time in the kitchen cleaning up.
A favourite event of these reunions would be the entertainment by the Iles family band. Many of the Iles relations play a musical instrument. I was never part of this band. A couple of times, the band performed for the public at Sauble Beach.
Iles family band 1981 or 1982 at Sauble Beach, Ontario photo in the possession of Janet Iles
We also have a magician in the family. Young and old enjoy watching the tricks.
Magician Jack Fearnall, watched by David Iles and Adam Duffy. 1980 at Sauble Beach Community Centre, photo in possession of Janet Iles
At one family reunion, each of the senior members introduced their children, who then introduced their children. It was fun to make the connections.
It never really mattered at the reunions or family gatherings what we did or what we ate, what made it special was being together.