Monday, June 18, 2012

Time To Stage a Picnic Game! It's International Picnic Day!

Can you believe it's that time of year again? Not only is it International Picnic Day, it's also time to play The Picnic Game!
Before we review the Picnic Game "rules", I want to tell you about a fabulous picnic related Give-Away Mary is having. You see this Vintage Style Metal Picnic Basket pictured below?

Would you like a chance to win it? It's brimming with goodies too! Well then, just take a quick sail on over to Home Is Where the Boat Is and leave a comment. But hurry, a winner will be chosen on June 25, 2012.
Okay, now that you're back, let's talk picnics. It's "Potluck and a Talent Show" as Kathryn McGowan puts it in her enjoyable article A Brief History of the Picnic. When you think about it, a picnic is the outside stage of gatherings.
"When the tradition of picnicking began in the early 1900s in England, the Picnic Society of London would gather for theatrical events and each guest would bring a dish to an elaborate indoor buffet. (Potluck anyone?)...Breaking Bread and sharing food are age old symbols of friendship. Bread, the most basic of foods enriches any meal and lies at the heart of every picnic. One imagines a crusty loaf of French bread with a good cheese and a nice red wine."~The Picnic Gourmet by Joan Hemingway and Connie Marich. (© 1976)

Setting the stage for great food and great fun is as easy or elaborate as you make it. Whether it be an impromptu lakeside picnic such as Mary's,

Or at Monet's [sumptuous] Table,

Foraging along nature's paths is a picnic work of art.

...The Cavaliere returned with zealous speed, accompanied by one of the servants of the inn, who bore a basket containing the materials of a rustic luncheon. The porter of the villa was easily induced to furnish a table and half a dozen chairs, and the repast when set forth was pronounced a perfect success; not so good as to fail of an amusing disorder, nor yet so bad as to defeat the proper function of repasts...
I found that tasty tidbit above in the book The Novels and Tales of Henry James by Henry James in an interesting article I was reading titled Elizabeth David on Picnics. Intrigued, I spent a bit of time reading a few pages of Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David and to my delight, she had a charming way of putting the picnic repertoire in prospective.
"Picnic addicts seem to be roughly divided between those who frankly make elaborate preparations and leave nothing to chance, and those others whose organization is no less complicated but who are more deceitful and pretend that everything will be obtained on the spot and cooked over a woodcutter's fire, conveniently to hand; there are even those, according to Richard Jefferies, who wisely take the precaution of visiting the site of their intended picnic some days beforehand and then buying the champagne."

A Tisket A Tasket

Of course, our picnic is an online Picnic Game. A bit whimsical, a lot Ratatouille with Chicken Shangri La tossed in! Dishes from various cultures mix happily on our picnic menu. It begins like this, I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing...I've got a better idea, since many of you have played the Picnic Game before, how about I just show this video I found on how to play the traditional Picnic Game:
Easy peasy, right? Let's sum it up. Basically, it's very simple. You choose a letter of the alphabet which matches the title of the dish you would like to bring to the picnic and post it on your blog.
The traditional memory game starts when one player recites: "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing an ___."  (a delicious dish) that starts with the letter A; for instance Apple Pie)
The second player says, "I'm going on a picnic, and I'm bringing an Apple Pie. (the same "A" word(s) the first player used, in this case an Apple Pie) and ___." Here's where you add the B word like, Blueberry Muffins.
Each player recites on their blog what the person before is bringing and adds what they're bringing until we reach the end of the alphabet. Take a quick look at last year's Round-up and you'll get the general idea. Of course, if you have any questions, just leave a comment or email me acalenda [at] gmail [dot] com. I should mention, I've started a Pinterest Picnic Game board so if you would rather your links aren't included on it, please let me know:)

1. Since this is a virtual picnic game, Anyone, Anywhere can play. I do request that recipes be posted in English or have easy access to translation.

2. Choose your letter but don't take too long. The "easy" letters seem to go pretty quickly. Leave a comment on this post with the letter you have chosen. For instance, if you want to bring a dish to the picnic, that begins with the letter "A," your comment must be left before another person chooses that letter. We can only have one letter of the alphabet for each dish.  Note: If you would like to choose a backup letter just in case your chosen letter is taken, that would be GREAT too.

3. I will let you know if you can bring your dish to the picnic by leaving a You're Invited! comment on your blog. "You're Invited" will be your signal to grab a copy of the Picnic Game logo above and prepare a post for the Picnic Game Round-Up. Now, here's the difficult part. Since the Picnic Game is listed in alphabetical order, you may feel a bit like a contortionist trying to get your post up while still leaving room for the letters and delicious looking images that will be preceding yours. Just make a mental note and it should all work out fine. I'm always here for any questions and once we get going, I'll have many samples to show you I'm sure:)


1. Select a recipe that begins with your chosen letter and write a post about it on your blog. You must list what the people before you are bringing. That's why it's called the Picnic Game! I will email you with those links and images, as soon as they are emailed to me.
2. Include the Picnic Day Logo in your post with a link back to this post.
3. Email me at acalenda {at} gmail {dot} com (it would be really nice of you to include Picnic Game in the subject line) In the email please include the following.

a. Your name
b. Your blog's name
c. Your post URL
d. The name of your recipe
e. An image of your dish and also let me know if you give me permission to pass the image along to other picnickers and whether you mind if it is included on Pinterest.

4. If you would like to bring more than one dish to the picnic, you are more than welcome. Just note it in the email and include items C-E for each additional dish.
5. Please email me as soon as you know what you are bringing. No later than Friday, June 29, 2012, midnight EST. The sooner the better so I can forward your link to the other picnickers.
6. I will be posting the entire list of Picnic Game recipes by midnight July 1st just in time for National Picnic Month! If for some reason, there are not enough entries by that time, I'll do my best to fill in the blanks.
7. If you would like to host the Picnic Day Game on your blog, and get your visitors involved, be my guest. The more the merrier. Just let me know. (this would require another set of picnic letters from A-Z and a bit of enjoyable work on the part of the hostess:) We would just, shall I say, "link our picnic "blankets" together:)
8. I'll be doing blog updates with available letters and such during the course of "playing."

FYI: I don't know about you, but sometimes I get discombobulated when I visit someone's blog and when I try to view an image, Blogger's Lightbox devours my screen. If you too find it annoying, it's really very simple to remedy. Check out How to Disable Blogger's Lightbox.
So, are you ready to play the Picnic Game? Choose a letter, leave a comment and let the toting begin!!!

If you  the Picnic Game, please use this hash tag #picnicgame. I forgot to do it myself:) 

Update June 26th: The letters are all taken! Our basket is brimming with goodies! Just you wait and see:)

1. Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David (@New York Book Reviews)
2. Moonlight Picnic
3. A Pretty Picnic To Celebrate Spring...
4. Archery Hunting in the Middle Ages
5. Piquer Nique