I am completely convinced that our Michigan summers are the best summers anywhere. They are generally not too humid, not too cold with a just the right amount of sunshine to make picnics, days at the beach and backyard barbeques perfect past times.
My childhood family picnics are some of my most treasured summer memories. It seemed like back then more people went on picnics. There were church picnics, company picnics, end of school picnics, reunion picnics and family picnics. I remember my mother packed a lovely spread on Saturday night, and we would go on a Sunday drive to an area park, mostly Potter Park to enjoy our family dinner in a new, exciting venue! She usually had fried chicken, potato salad, carrot & celery sticks, deviled eggs, cut melon, cold pork and beans out of a can (not a favorite) and a yummy dessert. Sometimes my mommy would pack a pie, but usually a brownie or a bar of some sort.
I remember when it rained on family vacations; we would have our picnics inside the old woody station wagon. This was always a little chaotic with eight people; my parents, six kids (we always took our best friend, Sheila,) a dog, and lots of luggage crammed in the hot, non-air conditioned family vehicle. My mother had little baskets, which I loved, with our name written on a napkin tucked in each lunch basket. She made each one identically the same, so there were no arguments, from her front seat, make-shift kitchen. I remember each of us wanting our lunch basket first, for it took some time to get through eight lunches, and certainly the last one fed could easily get short changed an apple slice or potato chip! For the most part, the lunches were a little plain in fare, but clearly the highlight of the long, hot ten-hour car ride. The menu usually consisted of a cut-up apple quarter, celery stalks with peanut butter, a lettuce wedge for thirst and a few random potato chips. Sometimes, when we were well behaved, my daddy would splurge and buy us all Planter’s peanut candy bars when we stopped to fill the gas tank up. What a treat!
“You don't have to go on a journey, You really need not travel far, You can have a delightful vacation at home or wherever you are!” -- Mrs. Roy Peifer
I am not sure why picnics have fallen out of favor, but I implore we bring them back.Why not take your loved ones to a nearby park or beach with a basket full of yummy food that they don’t ordinarily eat. When my family goes on Sunday beach picnics, I often take various artisan cheeses, breads, crackers, special fruits, olives, cut veggies with dips and dessert of course! I also love to pack special novelty ice cold drinks. It makes the picnic so special. They love the unconventional delicious lunch! It’s always about the food, you know. :) And there is nothing, nothing like Lake Michigan for the perfect picnic venue! To make your picnic extra special, remember to bring along a pie, if not your own, then of course, an award winning, Sweetie-licious pie!
I am enclosing a wonderful blonde brownie recipe that Mom Hundt still makes on Sundays and very similar to the one Mom McComb used to pack on those wonderful Sunday picnics.
Eat pie, picnic, and love life! -- xoxxo Linda
Mom Hundt’s and Mom McComb’s Blondie Brownies
- 1¼ C. flour
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ C. chopped fine pecans or walnuts
- 1/4 C. chocolate chips
- 1/4 C. butterscotch chips
Combine in bowl
- 1/2 C. melted butter
- 1 C. brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1½ tsp. vanilla
Cream together. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Spread into one nine inch buttered pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes to 30 minutes. Cut in pie wedges.
As a kid, I loved summer meals, and still do. I love their flavorful charm and appreciate their effortless preparation. I believe that the simple, comfortable meals of the summer and every season will always be our favorites.
Both of my parents grew up on farms, so for sentimental reasons, we always had a small garden patch to enjoy in the summer. We only grew a few vegetables, as space was limited, but green onions, green beans and various tomato plants were in abundance. As small as the garden was, it certainly was prolific, flourishing in its southern exposure and bordered by my Daddy’s sunny marigolds. Come August, the tomatoes seemed magical, as there were always several Big Boy reds ready to be picked each and every hot, summer day.
Given our own garden and Daddy’s bi-weekly visits to the farm market, there was never, ever a dinner set in the summer without a large plate of fresh summer vegetables. Usually, my Mommy always set a platter of tomatoes, radishes, and green onions, a yellow Pyrex bowl filled with cucumbers/onions and vinegar, a steaming pot of boiled fresh, sweet corn, a bowl of sweet, sliced peaches, big glasses of iced sun tea and a basket filled with homemade cornbread and honey.
Yet, as much as I loved these dinners, summer lunches were, and still are my favorite! To this day, there is nothing like a freshly picked tomato sandwich. Unlike the repetitious nature of making the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the fresh, summer tomato sandwich’s creation had some adventure. Hurrying to the garden and picking a beautiful ripe red wonder, warm from the garden sun, was clearly fun and different. White Wonder bread was a must, spread with a thin layer of Miracle Whip salad dressing, topped with a layer of delicious, fresh tomatoes sprinkled with plenty of salt and pepper. That is it… simple perfection.
“It is difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a home-grown tomato.” -- Lewis Grizzard
Every time I take a bite of fresh corn on the cob, or a fresh tomato sandwich, it takes me back to a 1970s summer day, eating this delightful summer food, waiting for it to get dark to catch fireflies.
Eat summer veggies, love life! xoxxolinda
Summertime in Michigan is delightful, always has been to me. While growing up, I remember summer days as long, hot, and enchanting. Not too many folks had pools in our neighborhood, so on scorching summer days the garden hose and sprinkler were your best friends. I remember the numbing cold water hitting our wiry kid bodies and the grass sticking to our dirty little summer feet. We ran around giggling, screaming, playing made up games to fight the back and forth repetition of the sprinkler. This was classic summer.
My twin sister and I had a little friend around the corner that had the ultimate sprinkler. It was an old cement elephant sprinkler that stood about three feet off the ground. Its paint was mostly all chipped off except for a red decorative collar around its neck. He had a sweet grin and his trunk stuck up in the air where the water squirted out in a circular fashion. Unfortunately he didn’t work very well, but the idea of getting kind of wet with a special sprinkler always seemed more pleasing than getting really wet with an ordinary one!
I feel that way about food still, as I believe most “foodies” do. I would rather eat small amounts of delicious, one of a kind food rather than large amounts of ordinary, mundane food any day of the week! Perhaps the little old sprinkler elephant around the corner had the secret to a happy food life filled in his chipped trunk; less, is indeed more!
eat pie, love life… xoxo linda
I kept thinking of these words all day today - "Daddy's Home." For many of us, and I wish It were for all of us, those words will always mean - all is right with the world!
As I remember it, the minute my sweet dad walked through the front door, a serenity seemed to fill the entire house. Suddenly and magically, no problem seemed so big, no homework seemed so impossible, and no argument with my brothers was that catastrophic. For my daddy's smile would fill the rooms with sunshine, his mind with sage guidance, and his heart with loving security. All was good, all was right, when daddy got home!
Though he will no longer walk through our front door again, I know he will always be with our family. My dad will always be at home in my heart, and I will never tire of hearing the lovely words strung together as; "Daddy's Home!" I hope you had such a dad, or you will become one!