Sunday, June 12, 2011

AML: Pondering picnic food - 'normal' and not - and its power to bring us together |

While cleaning up after our annual Memorial Day potluck picnic barbecue, my daughter Hao Hao asked, “Who brought the potato salad? That was random.”

A lifetime of mayonnaise angst flashed through my head and I explained, “Actually, potato salad is a pretty normal thing to bring to picnics.”

“Really?” She had never even noticed.

I think she associates potato salad with Easter, since that is the only time I ever make it. With four children, we always end up dying a lot of Easter eggs, so that translates into a lot of potato salad (inevitably multicolored) in the days following — usually so much that we cannot even bear to think about it again until the following Easter.

I recall the many family picnics we have had in Gallup Park and the fun of preparing Spam musubi, onigiri, inari sushi, edamame, teriyaki chicken. Watching for rain, I start cooking early in the morning, pack everything up into beautiful big bento boxes, throw in our much-loved Hello Kitty picnicware and our trusty Nepalese picnic blanket, and hop onto our bikes for a day at the park.

This isn’t what other people bring to picnics? What is normal picnic food?

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