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15 Delightful Picnic Traditions From Around The World

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The earliest known picnics were extravagant outdoor meals meant for groups of medieval royal hunters. Picnics would remain fancy meals for the wealthy throughout the Victorian Era, before eventually shifting to simple meals that anyone could pack in a bag and enjoy in the sunshine. Now, cultures across the world have added their own spin on eating outdoors, adding games, specialty foods, and specific holidays to enjoy dining alfresco.


Cherry blossom season announces spring’s arrival in Japan, along with the start of hanami—or cherry blossom-viewing picnics—season. To celebrate both, many Japanese spend warm days picnicking beneath the sakura blooms. The tradition is so popular—and the timeframe to enjoy the blossoms is so fleeting—that many parks are packed to the brim with friends and families enjoying homemade dishes (though food vendors peddle among picnickers who didn’t pack enough snacks, and department stores market hanami bento boxes).


While the upper hemisphere mostly dreams of a white Christmas during the snowflake and cold-weather season, Argentineans celebrate the holiday outdoors with Christmas picnics. These holiday events often take place on beaches or at home on patios, complete with roasted or barbecued turkey, pork, or goat.


Britain’s relationship with picnics dates back to the Middle Ages, when royalty would eat out of doors during hunting parties. But it wasn’t until the late 18th century when one of the UK’s most iconic picnic foods emerged: the Scotch egg. Self-proclaimed creator Fortnum & Mason fried sausage-wrapped boiled eggs as a luxury lunch item for upperclass travelers, as they became known for being easy to eat on the road. In years since, the savory snack has become popular among picnickers looking to pack a filling dish that can be served cold—perfect for celebrating the country’s National Picnic Week each June.


There are a couple stories as to how Australia got a national holiday dedicated to picnicking, but regardless of whether it dates back to the 1910s or 1940s, its Northern Territory celebrates Railway Heritage Picnic Day on the first Monday of each August. The holiday allows families a long weekend full of activities like dancing, tug-of-war, and lizard racing.


If you intend to sip wine at a French picnic, don’t expect to do it from a red plastic cup. Even when the French dine outdoors, fine diningware—specifically stemware—is still often used to ensure wine tastes its best. That’s because the shape of a wine glass allows flavors and aromas to breathe instead of being stifled by a normal shaped cup. And you and your wine both deserve to breathe in the lovely fresh air.


Picnics aren’t just for eating—there are games to be played, too. But Germans take it one step further by disrobing before competition. It’s not unusual for picnic activities like a friendly Frisbee toss, a few kicks of a soccer ball, or a quick swim to be done au natural. Freikorperkultur (Free Body Culture) encourages Germans to venture out and enjoy daily activities sans-clothing, and nudity is considered a cultural norm—even at picnics in public parks.


Many Americans use the summer holidays—Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day—as excuses to picnic. These gatherings also include competitive games like three-legged races and egg relays, but Americans pride themselves on a race of another sort: the food eating contest. The first one appeared in 1916 and pitted hot dog eaters against one another. That year, the winner ate 13 hotdogs at an Independence Day celebration in Coney Island. Now, picnickers and those hosting outdoor events often include contests for speed-eating pies or watermelons.


Below the equator, New Zealanders have historically enjoyed outdoor meals with standard picnic foods like sandwiches and pies. But during the 19th century, picnics mimicked barbecues with whole-roasted oxen and baked potatoes cooked over fire pits. Afternoon tea was also a common everyday staple that needed to be included with any picnic, so it was prepared hot in a “billy”—a metal can with a wire handle. After the invention of the thermos, tea arrived at picnic sites pre-prepared, and it remains a common picnicking beverage.


Croquet, soccer, and badminton are common picnic games, but in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, kubb is a regular game. The lawn game is a mix between bowling and chess, where players attempt to knock over wooden blocks called kubbs with wooden batons. Kubb players win by knocking over their opponents' smaller kubbs, followed by a large one called a king. And just like picnic games round the world, a good game of kubb can last a few minutes or several hours depending on skill level.


May Day offers Finland the opportunity to celebrate spring’s arrival with friends and family, and it tends to lead to some exceptionally exuberant parties and picnics. May Day celebrations begin on April 30, and by the first official day of May, many picnic-goers are looking for relief from overindulging the night before. Day-of meals are often called “herring lunch,” featuring pickled fish and other salty foods that supposedly cure hangovers, though Finns will wash it all down with a swig of schnapps. Hair of the dog, as they say.


Not all picnics have to celebrate a holiday. Some are just for good fun and a day in the countryside. In Iceland, berry hunters often pack picnic lunches to take along on their search as berries ripen throughout the summer months. But besides the meats and cheeses, the most important ingredient for an Icelandic picnic is secrecy: Keeping berry picking spots under wraps means more for your own harvest.


Turkey has a reputation for superb picnics, and it could have something to do with the country’s thousands of picnic grounds open to the public. Many Turkish families bring along cushions, rugs, and furniture to set up comfortable picnicking spots, along with games, string lighting, and a potluck-style selection of stuffed veggies, grilled meats, and desserts. By nighttime, many picnics are still going and turn into bonfires complete with music, dancing, and raki (a Turkish, licorice-flavored alcohol).


Sharing a gourd of yerba mate (also called chimarrão) is a common practice among friends and family members in Brazil, Uruguay, and other South American countries, and takes place at picnics and other gatherings. One person will prepare the tea in a gourd or container with a straw, which is then passed around and refilled until the mate loses its flavor. Even though sharing chimarrão is among friends, there are rules: It is rude to break the circle and sip out of turn, or to wipe the straw before taking a sip.


"Clean Monday" ushers in the start of Lent in Greece and brings about religious food restrictions. But, the holiday has its own special foods, such as mussels, octopus, and unleavened bread, that are shared at family picnics. Afterwards, families fly large, colorful kites to celebrate the day and mark the beginning of spring.


A Ukrainian family has a Sunday picnic at the grave of a loved one in Kiev.// Getty

Picnicking by the final resting places of friends and family isn’t confined to any one culture. Around the globe, friends and family have gathered in ceremonies to celebrate special occasions, holidays, and to remember deceased loved ones. During the Victorian Era, picnickers often set up lunch next to headstones, enjoying the cemetery as a recreational space for games and activities. In Mexico, those celebrating Día de los Muertos lunch among family gravesites, as do the Chinese during the annual Chung Yeung Festival honoring their ancestors. While cemetery lunching is less common in the modern U.S., some morticians and preservationists support its reemergence as a way to celebrate and enjoy life at all stages. After all, isn’t that what picnics are all about?

All photos via iStock unless otherwise noted.

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Eggo Came Up With 9 Perfect Recipes for Your Stranger Things Viewing Party
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As the return of Stranger Things draws near, you can expect to see fans break out their blonde wigs, hang up their Christmas lights, and play the Netflix show’s theme song on repeat. But Eggo knows the best way to celebrate the season two premiere on October 27 is with a menu featuring Eleven’s favorite snack. As Mashable reports, the brand has joined forces with Netflix to release a menu of gourmet waffle recipes to serve at your Stranger Things viewing party.

The lineup includes nine creative takes on Eggo waffles, each one named after an episode from the new season. The menu kicks off with “MADMAX,” a spin on chicken and waffles served with maple syrup and Sriracha. As the season progresses, pairings alternate between sweet (like “Will the Wise,” featuring ice cream and hot fudge) and savory (like “Trick or Treat, Freak,” a waffle version of a BLT). Check out the full menu below with directions from the experts at Eggo.


Eggo recipe.

1 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
1 deli hot chicken tender

1. Toast Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle according to package directions.

2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine syrup and Sriracha. Microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds or until just warm.

3. Place warm chicken tender on top of waffle. Drizzle with syrup mixture. Serve with knife and fork.


Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiched between two waffles

4 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles
2 lettuce leaves
4 thin tomato slices
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
8 slices turkey bacon, crisp-cooked and drained
3 tablespoons blue cheese salad dressing

1. Toast Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffles according to package directions.

2. Top two of the waffles with lettuce and tomato slices. Sprinkle with pepper. Top with bacon. Drizzle with salad dressing. Add remaining waffles. Cut each into halves. Serve immediately.


Eggo recipe.

1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream, divided
3/4 cup strawberry ice cream
3 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles or Kellogg’s Eggo Chocolatey Chip waffles
1 Banana, sliced
3 Strawberries, sliced
2 cups frozen reduced-fat, non-dairy whipped dessert topping, thawed
Assorted small candies (optional)
Gold-colored decorator’s sugar or edible glitter (optional)

1. Place vanilla and strawberry ice cream in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes until slightly softened.

2. Meanwhile, on large piece of parchment paper or wax paper, trace 4 1/2-inch circles. Place paper on baking sheet. Working quickly, spoon 3/4 cup of the vanilla ice cream onto one circle. Flatten into a 1/2-inch-thick, 4 1/2-inch-diameter disk. Repeat with remaining vanilla ice cream and strawberry ice cream, making disks. Lightly cover with wax paper and freeze at least two hours or until firm.

3. Toast Kellogg's Eggo Homestyle Waffles according to package directions. Cool. Leave one waffle whole. Cut remaining waffles into quarters.

4. Remove paper from ice cream disks. Top with one of the vanilla ice cream disks and four waffle quarters, leaving a small space between pieces. Top with vanilla ice cream disk and more waffle pieces (always arrange waffle quarters so they align with waffle quarters on lower layers). Add the remaining vanilla ice cream disk and more waffle pieces. Top with strawberry ice cream disk and the remaining four waffle quarters. Wrap in plastic wrap. Gently press down on the stack. Freeze at least 3 hours or until firm.

5. Remove waffle stack from freezer. Remove plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mound with whipped topping. Decorate with candies and gold sugar (if desired).

6. To serve, cut into four pieces, cutting between waffle quarters.

TIP: To easily form ice cream disks, place a 4 1/2-inch round cookie cutter on parchment or wax paper on baking sheet. Place ice cream inside of cookie cutter and smooth into solid disk. Remove cookie cutter and repeat for remaining ice cream disks. Freeze as directed above.


Eggo waffle.

1 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle
1 tablespoon hot fudge ice cream topping
1/3 cup vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon caramel ice cream topping
2 tablespoons aerosol whipped cream
1 tablespoon dry roasted peanuts

1. Toast Kellogg's Eggo Homestyle Waffle according to package directions. Heat fudge ice cream topping according to package directions.

2. Scoop ice cream onto center of waffle.

3. Drizzle with fudge and caramel toppings. Add whipped cream. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve with knife and fork.


Eggo waffle.

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles
3 tablespoons orange-colored decorator’s sugar
6 oblong chewy fruit-flavored green candies or 2 small green gumdrops, cut into 6 pieces

1. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, pumpkin, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or until firm enough to shape.

2. Meanwhile, toast Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffles according to package directions.

3. Place orange-colored sugar in a small bowl. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, shape about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture into pumpkin shape. Roll in orange sugar. Place on one waffle. Repeat with remaining cream cheese mixture, sugar and waffles.

4. Press green candy into each cream cheese ball for pumpkin stem. Serve with spreaders or knives to spread cream cheese mixture over waffles.


Eggo waffles.

3 frozen fully-cooked sausage links
2 tablespoons green bell pepper
2 tablespoons water
1 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha

1. In a small nonstick skillet, cook sausage links, bell pepper, and water, covered, over medium heat for five minutes. Remove pepper from skillet. Set aside. Continue cooking sausage, uncovered, about two minutes more or until browned, turning frequently.

2. Meanwhile, toast Kellogg's Eggo Homestyle Waffle according to package directions.

3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine syrup and Sriracha. Microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds or until just warm.

4. Arrange sausage pieces and pepper pieces on waffle. Drizzle with syrup mixture. Serve with knife and fork.


Eggo waffle.

6 cups canned pineapple slices, drained
1 tablespoon flaked coconut, toasted
1 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle
2 tablespoons aerosol whipped cream
1 tablespoon macadamia nuts, chopped

1. Cut pineapple slices into four pieces.

2. Toast Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffle according to package directions. Place on serving plate. Top with coconut, pineapple slices, whipped cream, and macadamia nuts. Serve with knife and fork.


Eggo waffle.

6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles
1 tablespoon butter
3 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
6 thin slices Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar cheese (3 oz. total)
Ketchup or salsa (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

2. Place frozen waffles in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 450°F for five minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet. Pour in egg mixture. Cook, over medium heat, until mixture begins to set on bottom and around edges. With spatula, lift and fold partially cooked eggs, allowing uncooked portions to flow underneath. Continue cooking and folding for two to three minutes or until egg mixture is cooked through.

4. Top waffles with egg mixture, crumbled bacon, and cheese slices. Bake, uncovered, at 450°F about one minute more or until cheese melts. Serve with ketchup or salsa (if desired).


Eggo waffle.

6 Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle waffles
6 slices mozzarella cheese or provolone cheese (6 oz. total)
24 slices pepperoni (about 2 oz. total)
1/3 cup pizza sauce

1. Place Kellogg's Eggo Homestyle waffles in single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for three minutes. Turn waffles over. Bake at 450°F for two minutes more.

2. Cut waffles into quarters. Return to baking sheet.

3. Cut cheese slices into pieces to fit on waffle quarters.

4. Top waffle quarters with cheese pieces, pepperoni slices and pizza sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 450°F for three to four minutes or until cheese melts. Serve warm.

Making the full nine-course menu might take a lot of work, but then again, it’s probably healthy to plan some cooking projects to break up your binge-watching session. Once you're done burning through all those waffles (and episodes), Eggo has a few suggestions for what to do with the empty box. Accessories like an Eggo flashlight or a bloody tissue box sound like the perfect way to make your Stranger Things costume stand out at this year’s Halloween party.

Instructions for crafting with leftover Eggo box.

Instructions for crafting with leftover Eggo box.

[h/t Mashable]

All images courtesy of Eggo.

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David Kessler, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
The Little-Known History of Fruit Roll-Ups
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David Kessler, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

The thin sheets of “fruit treats” known as Fruit Roll-Ups have been a staple of supermarkets since 1983, when General Mills introduced the snack to satisfy the sweet tooth of kids everywhere. But as Thrillist writer Gabriella Gershenson recently discovered, the Fruit Roll-Up has an origin that goes much further back—all the way to the turn of the 20th century.

The small community of Syrian immigrants in New York City in the early 1900s didn’t have the packaging or marketing power of General Mills, but they had the novel idea of offering an apricot-sourced “fruit leather” they called amardeen. A grocery proprietor named George Shalhoub would import an apricot paste from Syria that came in massive sheets. At the request of customers, employees would snip off a slice and offer the floppy treat that was named after cowhide because it was so hard to chew.

Although Shalhoub’s business relocated to Brooklyn in the 1940s, the embryonic fruit sheet continued to thrive. George’s grandson, Louis, decided to sell crushed, dried apricots in individually packaged servings. The business later became known as Joray, which sold the first commercial fruit roll-up in 1960. When a trade publication detailed the family’s process in the early 1970s, it opened the floodgates for other companies to begin making the distinctive treat. Sunkist was an early player, but when General Mills put their considerable advertising power behind their Fruit Roll-Ups, they became synonymous with the sticky snack.

Joray is still in business, offering kosher roll-ups that rely more heavily on fruit than the more processed commercial version. But the companies have one important thing in common: They both have the sense not to refer to their product as “fruit leather.”

[h/t Thrillist]


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