From The Editor: June/July 2019

For the last decade or more, my family’s summer road trip has always begun with a picnic lunch.

Originally, these picnics were lackadaisical in their planning. The locale was a roadside rest stop, the menu a motley collection of pre-vacation leftovers — mac and cheese, cold chicken, a boiled egg or two, cut veggies, bread ends and cold cuts.

Now, instead of an afterthought, our picnic lunch is planned with as much care as the rest of our itinerary. Rather than parking along a busy roadside, we head for Pilot Mountain State Park where we can enjoy the view and the fresh air. My husband and nearly grown children request their favorite foods, often asking for items I rarely make or buy except for this trip — deviled eggs, Sunchips, Izze sparkling juice and my mother’s peanut butter coconut bars.

I grew up eating the chewy bars, the original recipe from a 1950s-era school cafeteria cookbook. I’ve adjusted the recipe over the years, as I’d make them often to tuck into my own children’s lunchboxes.

The homey dessert is a treat for my children, and a taste of nostalgia for me – both appropriate sentiments as we head west to visit my parents and the rest of my extended family.

I have a feeling that for as long as we make our summer road trip, we will pack our picnic lunch. There’s just something about eating outdoors that puts us in a vacation state of mind.

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