Five Questions with Lindy Mechefske author of Ontario Picnics: A Century of Dining Outdoors
1. What inspired you to do the book Ontario Picnics?
We remember picnics. They stick with us in a way that other things don't. Maybe it's because the history of picnics is essentially the history of humankind and hence so imprinted upon us. Picnicking is a return to who we are as a species — we and our earliest primate ancestors have been eating outdoors for over 55 million years. It's really only relatively recently on the human evolutionary timeline that we stopped being nomads, formed permanent settlements, began to tend crops, and moved further and further indoors.
I wanted to capture the history of picnics in the province because I think we have continually underestimated the fundamental importance of both food and community. The two are so intertwined — as exemplified by many of the photos in the book — and yet the gap between them is growing.