Every year in June our School Sectional has a picnic. The S.S. 19 (Sectional School 19) was the one room school house just down the road that the farm families in the immediate area went to when they were children.
Now, as a city girl, I have to say: "Huh?". First because of the one room school house, second because all of these people STILL LIVE AROUND THE SCHOOLHOUSE. It's been 50 years and no one has moved away. That's practically unheard of in the city - people are always upgrading, downsizing, relocating, or even just moving for a change in scenery. I guess there have to be a few families that have moved away from here (and not just to town), but I don't think there are very many.
Luckily for everyone involved this is a very welcoming picnic - any new families to the area are also invited to come along. I admit that it's a little intimidating the first few years, but it gets ...err, well, in theory it gets easier. There is a lifetime of country knowledge and social mores that can't just be picked up. I'm sure there's some genetic memory involved as well, as far as the ability to sit and 'shoot the breeze' goes. A lot of the 'new' families to the SS 19 area are, in fact, relatives of the original students, so the transition is an easy one. For the real newcomers, like I was, it was a little harder to get the rhythm of it all.
Of course if we have a community picnic, then we have to have food. Every year I stress about what to make. We all bring a main dish and a dessert for a potluck supper. There is a certain hierarchy of food involved, and one must never overstep one's bounds on that. My mother-in-law, for example, always brings this great pasta dish. I wouldn't dream of attempting to bring a similar thing for fear that people would think I was competing with her. Another community member brings really great pineapple meatballs -- and all meatballs are always held up and compared to the originals. So no pasta, no meatballs. One year I made a great rice dish and no one ate it; when I asked Mr.Chef why not, he told me the only rice dish anyone would eat would be rice pudding. Cross off anything considered "out there" by a meat and potatoes crowd. What does that leave? KFC, but someone else does that every year, so I would just be plagiarizing if I tried the same thing. While KFC is almost considered cute, pizza would just be in bad taste.
Finally, this year, I was in a rush, self-esteem was in full gear, so i didn't care a flying whosits what anyone thought of my food. I brought a big dish of grilled quesadillas and a bowl of Snickers-Apple Salad. Both were a hit; both were considered 'out there' but still in good taste. A victory, all around. Not that it's a competition, of course, but just imagine what everyone will think if MY food is the talk of picnic ....
Makes large-ish bowl full
Needs one hour chilling time
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted if it's lumpy
6 Snickers bars, chopped
6 Granny Smith apples, chopped (or other tart apple, but not sweet apples)
1 container Cool Whip, thawed
Whip together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Stir in Snickers bars and apples, refridgerate for one hour. Just before serving, fold in Cool Whip. Garnish with sliced apples.