Barneblad: A summer picnic, norsk style!

A monthly feature to share with kids and grandkids

Norwegian picnic

Photo: CH /
A family picnics alongside Norway’s Atlanterhavsvegen (Atlantic Ocean road)

Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American

Summer is the time of year when all Norwegians—and Norwegian Americans—want to be outdoors in the sunshine (or clouds), the time of the year to plan a picnic together with your family and friends.

Planning is important for a successful picnic, and it also part of the fun. You can start by talking to Mom or Dad about the three W’s: When, Where, and What. Once you have set a date and picked a location, you can start making your check-off lists.

Essentials: The basics

• Picnic basket, backpack, or cooler: You may own a traditional picnic basket, or if you are walking, biking, or hiking, a ryggsack (backpack) may be easier. Remember, if your food must be kept cool, you’ll need bags of ice.
• Tablecloth or blanket: A table requires a colorful tablecloth, or if you are going to sit on the ground, you’ll need a nice washable blanket.
• Plates, cups, utensils, and napkins: At home in your backyard, you can use the real thing, or for an outing, choose paper and plastic.
• Jacket, hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen: You don’t want to get a sunburn on a bright summer’s day but be prepared for chillier weather too.
• Good shoes or sandals: Choose appropriately for walking or hiking or a day at the waterfront.
• Bathing suit and towels: Lifejackets are recommended for deeper waters, and adult supervision is a must.
• First aid kit: Be prepared for cuts or scraps, all in a good day’s fun.
• Garbage bags: Don’t leave a mess! Pack some plastic bags for clean-up.

Norwegian picnic

Photo: Pixabay
A classic picnic basket is great, but you can use a backpack if you’re hiking or biking.

Food: A norsk-style menu

• Hot dogs: In Norway, one of the most popular picnic foods is the good old-fashioned pølse, served on a bun with a little mustard. Remember to have an adult supervise the campfire or grill.
• Sandwiches: Keep it simple and bring along some salami and hard cheese. A Norwegian favorite is Jarlsberg, also available in America. You will need a cheese knife or planer, the Norwegian ostehøvel. A hardtack like Wasa is typically Scandinavian, and so very healthy!
• Vegetables: Eating healthy is important for young and old alike, so make sure to pack some vegetables. Norwegians love to eat cucumbers, or celery and carrot sticks go great with just about everything.
• Fruits: Fresh berries make the perfect summer dessert, and you may even be able to pick them yourselves. Strawberries and blueberries are the Scandinavian all-time favorites.
• Drinks: You can’t go wrong with fresh bottled water, natural fruit juices, or some fresh homemade lemonade.
• Treats: What could be better than a little chocolate? The Kvikk Lunsj wafer is a Norwegian favorite hiking snack. The American equivalent is the KitKat bar.

Norwegian picnic

(Photo: Christian Roth Christensen /
Kids pick blueberries in the mountains of Norway. Yum!

Song and games: It’s not just about food…

• Music: Bring along a guitar, boombox, or iPod to play your favorite songs, Norwegian ones preferred!
• Balls and frisbees: Take something to kick or throw around, and you’re sure to have a blast!
• Cards and board games: Both are easy to pack, and the hours will quickly pass by.
Old favorites: Traditional games like tag and hide-n-seek require no gear at all, and everyone loves them—how many games like this do you know?

Your norsk-style summer picnic is now planned & ready to go! Ha det bra (have a great time)!

This article originally appeared in the June 29, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.