Secret Family Recipes for Parkway Picnics

Not Fried Chicken Picnic.jpg

Classic picnic with chicken on the Blue Ridge Parkway Mama Faye’s Fried Not Fried Chicken with deviled eggs, tomato and cucumber sandwiches, pickles, and watermelon.
July 20, 2020

The Blue Ridge Parkway features more than 700 sites at 14 picnic areas that are ready to host your next gathering of family or friends, from Humpback Rocks (milepost 8.5) to Mt. Pisgah (milepost 407.8). To enhance your Picnic for the Parkway even more, our staff and a longtime Foundation friend are sharing some of their most treasured family recipes. Check out these suggestions as you plan your next Parkway picnic experience.

And if you love picnics on the Parkway as much as we do, please consider making a donation in honor of National Picnic Month. Learn more


Julie Hettiger, member of the Foundation’s Community of Stewards

This recipe for chicken that is so good you’ll think it’s fried. To complement this classic picnic dish, bring along tomato and cucumber sandwiches, ridge pickles, deviled eggs, and watermelon wedges. Julie is pictured here with her mom, Faye, and teddy bear Boo Boo, at Doughton Park Picnic area in August 1959.


Mama Faye’s Fried Not Fried Chicken


  • 1 whole chicken with skin, cut into pieces 8 to 10 pieces
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 6 Tbs. garlic salt
  • 1-2 Tbs. seasoning salt
  • Black ground pepper, according to preference


  • Add flour, garlic salt, and seasoning salt, and pepper in a large paper bag. Add chicken and toss until well coated.
  • Place fatty pieces of chicken in preheated cast iron skillet. Remove after fat has been rendered.
  • Add the coated pieces of chicken skin-side-down into the medium hot skillet.
  • Once the chicken is seared, but not burned, place entire skillet into 350⁰F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Remove from hot skillet and drain. Pack up your picnic, and have fun!


George Ivey, Development Officer

During one family camping trip at Mount Pisgah, a hungry but uninvited guest smashed open our aluminum cooler to get at all the tasty treats inside. While it may be better to give than receive, we would have loved it if the black bear had left more food for us.

Originally from Iceland, my mother, Thorunn Ivey, has always prepared delicious dishes for dining in or out. Among her many creations, she has perfected a Scandinavian twist on one of the most common picnic dishes: deviled eggs. They disappear quickly, black bear or not.

Smoked Salmon Stuffed Eggs     


  • 6 large eggs, hard-cooked
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon            
  • 3 tbs. plain yogurt (Siggi’s yogurt preferred)
  • 2 tbs. sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbs. fresh minced dill, plus springs for garnish


  • Halve eggs.
  • In a food processor, blend yolks, diced salmon, yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste until smooth. Add minced dill and process until mixture is combined.
  • Stuff egg halves and garnish with dill sprigs.
  • Makes 12 stuffed eggs, but with the added salmon there is enough stuffing left over for a little spread on crackers for the cook!


Jordan Calaway, Development Officer

Growing up, my mother prepared a certain menu every time we picnicked. We were usually traveling along the Parkway or in the Smoky Mountains, and a packed lunch was the best way to feed our hungry crowd of six. Each picnic consisted of very sweet and usually still-warm tea in my mom’s metal thermos, PB&J sandwiches on white bread cut in quarters, brownies, and fried chicken picked up along the way. My mother can cook anything but was never happy with her fried chicken, and this made everyone happy. 

My favorite part of the meal was a sandwich I gobbled up at every picnic, but have never seen served anywhere else. Pineapple and cream cheese sandwiches on brown bread. I wish I could describe how wonderful these were! They seem slightly healthy (pineapple is a fruit after all, and it's on brown bread) and slightly decadent (they're sweet after all, and it is on canned bread). Very easy recipe!

Pineapple-and-cream cheese Sandwiches


  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 8 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 1/3 cup sugar, optional
  • Brown bread, such as B & M brown bread with raisins


  • Mix together cream cheese and 1 tablespoon of the crushed pineapple juice. (Too much juice will make the spread runny.)
  • Blend in the crushed pineapple until smooth. Add sugar if desired. 
  • Open can of bread on both ends for ease of access, cut into slices at your preferred thickness. 
  • Spread cream cheese mixture onto brown bread slices to make a sandwich.
  • Refrigerate until serving. 
  • When ready to serve, cut sandwiches into small triangles. Easy to cut into portable sizes for packing up for a picnic!


Elizabeth Hickman, Finance & Administrative Director

I’ve seen pimento cheese described as a classic Southern comfort food, a curious condiment, and the caviar of the South. I just call it delicious, especially when made with my Aunt Mae’s recipe.

Aunt Mae’s Pimento Cheese


  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 oz. jar diced pimento, drained
  • 1 tsp. minced onion
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper


  • Stir ingredients together until well blended.

Aunt Mae’s Pimento Cheese Rolls


  • 12 frozen biscuits
  • All-purpose flour
  • 2 cups pimento cheese


  • Arrange frozen biscuits, with sides touching, in three rows of four biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Let stand 30 to 45 minutes or until biscuits are thawed, but cool to touch.
  • Sprinkle thawed biscuits lightly with flour. Press biscuit edges together, and pat to form a 10” by 12” rectangle of dough.
  • Spread evenly with pimento cheese.
  • Roll up, starting at one long end; cut into 12 (about one-inch think) slices. Lightly grease a muffin pan with three-inch, cups. Place one slice into each of cups.
  • Bake at 375⁰F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and remove from pan. Then enjoy!

Do you have a favorite picnic recipe that you want to share? E-mail Rita Larkin at

For a complete list of picnic areas on the Parkway, visit the Operating Hours & Seasons schedule.