Before beginning, I’d like to say thanks to my sweet daughter, Cailen, for being so kind as to actually ask me to write every so often. I must admit that I enjoy it, but I find her a hard act to follow! Thank you, Cai. Many of the images here are as pretty as they are because of your helping hands! xo Mom
We are a family of foodies. We appreciate the nuances of fabulous fine dining, but we also relish a quiet evening at home with soup by the fire. Happily, this time of year offers up countless possibilities for another kind of ‘dining experience’. To this, I give you….
Picnic - A meal eaten outdoors, as on an excursion (could involve a hike) an occasion when you take a meal with you to eat outside in an informal way, or the food itself
|our picnic in beaune, france|
Al fresco - Implies the presence of some nearby structure (one does not hike al fresco) out-of-doors; in the open air: to dine alfresco.
|concert under the stars (craig, mom, me, dad)|
We’re fortunate to have a large wrap-around porch with an old table that seats 4-6. We take our meals out to enjoy the breezes and birds in the morning hours, the sounds of farm tractors or mowers in the afternoon, and the stars, crickets and candlelight in the evenings.
|me (cailen) & cate|
Keep your al fresco meals simple, and your picnics simpler yet. This is not necessarily the time to try an elaborate recipe. Assemble some of your favorites, relying on dishes that will be fine without immediate refrigeration. A side pasta dish with olive oil is a much better choice than one with mayo. Simple is good, yes, but with just a bit of pizzazz if possible. A great roasted shrimp and polenta meal makes for a special night of al fresco dining, and a shrimp po’boy is quite a special picnic.
|my aunt, erin (my cousin) & my uncle|
Picnics seem to often involve the proverbial picnic table or blanket, or both. Finding the best table under the trees, or the comfiest looking spot in the grass becomes a hunt in earnest. Goodies, hand-held and otherwise, are tucked away in backpacks, wicker baskets and plastic coolers. Break out the cold bevs/brews and then begin the job of setup. Hopefully, if you’re organized, it won’t become theatrical. And, disposable is a good thing here. The less you have to carry back - after eating, playing ball, drinking, flying a kite (some people still do this), eating some more and then sitting around talking and laughing - is just a gift to yourself. And, don’t forget the ‘organic/natural’ bug spray.
|picnic in beaune, france|
So think about an easy meal to prepare, and get creative with your al fresco set up or your picnic accompaniments. A vintage or retro tablecloth will make your salads look magazine worthy - and a great chutney will just make that hotdog sing!
Bon Appetit! and my best to all, Janet.