A good, old fashioned picnic
Aug 17, 2013 / 5:00 am
We seem to have dressed everything up and made it spiffy these days - there are gadgets and kits for most hobbies and activities that make them more civilized. With the exception of the hard-core rustic outdoorsy types, people like to be pampered and kept comfortable. Give me the RV with air conditioning please, or at least the folding picnic table and the packages from Costco or Choices that contain a ready-made salad to dish out to the hungry masses. Whatever happened to the casual picnic in the park?
It's one of the quintessential summer experiences from my childhood... a blanket on the grass (yes, among the bugs and the earth!), a wicker basket, some sandwiches perhaps or maybe a chunk of cheese and a baguette. My Mom had containers for mustard, homemade mayo, pickles, and olives. She brought a little cutting board for the cucumber and the tomato, so they didn't get mushy on the way. There were usually buns like Scotch baps or crusty rolls that we could each make our own sandwich with, and then a bit of potato salad or perhaps some other garnish with which to fill your plate. Dessert was often fresh fruit and maybe a square or bit of wacky cake (chocolate cake made in a pan - for this classic recipe, go to my blog). If Mom was busy, it would be Oreo cookies - the only time we had store-bought cookies was when we went on holidays camping or for summer picnics. I was a fortunate child :)
Interestingly enough, our picnics were rather eco-friendly too. Mom brought the plastic camping dishes and cutlery and packed them up in a bag to be washed when we returned home. She even packed a wet facecloth, so we could wipe our sticky fingers before packing up.
This past week my Mom made a picnic. It was the new age kind - the sort we graduated to when I lived in Vancouver and we decided to kick things up a notch. We would meet for the fireworks shows at Kitslano Point and bring homemade quiche or even kabobs to grill. Desserts were cakes and tortes that were much more grand, and there may have been the odd glass of vino to toast everyone's good health as the sky lit up in celebration. Those really were the days.
I was quite chuffed to recreate this magical ambience when we met for the concert at the Island Stage on Wednesday night. Mom had already laid out the blankets by the time we arrived, and there was cheese and homemade crostini, two kinds of pickles, and of course a quiche and even a sausage roll made with leftover lamb roast. She had also put together a nifty potato salad with grilled veggies. I just brought a salad of goodies from the garden with a simple white balsamic vinaigrette but I was proud that it was a tasty effort all coming a hundred paces from my kitchen. Martin had fresh raspberry coconut squares and we had some fresh-picked peaches. We met her neighbours that she brought along, and she chatted with our friends who joined in. It was a real convivial evening. I truly did feel blessed as I pushed back my empty plate.
We danced to the music and laughed and shared stories... it was just like I remembered. It may not have been a spiffy event, but it was most enjoyed by everyone who attended. I highly recommend you try it. If you want to attend one of the concerts still to come, check out Parks Alive in Kelowna. I know there are similar happenings in most Okanagan communities.
Read more Happy Gourmand articles
- A great idea back in Vogue Nov 30
- What's in your lunchbox? Nov 23
- Isn’t it funny... Nov 16
- Coffee and a donut Nov 9
- All by myself Nov 2
- Fun out with friends Oct 26
- Fairytale season Oct 12
- A sense of place Oct 5
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