Thursday, 20 January 2011

OH-- WHAT a day I'm having!

Thanks Mags for asking me to post a guest blog on foodie things. Have to say I am a total blog novice but here goes...

The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness...
WHAT a day I'm having!' he said.

Hold hard a minute, then!' said the Rat... after a short interval reappeared staggering under
a fat, wicker luncheon-basket.

What's inside it?' asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity.

'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly;
'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeer
lemonadesodawater----'

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstasies: 'This is too much!'


I love picnics of any shape, form, and, for any occasion.

When the children were small and we lived near about half a dozen fantastic beaches we spent summers having picnics everywhere. Sometimes they were the complete deal and others consisted of a packet of bought biscuits and a bottle of juice thrown in to the car at the last moment, but to my mind they all worked.

My friend, Janet T has to be the one person I know who can really make it all happen. She is Ratty! A day out with her involved everyone arriving and bringing their own picnics which we had and had a great day and just when you thought it was all over and time to get tired, exhausted hungry children home, she would throw open her boot and there would be sausages, baps and a bbq. In no time at all we would be having hot dogs and anything left over from the first picnic. It was fantastic, and transformed what would have been a bit of a nightmare trying to take exhausted hungry children home and then cooking tea and getting them to bed into something so much easier on everyone and meant an extra hour outside.

There is something so carefree about a picnic and yet it needs some organization for a really good one; I just love it. My main riverside picnic happened at the end of a lovely holiday in Devon. We were staying with friends, Anita, Gavin, Saiorse and Finbar – the dog - and it was our last day. The weather was beautiful, really hot and we decided to go to a nearby river where you could swim. Can’t remember anything about the food except for a bulghar wheat salad Anita made with mint, lemons, cherry tomatoes and feta.

We had such good healthy food and then lying around in the sunshine with good friends. The boys were playing – I do think everyone behaves better outdoors – so, so nice , I couldn’t bear to leave . Not only was it so, so lovely but it was the last day of our holiday and we had to leave from this idyll to drive up the main road from Devon on a busy, busy road in the hot, hot weather with no one wanting to even get into the car. So I stalled and stalled until finally even I could stall it no longer and we set off. Up the road when we realized we were under pressure time wise and we put the car under more pressure until a tube burst and we missed the boat! Oh boy – total disaster, stuck on the side of a motorway with a car hissing all over the place and 4 children under 8 in the back seat. Thank goodness for Holiday Inns – found one and had a family room and got off the next day. The boys thought it was the best night of their holiday staying in a hotel so all was not lost.

My complete obsession is to have a really proper picnic in a wood with enough space for a table and chairs, a table cloth and proper plates and cutlery. Have to say I’m still working on that one. It just hasn’t happened yet but will do some time. All I need is Ratty!

(Today's post was brought to you by my favourite Cooking Catherine! Thank you! Tomorrow is Wind in the Willows Day so tell us in a comment if you'll be posting about or around Willows and we'll add you to the Blog Roll for us all to visit and enjoy!)

25 comments:

House Revivals said...

Hi! I'm visiting from Jenny's. This was such a delightful story. I adore picnics of all sorts, and we certainly took plenty when the kids were young. Really, it was the only kind of "eating out" we could afford, but I think the kids liked it best.
~Amanda

JDaniel4's Mom said...

We love picnics at our house too. Sometimes we have them inside the house in the winter time.

maria said...

To have a proper picnic...what joy that would be :)

I am looking forward to having a picnic when Spring arrives and we are able to enjoy the out of doors.

Excellent post...I am really enjoying this book :)

M.

Gumbo Lily said...

Eating and playing outside is always the most fun. I enjoyed your picnic post.

Jody

Elizabethd said...

You chose one of my favourite bits of the book...I love that list of food!
Childhood picnics were so special, and I have lovely memories of sandy sandwiches on the beach!

Floss said...

This is a lovely read! I really enjoyed hearing about what makes a good picnic, and the wisdom about feeding the children BEFORE leaving is such a great point. Our next picnic may well be in the snow - we ski on the cheap in the nearby Pyrenees and have come to enjoy a picnic spread on a blanket over the snow (so long as bottoms can find something warmer, such as a log, to perch on).

Interestingly, in the French version of the Wind in the Willows which I posted about below, there is a lot more wine in the lists of consumables! Like you, the French picnic in style. Your table, chairs and table cloth are a given for a French picnic. Bunch of flowers in vase optional.

magsmcc said...

I can just see you all lolling in the sun! We're with Floss on the winter picnic- last one at the zoo with sausages in a flask and rolls and ketchup in the rucksack! With background noise of elephants at Belfast Zoo! Food, food, food- holds every occasion together!

Pom Pom said...

This makes me want to place my school lunch in a snug basket and pretend I am surprised at what is under the red checked napkin. Hooray for portable meals! My great grandmother told delicious tales of her school lunch brought to school in a bucket.

Angela said...

Oh! a Picnic - in the sun - what a lovely thought. Lolling around on the grass, drinkling lemonade and eating cold chicken and fresh bread...
Here it is mid afternoon and the path outside is still frosted up, and a poor man has just skidded and fallen off his bicycle [he's OK, we checked!] If I picnicked today it would have to be flasks of hot soup and calorie-laden Belgian Buns for afters, sitting on a bench, well wrapped up in scarves etc.
Why does Outdoor Food always seem to taste so good??
[I will be doing another WITW post tomorrow]

Maggie said...

I'm a fan of picnics by the seaside and Mr B & I often pack up the car for a day at the beach during the summer months.
My favourite picnic though is a "couch picnic" on a winter's evening watching a good film on TV.
We simply raid the fridge for cold cuts, pate, salad,& cheese and a chilled bottle of chablis, before burrowing into the sofa cushions for a great evening.
Looking forward to WITW day tomorrow, my post is ready to go!

*✿*millie meadowsweet*✿* said...

i have always loved the picnic bits (any of the food bits) in the story.i enjoy a good picnic and have loved reading about your picnic adventures.
i want to go on a Ratty picnic too :o)

many thanks for sharing the most enjoyable post xxx

millie

*✿*millie meadowsweet*✿* said...

i have enjoyed reading all the comments here too :o)

Judie said...

We used to have picnics when we lived in Memphis. The symphony sponsored a big picnic every year at Dixon Gardens and they would have a contest. People really went all out for that. We won most colorful one year and got a fantastic Southern Living cookbook. I bought the game Cootie and the cooties looked like ants crawling over our blue and white checked cloth.

Simone said...

I lovely guest blog post! I am already dreaming of having lots of wonderful summer picnics!

Sue said...

I love a good picnic, too! Anywhere but at the beach. Too much grit!

=)

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I wish it was warm enough for a picnic, food eaten outdoors always always always tastes better than food eaten indoors...

The Dutchess said...

We LOVE to picnic at The Hilltop. Miss MOussie kindly invites you to the First day of Spring picnic..Would you do us the honor...

Greets from all of us
T.D and Company

Mary said...

Proper or otherwise, I'm a HUGE picnic fan! Any excuse to sit outdoors, watch the water or clouds while munching & sipping :-)

*✿*millie meadowsweet*✿* said...

i am so looking forward to tomorrow!!!
even though i have still not produced a post i am happy with! (sorry to say mine really is pants it just hasn't been working out at all, but there is still hope of some last minute inspiration :o)

can't wait to read all the other posts though xx

Brenda said...

Love picnics. Ours are usually on the beach at a lake since we live in Michigan. And they usually consist of cheese, meats and crackers. Although when I was a child my mother always packed cold chicken, potato salad, slaw and a fruit salad. Always the same thing every time and we loved it.

Betty said...

Picnics sound so lovely but whenever we have them we are invaded by creepy crawlies, scratcy straw underneath, the smell of cow pats (yes, we picniced in a field of cowpats) and ... wasps ... there's always a wasp! How I would love to enjoy the kind of picnics our Wind in the Willows friends had by riverbands that weren't covered in mosquitos that all homed in on us!

Jo said...

oh this was so delightful ... I enjoyed this post so much, and I too would love to have a proper picnic in the woods one day ... it would be a bit of perfection!

Theresa said...

Love your picnic chat and photos! What a lovely way to spend a day!

Jenny said...

What a charming stop on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's letter "O".

I plan to use the word 'bap' quite soon...it has such a sweet sound.

And your picnic also has such a sweet sound.

Thanks for letting us tag along...

I loved how visual this post was.

Thanks for linking.

A+

Cheryl D. said...

What a fun picnic!