by Paullette Gaudet

Spring Picnic_TCM_blogAhhh…what is it about spring picnics and English novelists?? From Jane Austen to E. M. Forster, and even Lewis Carroll with his mad hats, they seem not to have met a bucolic springtime pasture that couldn’t be improved by a brushed wool blanket and porcelain teapot. The genteel incongruity of formal dinnerware under bright blue skies does have a certain appeal, and if one considers everything to be portable (soup tureens, whist tables, silver ice buckets), then one’s picnic menu options quickly expand far beyond vacuum-sealed trail mix and flimsy tubs of hummus. Wish to mimic such a picnic? Assemble the following in the sturdiest picnic basket you can borrow (Spring only comes once a year, but credit card interest lasts forever):

Your heaviest silverware and most fragile patterned china

These treasured items deserve both exposure and closure. If a dish breaks? At least it went out holding ripe red currants up to the sun, not rattled loose in the dishwasher. Thank it for its beauty and be sure to carry all broken shards back out of the park.

Your snowiest linens

Oh, the decadence of cloth napkins on one’s lap and against one’s lips! Civilization is indeed defined by food-stained washable fibers.

Your finest leftovers

Enjoy the re-purposed remnants of that delicious mid-week dinner you’d rather not heat up again! Roasted chicken sandwiches, white-sauced pasta, and leafy green salads fit the chilled bill here, and provide enough flavor and sustenance for an active outdoor afternoon.

Your brightest wines

Silver ice buckets can chill sparkling wines (like a semi-dry Prosecco) for a crystal-flute toast just after the picnic blanket has been laid down, and ruby-colored Pinot-Syrah blends are a delightful choice for picnic meals all around. The outdoors invite a sense of lightness, which means that even red wines should display a degree of transparency.