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Aug 18, 2007

The Perfect Picnic


I'm hearing numerous groans as summer temperatures turn up the furnace. Some of those groans are mine. There are also mild pleadings in the air for autumnal relief. Sign me up!

My secret weapon to beat the heat is a picnic! Even in its simplest forms, a picnic is satisfying and replete with delicious details. It can be as basic as Kentucky Fried Chicken at a crowded open air concert, and it still refreshes the soul and spirit.

I tend to love picnics with embellishment. I suppose it's my theater background, but I think of it as staging a scene and I'm the leading lady. The set is romantic and rich with musical scores that easily play in my imagination and...

Okay, I'm already there, so let's look at some easy steps toward the perfect picnic. You can always elaborate on this theme. And to really inspire you, I'm concluding with a poem called Picnic Boat, by Carl Sandberg.

THE PERFECT PICNIC
  • One picnic blanket no smaller than 6 square feet. Choose the traditional red and white gingham checks or something vintage or playful.
  • Picnic basket or hamper. It's worth investing in something that is beautifully handcrafted.
  • Two wine glasses– not antiques or plastic.
  • Two linen napkins either in white or something to match the blanket or picnic setting.
  • Optional: a mini vase of fresh flowers and a votive candle.
  • Assess whether you need matches or a corkscrew.
  • A chilled bottle of your favorite beverage and ice to keep it cold. I personally don't drink wine and spirits, but I've found that sparkling mineral waters with a hint of fruit juice make a nice pairing with cheese.
  • Three fine cheeses: one sharp, one creamy and one blue.
  • A fresh-baked baguette.
  • Luscious grapes that look like you picked them yourself.
  • A cutting board and implements to slice the cheese and baguette. A quality cheese slicer is bliss!
  • Someone special to share your picnic with!

Picnic Boat - By Carl Sandburg

Sunday night and the park policemen tell each other it is dark as a stack of black cats on Lake Michigan.

A big picnic boat comes home to Chicago from the peach
farms of Saugatuck.

Hundreds of electric bulbs break the night’s darkness, a
flock of red and yellow birds with wings at a standstill.

Running along the deck railings are festoons and leaping
in curves are loops of light from prow and stern to the tall smokestacks.

Over the hoarse crunch of waves at my pier comes a
hoarse answer in the rhythmic oompa of the brasses.

9 comments:

Sharon said...

You post immediately took me back to evening concerts in the park. We always took a quilt and a bottle of wine. Thanks for the memory.

The Orchard Christian Church said...

Hi KJ,
I liked some of your earlier pictures showing clouds. Also, this morning, we wound up spending over an hour in a city park in Rosemead, praying, doing Bible/inspirational reading, and walking around in the shade looking at the trees and leaves. Since we had not planned to go, we didn't bring food, but the time in the park was very refreshing. We could feed on the Word and spend time with God- (but it would have been even better with food).

We are into praise and worship, the Word, music, singing, and I studied drama and voice briefly at Berkeley in 1989. (Also voice and guitar at Christ for the Nations in 2000.) I read Piercing the Darkness some time back.

My wife, who turns 49 this year, loves You've got mail, Roman Holiday, Ben Hur, and Heidi.

We are planting a new church in north Montebello- you can check out
http://TheOrchardChristianChurch.blogspot.com

in Christ,
Matthew & Kumi Perri
TheOrchardMontebello@hotmail.com

Evelinas hus said...

Hi,
Nice that you visited my page, welcome back.
Have a nice evening.
Caroline

CONNIE W said...

So what are we waiting for? It's Picnic Time.

KJ said...

I'm ready, Connie! I have a beautiful Longaberger picnic basket that has served it's duty well. We live so close to Beaches with parks on the bluffs or lawns just before sand slopes to the water. It's wonderful! I'm not much into picnicking on the sand because I don't like to clean it up. It sort of defeats the idea of "relaxation."

I also love packing a special basket and surprising a friend with tea and finger food. The tea can be kept in a thermos and served in beautiful teacups.

kj

ShabbyInTheCity said...

I have been promising my 86 year old aunt and uncle a picnic for years! The weather is never the way the three of us envision our perfect picnic to feel like...so we wait...well sometimes we picnic in the dining room :)
I like your recipe for a picnic!
Our little town has no park and certainly no band! I can whistle though.

KJ said...

And I can hear you whistling... You don't need a band shell for that! Perhaps awaken a songbird up from it's nap and perform an impromptu duet. I'm listening...

kj

ShabbyInTheCity said...

OH guess who got her good smelling coffee in the mail this a.m.!!!
Can't wait to give it a spin! Thank you so much for your generosity :) both for me and for the others you helped.

justabeachkat said...

KJ

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving your sweet message. Come back anytime...you're always welcome.

I had a french press years ago and somehow misplaced it in one of our moves. I'm so excited about winning one and can't wait for it to arrive. I read your post and will use the information. Thanks so much.

I've enjoyed my visit here to your blog and will come back again.

Hugs!
Kat