Saturday, May 01, 2010

Elizabeth David on picnics

The less heroic, lacking the organizing ability and resolution of the outdoor cooking enthusiast, will settle for the car-borne picnic bought in a market, or in Sunday morning shops of small French towns. A bottle of wine from a cafe, a baguette or two of freshly baked bread, a little parcel of mountain0cured ham from the cooked-food shops; some creamy ewe's milk Banon cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves, a hard, salty grey-coated Valencay, or a long neat little log of Sainte-Maure; a bag of cherries or fresh peaches -- all these are crammed into your shopping bag. A last stop to buy a slab of chocolate and a packet of Petit Beurre, and you are off.  Does it matter very much that by the time you have driven fifty miles and settled on your picnic spot your parcels are a little crumpled, your wine a trifle warm (too late, you remember that had you taken the precaution of wrapping the bottle in several sheets of dampened newspaper it would have been as cool as cucumber), your chocolate beginning to melt?  After all, it is summer. You are on holiday.  You are in the company of your own choosing.  The air is clean. You can smell wild fennel and thyme, dry resinous pine needles, the sea. For my part, I ask no greater luxury. Indeed, I can think of none.

-- Elizabath David, in a 1965 preface to "Summer Cooking"


Lickedspoon said...

Aaaah. And, relax. Isn't this just perfect?

Bristol Book Publishing said...

We're celebrating Elizabeth David with a picnic in Kensington Gardens on Sunday, May 27. She died 20 ears ago this week, and we're encouraging people everywhere to delved into her books and picnic -- dress up, too! See and @edpicnic