I love a good picnic

The rat… appeared staggering under a fat, wicker luncheon basket.  “Shove that under your feet, he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into his boat…

“What’s inside it?” asked the Mole  wriggling with curiosity. 

“There’s cold chicken inside it” replied the Rat briefly,   “Cold chicken, cold tongue, cold ham, cold beef, pickled gherkin, salad french rolls, cress sandwiches, potted meat, ginger beer, lemonade – soda water.”

“O stop, stop!” cried the Mole in ecstasies.*     

I love picnics. Something tasty to eat wrapped in pastry (which always tastes better outdoors), lying on a picnic rug staring up at the land of clouds or reading a good book, sticky cakes in tins and thermos flasks of tea.

Today is the perfect day for a picnic and I wouldn’t mind Ratty and Moles’ spread. But every picnic needs a cake, which their picnic hamper is decidedly lacking. Not a fancy one mind, but the sort that will stand up to the journey – the packing of the car or the crush of the rucksack. No, it needs to be a solid, dependable one that reassures you the moment you lift the lid of the tin that it has arrived in one piece and looking as good as if you had served it at home. So I think a sticky date and walnut loaf is in order. Buttered or not, whichever way you prefer. And I’m going to make a traditional egg and bacon pie that I can cut into big wedges when we get there and serve it with ripe tomatoes, simply sliced open and sprinkled with fresh mint and sea salt.

 

*From The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

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