Late spring and the beginning of summer, spells a new dawn for the picnic enthusiasts. Dust the cobwebs from your baskets and shake the mothballs from your mandatory blankets, let’s be on our way to the secluded spot where time has stood still, where the hustle and bustle of everyday life are left behind.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are from those lazy hazy days. Both my grandparents on the opposite sides of the water loved going for picnics, as for me it was a case of getting to the car as fast as my little legs would carry me. Both grandparents didn’t really differ when it came to preparing food. An early start the morning before, a trip to the fresh fruit and vegetable market, from there the fish market, freshly caught fish and shellfish that were still jumping and pulsating, as if knowing that time was limited for them. Then the charcuterie, where all the air dried meats were on display and hanging from their stalls. Butcher was next. An intense bartering with prices from my grandmothers was a common occurrence in these wonderful markets.
Back home and ready for the grand event. Early evening with the obligatory roast chicken, smothered in fresh herbs and olive oil. Cooked, cooled down then portioned off. Salad dressings were rustled up within seconds for various types of salads; pastas of different shapes were cooked. Homemade pickled vegetables, Pesto sauce would then be folded into pasta.Freshly made mayonnaise, with no help of electrical gadgets, were whipped up. Meats hand sliced with such precision; Prosciutto, Salamis and Mortadella. Breads that were generally pre-ordered from the local baker along with mouth watering pastries, would be picked up on transit.
Normally by 8 am everything would be ready to be shipped off into granddad’s car, along with our fishing rods (not that they were ever used). A quick pit stop at the Bakers, then a drive to a meeting point where three other families and their children, who to this day are very dear friends.
Once we got to our destination we would run off and get to all sorts of mischievous and exciting adventures, before being called for lunch… oh and what a lunch we would have. We ate so many tasty things, expertly prepared by my grandmother and her friends. Once we ate our fill, back to our adventures and before you knew it the day had come and gone. Those days are gone but one thing is for sure how my childhood friends and I still reminisce of those beautiful days. Gone but not forgotten…..
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