Life Stories In Food: Picnics

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This is what I’ve learned. Whenever I get together with a group of friends we always end up talking about food. We can start with politics, children, literature, the price of houses and many other little things that somehow infiltrate your life.

But no matter what, no matter how late, how much wine has been consumed, no matter who is there... the conversation will inevitably turn to grub. Food unites us, it builds friendships, gives love and makes us feel - as well as keeps us - alive.

I fell completely in love with him that day – and of course, my potato salad ensured he has only ever eaten romantic picnics with me since then.

After 45 years on the planet I am fortunate enough to have made many happy memories and true to form, the vast majority of these involve eating and drinking in the company of the people I love. When I started to dig a little deeper I found that not only was there a common theme of food but the most prominent and glorious of these involved eating outdoors; I’m talking of course about that most wonderful of ceremonies – the picnic.

Cut to Easter 1982 and the side of Loch Tay. It is dry, but cold, and my Uncle George is frying butcher’s sausages, the wee portable BBQ balanced precariously on a big rock as my Mum and Auntie Margaret pour mugs of homemade lentil soup from the red flask.

Us kids chase each other around the edge of the loch-side, all dressed in the obligatory cagoules of the time. There was no music, no photos, no phones. Instead there was squealing, laughter and slightly burnt sausages covered in lashings of tomato sauce and stuffed inside a floury roll, thick with butter.

Many years later, aged 36, I courted RG with my most fancy of picnic food; sitting in the warmth of his battered old blue XJS, the rain beat down mercilessly on the roof and the wind howled past the windows so loudly it drowned out the sounds of Otis Reading (perfect romance music in case you’re wondering). We ventured out just long enough to pull my wicker basket out of the boot and I fed him my famous red, white and green tart with homemade potato salad and fat, brown pickled onions.

I fell completely in love with him that day – and of course, my potato salad ensured he has only ever eaten romantic picnics with me since then.


But my favourite picnics of them all were the ones I spent on the North Inch during the summer between my first and second year of college. My son was about to turn four and every sunny day we’d pack a picnic bag and head for the huge expanse of parkland, river and pathway.

Ham and cheese sandwiches (tomato and pickle on mine), strawberries from Martin’s Fruit Bazaar and bags of salt and shake crisps for extra crunch. Lying with the sun on my face and my happy toddler asking what would happen if the sky was green and the grass was blue might just about be the most perfect little foodie moment in time.


Our Happy Picnic Food:

Scotch eggs, mini quiche, salmon and cheeses all from Provender Brown >>>

Make Your Own With Our Fantastic Recipes for:

Rocky Road Recipe >>>

Mini Spring Frittatas Recipe >>>

Daffodils courtesy of Gill’s gorgeous Spring garden.

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