First Picnic of the Year

Martha and I love picnics, probably because they combine some of our (at least, my) favorite things. Those being:

  • Eating
  • Being outside
  • Drinking

As soon as the weather starts to turn to the right side of warm I am pushing to be eating food outside. Actually this year we tried at least one picnic on the wrong side of warm; generally speaking, a picnic in Duluth in February is not a good idea. But last weekend, with temperatures in the 60s here in the Twin Cities, it was time to brave the south shore of Lake Calhoun for the official start of the picnicking season.

Although eventually I’d like to get more adventurous with picnic food, long habit dictates that the focus of any picnic should be bread, cured meat and cheese. With Martha working we needed to have an evening picnic and since it still gets dark sooner than I’d like we needed something simple and fast, i.e. sandwiches. Inspired by countless bocadillos consumed in Spain, I went with Boar’s Head Virginia ham (jamón york rather than jamón), very generic white cheese, and butter, on my standard wild-yeast boule.

I could sure go for a HAM SANDWICH right now

The first picnic of the year is a real celebration of spring, and no vegetable says spring more than asparagus. My favorite way to prepare asparagus (and almost any vegetable) is to roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper. I whipped together some mayonnaise to serve as dip. This was the first asparagus I have eaten all year (it’s still out of season here but there comes a point every year where I kind of give up on local produce) and it was everything I wanted it to be. I doubt I could articulate exactly what makes spring asparagus so awesome, but if you’ve had it you hardly need an explanation. 

Life doesn't get much better than asparagus and mayonaisse

It was a very simple picnic, but those are usually the best ones. As we set out on our bikes for the lake the all-day blue sky started to cloud up, and the wind sure can blow on the lake, making it was a little too cool to be comfortable. We did not linger after eating. But hey, less than perfect weather is just a part of being outside and what makes picnicking so fun.

And as for the last thing I like about picnics, drinking, it is illegal to consume alcohol in Minneapolis parks. We certainly did not conceal a bottle of wine between our stainless steel water bottles. That would be illegal.

Beautiful Lake Calhoun park in Spring


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11 comments on “First Picnic of the Year”

  1. Martha 21 April, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Let me be the first to say this is a goofy picture of me.

  2. Linda 21 April, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    And may I add that Tom’s legs look exceedingly long in this photo.

  3. kevin 22 April, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Shouldn’t a picnic be held when the temperature is above freezing?

  4. Ryan 23 April, 2009 at 12:36 am

    hey….the picture! oh god oh god ohgodohogodhgodhgodhgodh! the picture! it’s, not there! though the alt tag says its “asparagus and mayo” which sounds…..delightful?

  5. Tom 23 April, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Picture loads for me. Are you using some kind of crazy browser of your own invention? Also yes delightful is a fine way to describe the asparagus and mayo so I guess you get the idea.

  6. Tom 23 April, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Well now that I am at work the picture is broke! This happened with my carbonara beer pairing article too. Something funny going on.

  7. Martha 24 April, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Image still broken… using Chrome.

  8. Tom 24 April, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Yeah I noticed that. Also, the image in the Carbonara-Pairing post is still broken. In both cases, I created a composite of two photos in PS and then saved the photo (stupidly) with a mixed-case filename. I will try to redo them tonight, but I won’t be able to tell if they’re truly fixed because they’ve always worked on my computer at home. So anybody who wants to troubleshoot this with me tonight let me know!

  9. Linda 24 April, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Pictures are fine here in Midlandia at my computer.

  10. Martha 26 April, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Why don’t you just remove the composite and repost the two as side-by-side 300 wide images?

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