First Picnic of the Year
By Tom // Posted 21 April, 2009 in: Minneapolis, Picnics
Martha and I love picnics, probably because they combine some of our (at least, my) favorite things. Those being:
- Being outside
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 (jamÃ³n york rather than jamÃ³n), very generic white cheese, and butter, on my standard wild-yeast boule.
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.
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.