(gratuitous, attention-grabbing fireworks photo)
We have a saying about March and April (in like a lamb, out like a lion), as well as May and June (showers and flowers), but someone really should take the time to give July its due. Perhaps no one has because it is all so self-explanatory. In both of the seasonal cities I have lived (Boston and Paris), the fun and sunshine of July completely make up for (and go beyond) the cold, dark, snowy days of recent February past. In an ex-pat’s Paris, with our unofficial 4th of July celebrations, followed by Bastille Day (14 of July), cinéma en plein air, and/or weekend trips around the country (or continent, if you are lucky), there are more than enough reasons to celebrate summer – preferably with a picnic.
Like this summer’s weather, the hothouse summer foods burst on the scene early (cherries in May, zucchini in June), but then staggered a bit into autumn territory (broccoli, potatoes) before stabilizing again in the past few weeks (bring on the apricots). Following this logic, I am a bit nervous for the paniers of the next week or two (before they go on vacation, again). We’re in the middle of a cold snap and extended rainstorm, and I am not yet ready for the apple Armageddon.
(now it is clear where all the tomatoes came from – and had to go)
Picnics are always a good option, in whatever size and shape they take form:
Living Room: A few weeks ago, Meg and I used the funny looking fresh tomatoes to complete a caprese salad (including the most meltingly delicious mozzarella I have ever tasted), served alongside quinoa tossed with zucchini and roasted peppers, a variety of cool dips and a crusty baguette. With a glass of rosé (a necessary picnic component) and good conversation, we were in business.
Big Bash: Last week was the biggest picnic of them all, Bastille Day. In preparation for day-long lounging, I wanted to be sure to have substantial picnic food prepared. Industriously combining the previous two paniers, I spent the evening of the 13 of July singing along with the iPod, dancing around my kitchen and cooking massive amounts of tasty picnic staples: potato salad and coleslaw.
Aside: also made ( not pictured but deserving mention) was Camille’s carmelized onion-bacon dip. If you have not made this yet, do it. Now. I can wait. You will thank me.
The next day, after several hours in the sunshine, copious wine consumption and an ever-expanding guest list, I am very glad I did. Everyone else seemed glad that I had, as well…