Sunday, April 29, 2012

May Day Picnic

Another Beltane tradition from Sweden is "May Guild In The Green" - a picnic. People would take a picnic basket and a blanket with them, eat, drink, sing and merry.

Picnics are a wonderful way of spending time with the family. Choose a weekend for your picnic.

(You could also surprise someone you know who works with a picnic basket to work - go and fetch your friend at lunch time with the basket and take him/her to a close-by park to enjoy the picnic with.)

Now, I am not used to send invitations for picnics, but it might be a good idea...

I love these picnic invitation tags, and it's a free printable
Thank you, Amy!

Remember to put on the invitation:
  • what
  • when (date and time and extend)
  • where
  • what to bring (picnic basket? sunglasses? sunblock? hat?)
  • how to contact you before and during the picnic (telephone/mobile number)

One thing I have learned is that you should have a big picnic cloth with a waterproof backside, because the chosen spot is always wet :-D Pillows are also a nice thing to have at picnic... for more than one reason ;-)

Another thing; picnic basket.

“Oh stop, stop,” cried the Mole in ecstasies: “this is too much!”

Fill it with food that can be eaten by hands and that is supposed to eat at the "room temperature", lukewarm :-D It is not easy to keep food warm or cold, and that creates always more problems, unnecessary complications. A picnic is supposed to be carefree and fun, and having to worry about melting ice cream or food getting cold is not beneficial for the right mood :-D

Have some savory options and some sweets.

There's plenty of wonderful recipes, ideas and menus for picnic, but here's some ideas of mine:
Have fruits peeled and cut in edible pieces; vegetables and a jar of dip; sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper; cheese and biscuits; pastries, handpies and other such foods; cake, pie and cookies (cut the pie and cakes already at home, so that one can just take what ever they want).
How to make a nice veggie dip sauce:

Grate some onion into a bowl, if you like onions. If not, don't. :-D
Add 1 part of full-fat mayonnaise (don't use the "light" anything. That will only fool you to think you can eat more, and the taste is nowhere near the original, full-fat version. Use full-fat and eat less, and enjoy every bite.)
and 1-3 parts of sour cream, natural yoghurt (Greek, Turkish, what ever, just as long as it's thick and unflavored), Crema, Creme Fraiche, Smetana, Quark, any such fermented dairy product - again, full-fat and thick, creamy stuff. Not some "light" crap. OK?
You can also add some cream cheese (also unflavored and full-fat.)

Mix well.

Taste with salt and ground celery seeds. (Or "seasoning salt": 1 part celery salt, 1 part onion powder (or leek powder)
- Celery salt: 2 parts celery seeds, 3 parts sea salt - grind together into fine powder

You can add grated carrots, bell peppers diced into really small cubes, finely chopped chives, scallions, leek; grated onion, garlic, any herbs you like, dried or fresh... practically anything. Dill is good, if you like that. Again, if you don't - like me - don't.

You can also experiment with different flavored cream cheeses and other dairy products, but see they are savory, not sweet.

Whisk it all together and put in a nice jar with wide mouth and a lid. Storage in the fridge until it's time to pack the basket for picnic :-)  It's better if the dip can "marinate" at least for 2 hours.

What vegetables to dip? Celeriac stalks; carrot sticks; cucumber sticks; sugar peas; cherry tomatoes (put them in toothpicks); cauliflower or broccoli florettes; bell pepper slices; radishes...
You can also make bread sticks for dipping.
Don't forget the drinks.
In Sweden there's always some coffee in a thermos flask, and some milk in a small bottle and some sugar in a small box :-D
I want some cordial to my picnics. Preferably raspberry cordial, because... well... I'm Finnish :-D We use a lot of raspberries :-)
I also like having homemade "brew", like sima (pronounced "se-muh") or gingerbeer in nice bottles with special made label :-D (Go to my "Ginger beer or Gay post" for recipes)

Drinks taste better from glass or china cup, so if you don't dare to use the ordinary fine dishes in your picnic basket, get some cheap things. 

Remember to have ice packs in your picnic basket, because sandwiches and fruits/veggies feel better in cool environment :-) You can freeze water in bottles to be used as ice packs - when the water melts, it becomes lovely ice-cold beverage :-D

 This is a Burundian hay cooker basket, and I love it! 
I can just see it lined with red-and-white gingham for picnics...
A hay cooker doesn't only keep food warm, it keeps food cold too... 
so this is your home-made cooler... 

Remember to take with you a couple of plastic bags in a roll, so that all the garbage can be bagged on the spot, so you won't leave a mess behind you.

Take a lot of paper towels and wet wipes. (Or washcloths and cloth napkins, if you prefer that, like I do :-D and a laundry bag for used ones... Here's how to make cloth wet wipes at home. If you use cloth wet wipes, see your laundry bag is waterproof.)

Now, what would those Swedes have done on their May Outing In The Green?

They would dance (different renaissance chain danses, in line or ring are wonderful for Beltane)

They would have a pillow fight. (Yes, it's absolutely wonderful thing to do outside in the wild, because the birds will clean up the mess afterwards and use the feathers to line their nests.)

They would have eating contests of small Swedish pancakes with berry jam :-)

They would have different games like sack runs, egg runs, "who can thread a needle walking" runs, and the modern versions which I like very much, like playing twister or parcheese with a game board painted on the ground or sewn on a large cloth, and using people as game pieces.

See more at my Pinterest Picnic board


Shaiha said...

Thank you for sharing the Beltaine traditions from your part of the world.

Blessed Be.

Ketutar said...

Thank you, Shaiha, for your comment :-) It made me happy :-)

be blessed you too, you and yours :-)