Sunday, 8 January 2012

Enjoy a Winter Picnic

I love living in Canada.  I am especially blessed to live in a part of the country where we have four distinct seasons.  We are now over the holidays and settling into the deep cold and longest part of winter.  This is a great time of the year to get outside and have a winter picnic.  When the sun is shining and the snow is glistening, what better occasion than to pack a lunch and go skiing, tobogganing, ice-skating or just for a walk in the woods. The fresh outdoor air will guarantee a hearty appetite. 

Winter picnics require the same sort of planning as those held in the warmer seasons.  In fact from a food perspective it is easier to prepare for a winter picnic in some ways.  You don’t have to worry about food spoilage like on a hot summer’s day, the insects aren’t a problem, and for some reason it seems quieter outside and more peaceful.

Here are a few pointers to consider:
Find a spot to sit in the snow that is protected from the wind. 
Plan the picnic so that you eat when the sun is high in the sky.
Food for a winter picnic needs to be rich and substantial to keep you warm.


Use a back-pack with a rigid bottom of heavy canvas or leather with at least two compartments
A plastic groundsheet
A colourful tablecloth or blanket,
Napkins and serving things
Tin mugs
A Swiss army knife with a corkscrew
Secure plastic containers
A bread knife
A small wooden board for cutting and serving
A paring knife
Salt and pepper shakers
A can opener
Paper towel

Make sure that you wear a warm parka, mittens, and a sweater and have an extra pair of socks just in case the first pair gets wet. 

Your picnic food can be as simple or as gourmet as you like.  On one occasion when my husband and I were first married, we carried two thermoses; one held tomato soup the other hot chocolate. We packed peanut butter sandwiches and oranges. We were hiking through the snow along the local river bank, feeding the ducks along the way. Since we were in the City we found a picnic table to sit down to eat as we fuelled up to begin the long walk back.

Another time we walked along the Elora Gorge in the winter, awestruck by the frozen ice forms that cascaded down the sides of the path.  On that day we were with friends.  We built a fire. We sat around it and ate some hot home-made pea soup, rye bread, various cheeses, grapes, apples and some delectable tarts we picked up at one of Elora’ s cafes.  We sipped on hot coffee with a shot of brandy for those wanted it and enjoyed the company of our friends.  It was a memorable day!

Split Pea Soup My Style
1 lb. of split yellow peas
1 small ham shank or smoked pork butt or any smoked meat * omit if you are a vegetarian and use broth of choice
1 large onion chopped
4 med. carrots sliced
3 ribs of celery
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 parsnip root diced
1 bay leaf
6 whole peppercorns
3 quarts of water
Wash and drain yellow peas and place in soup pot with 3 quarts of cold water.
Add ham or pork butt, along with vegetables and spices.
Bring water to a boil, turn down heat and slowly cook until all veggies and peas are soft.
Taste for seasoning.  Cooking will take about an hour and a half. Puree in small batches.
Makes 6 servings
*Tip: Before you pour the soup or any hot beverage into your thermos make sure that you have warmed the container with boiling water.

A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!  ~Author Unknown



1 comment:

marie said...

That really does sound like a wonderful idea. I don't know that I'd sit but the rest would be lovely.