A Few Thoughts on Outdoor Dining

Why is it that eating outdoors makes food taste better?

Is it the scenery, menu or the relaxed attitude that makes it more enjoyable than a high-end restaurant?

Over the past few years I have thought deeply on this quandary.  One week I will be convinced that it is the return to the earth that makes open air eating worthwhile – sand between the toes and chirping of birds add to the experience.  Other times I am certain that the mixture of sun, air and breeze adds a flavor to the food consumed.  A feast of the senses – a grand vista laid forth by God, the song of the wilderness, smell of the earth, colors of the meal, the texture of each morsel add up to a complete experience.

Other times it is the relaxed nature inherent in picnicking and the removal of artificial customs that makes dining al fresco the most enjoyable.  There are no waiters to tip, no elbows to keep off the table, and if you happen to fall asleep on the picnic blanket after the meal, just be sure not to snore too loudly.

Finally, there is something primal about breaking bread with friends and family on a blanket under the sky.  Class differences are stripped – the picnic can be an elaborate multi-course affair served with silver on china and crystal or a simple potluck brought by friends.  The occasion can be fancy – a concert at Glyndebourne with a picnic eaten in a tuxedo or a casual gathering in the nearest park enjoyed in jeans.  Nevertheless, a picnic will be memorable, whatever the menu, whatever the scenery.

Picnicking has become a passion of mine.  Here at Grazing in the Grass, I will bring you a menu a week most often derived from a theme, delivered each Thursday for a Saturday picnic and ideally much more.  I hope you enjoy the blog and  check back frequently.

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