I read Ali’s picnic past, present and future with a tear in my eye. Happy memories are made on a picnic blanket!
Moving to New Zealand I had to learn a whole new language (Yes they do speak English!) however “morning tea” “bring a plate” “burn it” were all new expressions to me.
Toby was 3 when we moved here and being at home with him I was always happy to meet at the beach, at playground or park but “bring morning tea” had me stumped! Afternoon tea I can do – delicate sandwiches, dainty pastries and cakes. Morning tea in NZ for kids means muffins, pikelets and fruit; for my husband who has morning tea meetings at work it means pies (steak pie, cheese pie or sausage rolls with a token muffin) For me it means trying not to eat too much saturated fat! After making a couple of faux pas I now keep mini ABC muffins and cookies in the freezer for morning tea emergencies!
“Bring a Plate” – originally I thought this was to save the host washing up; everyone brings their own plate and cutlery and takes it home to wash themselves? Wrong (or fail as they say here) You are actually meant to fill the plate to bring along. Luckily I realised this before arriving with my empty plate! “Bring a plate” both amuses me and strikes me down with fear! Dependent on where you’re going and who is hosting. “Bring a plate” can translate into “Masterchef – the canapés wars” Ali has always been the cook in the family and whilst I do OK, I do not have a armerie of “Oh I just threw it together” recipes; I am also not a consistently good baker – occasionally it’s fantastic, frequently it’s edible but only if there’s nothing else and more often than I care to admit it ends up in the bin! So turning up with a plate of HOME MADE (it would be too shocking for words to produce shop bought food) to present (hopefully beautifully) to your peers is for me like going before the Masterchef judges! I’ve had hits (mini cheese & bacon quiches) misses (curried cheese ball) and even worse when nothing get said at all (pesto pizza)!
“Burn it” – lots of parks and reserves have BBQ’s so you turn up with your chilly bin (ice box) full of meat and cook it or “Burn it”. This is great because it gives the guys something to do, whilst the kids play and Mums chat!
Our latest “picnic” (well, eating outdoors!) was a Burger King eaten at the top of an extinct volcano overlooking Auckland City – fantastic. My next “Bring a Plate” is on Saturday for a mid-winter Christmas party – any ideas?!!