My love affair with the picnic began when I was a small child, when we would make pimento cheese sandwiches and cookies, throw them in the ice chest with some cokes and head to the lake for the day. Later, as an adult, I was introduced to a whole new level of picnicking at Symphony on the Prairie…..what I affectionately call frou-frou picnicking….with real wine glasses, serving bowls, cloth napkins, candles, cheese boards, and a beautiful spread. I adopted the practice of frou-frou picnicking with gusto….developing my own picnic style….finding accessories along the way….baskets, cheeseboards, wineglass holders for the lawn….
Last year, the Man and I decided to take our frou-frou picnic to the infield of the Indy 500. I had always sat in the stands for the race, but was intrigued with the idea of a day-long picnic watching pretty cars go by at 200 miles per hour. Now the Indianapolis Motor Speedway doesn’t allow glass containers, so we had to get a bit creative. I tend to be a *bit* of a wine snob, so boxed wine was out of the question. The Man and I wandered up and down the liquor aisle until we found it…..a box of pre-made margaritas. It was small enough to put into my small cooler so we were set!! We put my pink-striped tablecloth in the picnic basket, along with my amber polypropylene margarita glasses and a deck of cards and created our picnic fare. We cubed Gouda and cotswolds cheeses, stirred up some fresh guacamole, rolled up roast beef and cheese pinwheels, and made our famous Tunisian Cous-Cous Salad. Since it was quite toasty outside, for dessert we made a fruit salad with strawberries, Mascarpone cheese, and walnuts. It was a feast fit for a king!!!
At the track, we found the perfect picnic spot halfway up the berm on Turn 3. We spread out the pink tablecloth (please don’t judge him for the pink…..he was just makin’ me happy!), arranged our fest just so, and poured ourselves margaritas. Life is good!!! A voice behind me shouted, “are those champagne glasses?” I looked up at him (he was a television reporter) and exclaimed, “No, silly, they are margarita glasses! Want one?” The reporter, I’ll call him Jim as his name has long since disappeared from the list of useless information I keep in my brain, sauntered down the berm…..examined our picnic…and began to inquire about our feast. Jim asked if he could interview us for the pre-race coverage….why not….could be fun! I look at The Man and remind him that hangin’ with me is always an adventure.
The cameras roll and Jim asks me to show him everything we brought for our kingly picnic. I presented each dish one-by-one explaining them in Food-TV worthy fashion. Jim asks The Man and me for our picks for the race (he liked Tony Kanaan and I liked the pink car) and leaves to interview other people in Turn 3. Jim returns with just one more question, “Becky,” he asks, “do you feel out of place with your fancy picnic amidst this car-racin’ crowd in the infield?” “Jim,” I said, “The Indy 500 isn’t just for the fried chicken, Coors Lite drinking crowd….it’s for everyone!” The Man and I poured another margarita, opened the guacamole container and started a card game of Tablic.
Yes, that’s my claim to fame – a fabulous picnic in the infield of the Indy 500.
Be sure to read Becky’s blog, The Divorced Diva’s Guide to Survival.