Friday, August 3, 2012

A Midsummer Day's Feast

Every late spring when the weather becomes warm and sunny, the grass turns green and local asparagus finds its way into my fridge, my daydreaming also shifts into full throttle.  I fantasize about all of the wonderful things that will come with the warm weather: the street festivals, sunny patios, lying in the grass, yard sales, gardening, and fresh fruit that I'll be rolling in all day, all night.  The whirlwind of possibilities lifts my spirits, knowing that my weekends and weeknights will be filled with certain adventure and laughter.

And here we are.  It's the start of August, with the end of summer in full sight.  I am sad to report that over the last 2 months I've only seen one outdoor movie, attended one street festival, sat on one patio, and briskly walked through one yard sale.  My thought cloud of summer grandeur has evaporated and turned into a soggy puddle of humidity.  In my defence, I have prepared numerous excuses: we were busy with the wedding, I've been tired from the pregnancy, it's been unbearably hot weather.  But it all boils down to another summer come and gone, and not enough good times to show for it.

Something had to be done.  So last week, I told my partner that we should have a picnic for two in the park.  The wheels were set in motion, and boy did those wheels turn.

Over the next few days, we curated bits of food here-and-there for our intimate event.  Cheeses and olives were easy to procure.  But when wild boar pate and salmon caviar ended up on the menu, I wondered if we were going too far. He bought a nice selection of beers, I bought a sparkling juice.  Our idea of having a good sized spread of prepared foods, ready-to-eat and savoured slowly over the course of a Sunday afternoon was coming to fruition.

There was one exception, however.  Local peaches had just come into season, and we were missing something sweet from our menu.  What better to celebrate summer than to bake a pie?  So I spent the morning baking a peach galette: a rustic, carefree peach pie for our rustic, carefree picnic.  I easily stuffed an extra (third) peach into the recipe, though I could have even upped it one more.  The galette turned out perfectly crispy, light, sweet and juicy.

We loaded our picnic accoutrements into a backpack and a cooler, and boarded the streetcar to nearby Riverdale Park.  We laid out our large blanket comfortably in the shade of two maple trees, among the patches of clover, and along the slope of a hill so we could watch the going-ons of the other park patrons, nibble on good food, spot birds doing birdy things, chit-chat about nothing, and snooze the day away.  It was one of the best days of the summer.

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