by Esther Walker
The whole point of eating outside, surely, is freedom from the petty bourgeois rules associated with eating inside. Isn’t it all about eating stuff freely, catching a frisbee with one hand and holding a sausage in the other?
So why do all picnics these days involve plates and cutlery? Why do people think that you can bring an assortment of shabbily-wrapped ingredients to the park and then “make your own sandwiches”? No, no, no. You have to be ingenious with picnics. Balancing a plastic plate on your lap heaped with warm coleslaw, a pre-cooked cocktail sausage from Marks and Spencer and an unbuttered slice of Warburton’s is not okay. You can’t just attempt to recreate your kitchen on the nearest bit of public ground that isn’t totally covered with dog poo.
The best picnic I’ve ever had was bought from the Bull and Last pub on Highgate Road and eaten on Hampstead Heath. We bought two mini pasties each, one Scotch egg to share, four bottles of cider and two small tubs of ice cream. Best. Picnic. Ever. No assembly required. No need to stack plates smeared with mayonnaise and ketchup, grass and ants back into plastic bags. Just roll all the packaging up, recycle what can be recycled and bin the rest.
So I’d like to share with you an idea for one ingenious item in your picnic basket this summer, called a Bazooka Picnic Bomb. It’s basically a potato salad inside a baked potato and it’s absolutely brilliant. My example bomb is made with creme fraiche and chorizo, but you can put whatever you like inside your Picnic Bomb - a more summery combination might be creme fraiche, chives and mint, or garlic and spring onions (if you’re not planning to kiss anyone at the picnic).
Anyway, the method remains the same whatever you put inside.
1 Take a large baking potato and prick all over. Put it in the oven for 1hr30min at 200C.
2 Remove from oven, cut in half and scoop out the insides into a bowl. Mix with your ingredients and spoon back into the empty shells.
3 Bring the two halves back together and wrap carefully in foil. Put back in the oven for 20 minutes.
4 Remove from oven and tie up with string to secure.
The only extra item you’ll require is a spoon. And, let’s face it: maybe not even that.