Fanny Cradock and her husband, Johnnie, were, in their own words, persistent globetrotters. They loved nothing better than relentlessly roaming round the world (well, at least the European part of it) in search of new and interesting gastronomic delights to bring back, and of course share with those of us who were less fortunate. Not everyone could easily afford be a continual globetrotter back in the 1970s. So, we are well and truly thankful that Fanny has done a special rundown of her principal perpetual picnics from 'abroad'.
Yes, picnics. It's what you think of when you think of 'overseas cuisine' isn't it? Fanny and Johnnie have experienced a great deal of so called 'foreign' picnics as well as those, to their jaundiced eyes at least, which seem so prevalent in the British Isles. Fanny refers to these as the 'sadness of picnics'. They normally consist of a Thermos flask full-time of lukewarm, dishwater resembling tea, and some curled up fish paste sandwiches in a crumpled up brown paper bag, often eaten in lay-by with the added bonus of petrol fumes. These are not the kind of picnics that Fanny has in mind here, nor are they the kind her and Johnnie take. They are the kind of picnics I had back in the 1970s though.
Fanny is thinking more of romantic occasions like her and Johnnie had when they were 'nesting' before they became engaged, or Family picnics on the sea shore with a host of accoutrements to save sandy mishaps. Perhaps picnics that could be munched as you wander, particularly great for children, who abhor being made to sit properly in the open air. Seemingly. How about Spring Picnics which can be eaten in the car when it pours down? Fanny has suggestions for them all, so never feel stuck for a picnic idea again.
Fanny suggests that whichever picnic path you decide upon, you will need quite a car-load of 'stuff' to ensure that all goes smoothly. Don't forget a length of string to tie to your wine bottle while you keep it cool in a stream. Never leave home without a damp flannel in a small polythene bag for those grizzly, sticky and messy children's faces and hands. Pillows should be taken, but should be inflatable, so as not to take up room unnecessarily and forcing tall people in the back seat of the car to sit with their necks bent at cramp angles because they are wedged in right up to the roof. Everything that can possibly be made of plastic, should be, to bypass the bother of breakages.
Fanny does recommend all things Thermos, almost as if she has been sponsored by them. Strange. There are ones for every event. There are small ones suitable for picnics with children too. You'll need them as well as a steady supply of balls for breaking windows, cricket bats to facilitate this, fold up chairs to put things on (never for sitting on) and a radio to blast very loudly. Fanny's picnics sound so, erm, continental and not-at-all British. Doesn't it? The other essential seems to be sausage rolls. Definitely not British. No busy Mum, and certainly not British ones, wants to spend two hours making individual sausage rolls though, so Fanny recommends saving time by making long ones and chopping them up. Much more time to frolic by the sea, like the oh-so continually cooking-out Continentals do.