Picnic on the Porch
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved a good picnic. Growing up we always loved to spend a lot of time outdoors, camping, visiting various parks, beaches, etc. And many times we would simply put down a blanket somewhere, or set up on a picnic table with a little barbeque, or open the back of our Westfalia camper on the beach, each time putting out a full spread of delectable fare.
Food in my family has always been a big thing. But making a big thing out of food has also been just as big. So it’s no wonder that I love setting the table just so, presenting lots of beautiful food options, and creating a really special ambience for enjoying a nice meal, whether it’s at home or outdoors somewhere having a picnic.
Today I set up a picnic on the front porch, but this concept can be used pretty much anywhere, whether it's in your front yard or backyard, on your balcony, patio, or perhaps in the park. You can use tables and chairs, a picnic table, or simply lay out a soft blanket on the grass. You can serve something as simple as hot chocolate or tea with coffee cake, wine and cheese with fruits, finger sandwiches with Prosecco, or an elaborate spread of caviar and Champagne. But it’s not so much what you serve (although to me good food is just as important); you can simply set up the scene to make any meal a more memorable experience.
Use a crisp white tablecloth and maybe some candles (but make sure the candles are secure, or otherwise use the battery operated ones). Turn on some ambient music (I chose Parisian café music that I found on Youtube). Put a bouquet of flowers on top of the table or even just lay some flowers along the ground. Also, bring out the actual china and real cutlery and stemware for that extra special touch. However, you can still go with the disposable options too. There is a huge variety these days of beautiful paper plates and cups that you could have fun playing with, or even reusable plastic tableware sets that are light and easy to wash. The creative possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
What I love about creating such an experience outdoors is that it feels like I am bringing the indoors out, and that makes me feel like nature is my dining room. Feeling the sun on my face, the gentle breeze caressing my hair, and the fresh air filling my lungs while the birds chirp and the squirrels play, it takes me somewhere special. Remember that commercial slogan from way back, “Calgon, take me away!” Yeah, the feeling is something like that.
Sense memory is an incredible thing. A certain song, smell, taste can instantaneously transport you to a past memory that you absolutely loved and, in doing so, can recreate that joyous feeling within you all over again. Consequently, when we can create new adventures, we should definitely make the time to do so. But, for the times in between, there is still always a way to reconnect to that joyful emotion, which puts us back into the vibe of what we desire to experience once again.
But whether we are reimagining an old memory or we are creating a new one (along with the inspiration for where we want to go and what we want to do next), the feeling remains the same. Meaning, the feeling is the essence and the foundation behind everything that we experience. And so, it is this feeling that can be easily recreated time and time again, both through our imagination, but also through the actions that we choose to take in order to bring those images to life.
The point of this story is that you don’t need to go to a Michelin Star restaurant or travel to Paris or the French Riviera (although I love doing that too) in order to recreate that sort of experience. Get creative, be spontaneous, throw some stuff together, and then perhaps take it outside. Put some loving care and attention into all of your efforts and you will create the feeling that you want to have. And then this feeling will inspire more ideas and actions that, one day, will evolve into more adventures for you to enjoy. Remember, there is always a way to make the seemingly mundane memorable, and memories are really what it’s all about anyway.