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The way we were: picnics

Extracts from memoirs and diaries on eating outdoors

By Ian Irvine   August 2011

In The Physiology of Taste (1825) the epicure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin describes the charm of a picnic party:

At the appointed hour we see arrive light carriages and prancing horses, loaded with the fair, all feathers and flowers. Seating themselves on the green sward, they eat while the corks fly and there is talk, laughter and merriment, and perfect freedom, for the universe is their drawing room, and the sun their lamp. Besides they have appetite, Nature’s special gift, which lends to such a meal a vivacity unknown indoors, however beautiful the surroundings.

Mrs Beeton sets down the quantities required…

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