Picnics never go out of fashion
Now the school holidays are here, parents will be dusting off their plastic cutlery, ready to indulge in a very traditional summer activity – the picnic, writes Kate Whiting.
But chef and Carluccio’s founder, Antonio Carluccio, says there is more to creating a great spread than packing a round of cheese sandwiches and a flask of squash.
Wanting to pass on his love of eating outdoors to others, the outgoing 73-year-old Italian has recently launched a picnic range.
“Having a picnic is one of the best outdoor activities we can do in this country,” he explained.
“It is something out of the ordinary, you eat in the middle of nature”
His recipe for the perfect picnic begins with the right mix of people.
“Start with one, your lover,” he said with a laugh, “and then it goes to friendship and so on.
“In other words, it has to be jolly, that is the first ingredient.
“And then don’t make it too complicated, have really tasty food that is easy to prepare and put into the mouth, and wonderful drinks.”
The picnic spot is also hugely important.
“People park their car next to the road, take out their table, and they are picnicking there instead of going a little bit into the countryside. It is laziness in the highest degree!”
As for the little ones, Carluccio insists they should be able to eat the same food as the grown-ups.
“I find it sad that children have to have fish fingers and all that. The food should be prepared so that everyone can eat the same – the earlier they start, the better.
“It may be that some children don’t like an item but a good mother knows to prepare something special, at home, not just bought without love.
“Carluccio’s makes an effort to make something good for everyone.
“Preparing food for other people is an act of love,” he added.
“Naturally, for me, it is also a business, but behind it is the effort to think what will please and what could be good for the situation, like eating with fingers.”
Carluccio’s book, Simple Cooking, is on sale in all good bookshops.