A Boaty Picnic

When you are planning a boaty picnic, the very first thing you need to do, before deciding upon the menu, which is our chief preoccupation today, is to check what the forecast says about the conditions of the weather and the sea. If, for example, you find out that it will be choppy, with squalls, then you would do best to avoid a dish such as clotted pollock dabs, suitably fishy but too rich, too creamy, and in the event potentially nauseating. Something plainer, like boiled sweets in gravy, would be better for your picnic, provided of course that the gravy is not too gamey. Rank gravies should be avoided at all times, but especially when out in a boat, picnicking on the high seas. Some might say that any gravy, even the plainest, even with boiled sweets swimming in it, is an unsuitable item for a picnic menu, what with the supposed need for bowls and spoons and bibs, but I say it can be poured into beakers with sealed lids and glugged therefrom, with no bowl or spoon in sight. You will probably still want bibs, but they are essential for any maritime feast, what with all the sloshing about of the boat upon the waters. And believe you me, boats will slosh about, even on the calmest waters, that is just how it is.

Greasy and slippery foods ought also be avoided when packing the hamper before boarding the boat. Think, rather, of taking hard, chewy, and even stale items. A boaty picnic can be a splendid way of using up leftovers, for what proves unpalatable can be chucked overboard into the sea, where it will be devoured by the many ravenous scavenging befinned and beflippered beings that cavort within the waters, often just below the surface, with great snapping jaws.

But there would be no point picnicking at all if you threw the entire contents of the hamper into the broiling ocean, so do be sure to pack some real treats like New South Wales Marzipan Cane Toads, and roly poly pudding, and processed cheese triangles, and the devil’s water biscuits, better known these days as cream crackers.

Just make sure that the oars of your boat are real, and wooden, and not made of compacted hundreds-and-thousands, stiffened with cornflour paste. Ne’er-do-well quayside boats-for-hire scamps have been known to play such tricks on landlubbers. Be warned.

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