Bonus playlist Wednesday: stoned soul picnic edition

(Check out the complete soul food mix series: Dinner, Dessert, Redux, Leftovers.)

So, yesterday was the first day of summer. How did you celebrate? I spent the morning working in the garden. In the afternoon I went for a haircut and ended up getting nearly twelve inches cut off, the most drastic change to my appearance since I was in college. It is exhilarating. I feel free.

Today’s soul food mix is about picnics, the quintessential simple pleasure of summer. Set aside the arguments about inevitable bug bites, sunburn, grit in your food: dining al fresco rocks.

What are your favorite picnic memories? What did you eat? With whom did you share the adventure? What made it special?

Two stand out for me. One is the requisite European baguette-and-bottle of wine story. My friend Ann came to visit me in Rome and we got hopelessly lost somewhere off the Appian Way with little more than some tangerines, a log of goat cheese, and a Swiss Army knife. We made little sandwiches and picked wild thyme to dress them. We drank too much and took a nap in an alfalfa field. One of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

The other: during the first summer courting my partner, I was determined to impress her with my mad food skills. Inspired by a recent issue of Saveur, I baked chocolate chip cookies, whipped up a raspberry sauce, and layered them into the most sublime ice cream cookie sandwiches in human history. I wrapped them in aluminum foil and froze them solid. The idea was to bring them out with a flourish at the end of our lakeside picnic lunch and blow her mind. “Oh, these? It was nothing.”

Unfortunately, we lost track of time, and by dessert the ice cream sandwiches had melted until they were very difficult to consume, cream and raspberries dripping everywhere. Fortunately, they were still delicious, and we were falling in love.

Download here.

1. Pass The Peas⎯The J.B.’s
2. Cherrystones⎯Eugene McDaniels
3. Memphis Soul Stew⎯King Curtis
4. Grazing In The Grass⎯Friends Of Distinction
5. Pig Knuckles⎯The Morrocco Muzik Makers
6. Cole Slaw⎯Frank “Floorshow” Culley
7. Beans And Cornbread⎯Louis Jordan
8. Hot Sauce⎯Sugarman Three
9. La Tortilla⎯Joe Cuba Sextet
10. Chitlin Con Carne⎯Junior Wells
11. Chicken Shack Boogie⎯Amos Milburn
12. Soul And Sunshine⎯Harvey & The Phenomenals
13. Daily Bread⎯Ike & Tina Turner
14. Let’s Go (It’s Summertime)⎯James Reese
15. Peel Me a Grape⎯Anita O’Day & Cal Tjader
16. Melting Pot⎯Underground Vegetables
17. Roast Duck⎯Lee Perry & The Dynamites
18. Summertime⎯Billy Stewart
19. Blue Skies⎯Jimmy Scott
20. Poison Ivy⎯The Coasters
21. Stoned Soul Picnic⎯The Fifth Dimension

4 responses to “Bonus playlist Wednesday: stoned soul picnic edition”

  1. Tim says:

    Sounds delicious!

    P.S. I love the bear photo.

  2. lane says:

    hey! I was gonna say that!

    : – )

  3. lane says:

    i like the grass too… stop snickering….

  4. LP says:

    “We drank too much and took a nap in an alfalfa field.” In Rome. Perfect.

    Picnics are a most fabulous invention. Even the word is pleasing, though I tend to insert an extra “a” in the middle and end – Want to go on a pickanicka? One of my favorites in recent memory was dining in the little park near the Hollywood Bowl with certain TGWers prior to a Decembrists show. I was new to LA, and sitting there, sipping wine and munching on some organic Whole Foods salad or another, chatting with my new friends in my new city, I was in heaven.

    Lovely post, Ms. Berkowitz.