Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the grounds (always with an “s”) is a Methodist revival meeting picnic. Among agrarian communities, the revival is held in August  before harvesting begins in earnest. Throughout the United States, there are many geographic variations, but Southerners seem...
Gertrude Bell’s Baghdad Picnics

Gertrude Bell’s Baghdad Picnics

While serving as Oriental Secretary to the High Commissioner in Baghdad, Bell was a spy. Often her dual roles were indistinguishable, never more so at picnics Once using a picnic as a mask, she and her companions took an official to a lonely beach for an...
Alfred Hitchcock’s Missing Picnic in Spellbound

Alfred Hitchcock’s Missing Picnic in Spellbound

“Ham or liverwurst,” he asks. “Liverwurst,” she replies with a knowing smile.” It’s the start of a picnic (and a convoluted romance) for Dr. Anthony Edwardes (aka John Ballantyne) and Constance Petersen. Are we meant to wonder at Petersen’s knowing smile as she...
Sunset Books’ Picnics and Tailgate Parties

Sunset Books’ Picnics and Tailgate Parties

Good advice for packing a picnic: “Pack the unbreakable items first, the French bread last of all.” See: Cornelia Fogle. ed. Sunset Books, Picnics and Tailgate Parties. Menlo Park, California: Lane Publishing, 1982...
P.D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh Picnics

P.D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh Picnics

Adam Dalgliesh takes a break during murder investigation for a picnic. An hour south of Salisbury near Lulworth Cove, he stops. ” There was an out of rocks and he sat with one at his back and gazed out over the coppices to the wide blue stretch of the Channel....
Günter Grass’ Barbaric Picnic in The Flounder

Günter Grass’ Barbaric Picnic in The Flounder

Grass’ unconventional picnic in The Flounder (1977) is among the worst. Not only does Grass mock the accepted idea of a picnic but in doing so turns Greek mythology topsy-turvy. It’s an episode in which the key figure is Sybille, aka Billie, a name that is a variation...
Virginia Woolf’s picnic on Monte Rosa (The Voyage Out)

Virginia Woolf’s picnic on Monte Rosa (The Voyage Out)

Woolf’s picnic on the summit of Monte Rosa, a fictional place in South America, is the high point (pun intended) of The Voyage Out (1915). Journeying on donkeys walking in single file, the narrator creates the image of “a jointed caterpillar, tufted with the white...
Calvin Trillin’s In-Flight Gourmand Picnic

Calvin Trillin’s In-Flight Gourmand Picnic

Trillin’s joke about his “no-frills picnic” while en route from New York to Miami is a tongue-in-cheek report of the consequences of his wife Alice’s frugality that he calls “Law of Compensatory Cashflow.” Because Trillin always (almost) defers to Alice’s superior...
Leonora Carrington’s Surrealistic Pastoral Picnic

Leonora Carrington’s Surrealistic Pastoral Picnic

As with many of Carrington’s surrealistic paintings, they are enigmas. Maybe they are snapshots of her inner life—a mix of personal relationships, dreams, alchemy, astrology, myth, and probably alcohol and drugs influence all. You may find the compositions appealing...

Barbara Kingsolver’s Picnic in The Poisonwood Bible

Among ruined picnics, Kingsolver’s Congo picnic ranks high. It’s a highlight of misadventure in The Poisonwood Wood Bible, a novel the name of which is derived from a misunderstanding of local language. When Reverend Nathan Price says, “Tata Jesus is...