Oliver Cromwell’s Unlucky Picnic in Hyde Park

Oliver Cromwell’s Unlucky Picnic in Hyde Park

Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector of England, “picnicked” in Hyde Park in 1654. According to Cromwell’s secretary of state Edmund Ludlow, “His highness, only accompanied with secretary Thurloe and some few of his gentlemen and servants, went to take the air in...
Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece Picnics

Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece Picnics

“Heroic Survivors of the Picnic.” is Gwen Raverat’s bittersweet memory of a miserable picnic. It’s the next-to-last anecdote in her memoir Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood. I think she means to suggest that life was no picnic, but that she has no remorse. Despite...

Moravia’s “War is after all a long picnic.”

Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante, husband and wife, posed on the beach in Capri  suggesting that by their pensive expressions, marriage was no picnic. On the other hand, Moravia explained that during the war, his relationship with Morante was happy but fraught with...
Alice Toklas’ Picnic Sandwiches

Alice Toklas’ Picnic Sandwiches

The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (1954) suggests that chopped roast beef and chopped chicken with mushrooms make the best picnic sandwiches. However, when these were not enough, Toklas and her partner Gertrude Stein stopped at restaurants where they might dine on Morvan...
Napoleon’s Almonds

Napoleon’s Almonds

Napoleon’s valet said that he was a frugal eater, but after five years of exile on St. Helena, his face was fat and his figure plump. Henry Dodgin’s contemporary sketch of the great man suggests a penguin. But it’s not a caricature, and for sure, this is how Napoleon...
Lee’s Excursion to Weston-Super-Mare

Lee’s Excursion to Weston-Super-Mare

Among Laurie Lee’s vivid memories is his first picnic by the sea, a grand event sponsored by the Slad church choir. It was an annual trek of fifty-one miles to Weston-Super-Mare, on the coast, for which the most of the townsfolk stuffed themselves into hired five...