Eating with kids is often all about expediency, and so although it was difficult, in Oxford, to set aside my romantic, Evelyn Waugh-inspired visions of country picnics, I have been at this long enough to know that when the kids are hungry, they need to eat. Now.
So we make or purchase nice sandwiches, collect cold drinks, perhaps add a bag of crisps and some carrots or an apple. Sometimes, I pack the picnic while they are eating breakfast, and they start asking for it shortly after we leave the house. (I have learned to pack enough food for six.) Or we collect the provisions on the road, in which case the kids see no reason not to sit right down and eat it. They plop down in a grubby doorway, hardly waiting for me to kick the cigarette butts out of the way; they enjoy a pretty view, but they don’t need it. So while I keep expecting to picnic in a place like this:
Inevitably, we wind up in a place like this:
And I’ll keep reminding myself that while a nice setting might improve the meal, it’s the food and the company who make the meal.