Thank You Madame, for a Delightful Afternoon in the Country

{Editor’s Note: WARNING! Strong Language}

“Withnail & I” is, of course, the litmus test for disastrous happenings out of town. OK, our little visit to the country did have Mrs. E. hyperventilating, but once we hit major roads and generous expanses of concrete and cell reception she was just fine. So, it was with mixed feelings that we hit the road today to visit a lovely-in-all-ways colleague of Mrs. E.’s: Madame. We took along the children as the purpose of the afternoon was to show them vast rolling fields, a lake and that sort of thing. We were also accompanied by another delightful friend and colleague who is, arguably, even more citified than we. I’m sorry I didn’t take a video camera.

The afternoon was fine — no surprise. The children ventured onto the huge expanse of rolling lawn that sloped down to the lake and then retreated inside after an interlude playing on the rather long asphalt driveway. You can take the children out of the city… And there was an incident with a massive German Shepherd from next door, but we chased him away after our hostess’ son ditched the bike and played dead.

Our hostess is a very civilised woman and is always welcome with great glee to any gathering. It was a pleasure to sit at her table and enjoy…

The Easy and Elegant Life’s Perfect Southern Summer Luncheon Menu
A basket of bread
Chicken Salad with raisins and nuts
Deviled Eggs
Plate of Crudités — or would you call it a relish tray? Red Pepper strips, crackers, carrots, cheddar cheese slices, apple slices
Pitchers of Lemonade, Tea and (ice cold well) Water (the bubble was consumed before the meal to fortify us for the sojourn into the wild.)
“Aunt Edna’s Lemon” Meringue Pie (very possibly the best I’ve ever had.)

When it gets hot, there are a few staples that should be packed up for a trip or served family style in the afternoon. It simply isn’t summer without deviled eggs or chicken salad. And for that road trip? Cold Southern Fried Chicken.

Because not one of us wishes to suffer as Withnail and I did… wouldn’t you rather picnic after a drive in the country this way; we used to did you? Leg or a breast?

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