Storybook Picnic

A Woodcutter’s Picnic…

Life is so short, and in the everyday hustle and bustle, cooking (and even eating sometimes!) becomes simply just another task, another box to check off.  But food is so much more than just sustenance; it’s a way to feel joyful, a way to connect with your loved ones and a way to live brilliantly.  And we have only this one chance to live brilliantly.

In a world of pristine white tablecloths, something new has emerged in recent years. We see it in the low, slow braises and fire-roasted old-world cuisine reappearing in recipe books, blogs & eateries.

It’s a resurgence of love for what can only be termed rustic fare — a trend that has been millennia in the making


In European villages and hill towns, people never stopped cooking and eating rustic cuisine, of course. It’s only here that a fast-food-frenzied, over-processed generation is rediscovering the joys of its simple authenticity.

Rustic food doesn’t take guidance – it’s the way people have cooked at home for generations. Food tastes like the ingredients it came from.  It doesn’t require food processors, foamers or gels.

There’s just an inherent appeal; it’s not intimidating, not pretentious or fussy. And when you’re working with beautiful seasonal ingredients, the less you do to them, the better.

The end result, of course, is the kind of food anyone can make and everyone will savor. It’s healthful, simple and real. Add family, friends and a whimsical outdoor setting, and life is brilliant…

On The Menu

This menu might look extravagant, but each item is about simple, rustic food that’s been put together with love. You will be able to find most of the ingredients at your local Superstore, and the recipes can be viewed by our El Gusto premium members. 

Pea, Ham & Potato Soup | View the recipe


Slow Cooked Pork Ribs with Bourbon BBQ Sauce | View the recipe

And serving them, tender and smokey


Toasted Walnut Butter | View the recipe


Honey & Rosewater Marshmallows | View the recipes

The Décor

If you’re really relaxed about your decor there are so many ideas for creating a paired back picnic space. Be fuss free with chopping boards, wooden planks, enamel dishes and pots. The more mixed and textural elements, the better. Lay down some linen sheets and let your guests fall into the feel of the day. Vintage glass water bottles look perfect dotted through the tablescape, filled with fresh infused water flavours and non-alcoholic refreshments.

A parting thought…

Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of the most important presidents in American history. He was well known for his energy and productivity. Abe Lincoln’s productivity secret was to use sharper tools to get the job done more efficiently.

He said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Lincoln, who was a skilled woodcutter before becoming president, likely meant this both literally and figuratively. Inefficient tools waste energy.

Sharpening your axe can include many things. But (and most of us forget this), the most important ‘tool’ for achieving any task in life is YOU – your ability to use your mind and body to its full potential.

Sadly, it is also the one that we most often take for granted. We expect our bodies and minds to just keep on performing though we don’t nurture them as we should.

Most of us do not give ourselves enough rest, don’t eat enough nutritional food and don’t drink enough water. We exercise too little and don’t take proper breaks. We don’t relax and we don’t enrich ourselves with learning, creativity and beauty. In short, we don’t sharpen our axe!

Take some time to consider how you ‘sharpen your axe’. Aim for balance, and remember that treating you and your family to a warming day out like this can be a nourishing (and fun) way to help you achieve this!

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