Thursday, July 29, 2010

Breakfast Al Fresco

Breakfast Al Fresco


To be outdoors during the cool of a summer morning is a pleasant way to start the day. After filling the clothes washer and emptying the dishwasher, I sometimes step outside to sit on the side stoop. There I’ll sip a green smoothie or a raspberry smoothie. It’s peaceful at that early hour. Fewer birds sing in late July but I can always depend upon at least a couple songsters. They have their notes down pat and haven’t yet learned the meaning of the musical term finale.
    I ignore our old cars in the driveway (we haven’t a garage at present) and watch the butterflies and bumblebees on the flowers to the left and right of me. Then I putter. I water my potted herbs, pick a ripe tomato or two, before I return to the kitchen to cook some eggs. 

Green Smoothie

In the blender:
A handful of baby spinach or young beet tops
Frozen banana pieces
Fresh orange and/or peach chunks peeled and pitted
Water to cover
Kiwi garnish (not pictured)

Outdoor Memories “Bottled up for After-Refreshment”

     “Never be indoors when you can rightly be without,” is Charlotte Mason’s reminder to us. In Home Education she devotes more than a chapter to tell us why. I find the following paragraph of hers to be particularly persuasive and beautiful. Don’t you? It was not referenced in my chapter on picnics in A Charlotte Mason Companion but it ought to have been. It is so inspiring that I’m certain it was tucked into a back pocket of my mind at the time I was writing.  

    “Besides the gain of an hour or two in the open air, there is this to be considered: meals taken al fresco* are usually joyous, . . . All the time too the children are storing up memories of a happy childhood. Fifty years hence they will see the shadows of the boughs making patterns on the white tablecloth; and sunshine, children’s laughter, hum of bees, and scent of flowers are being bottled up for after refreshment.” (page 42)

*The British adopted the term al fresco from the Italians. It literary means “in the fresh.”

A Special Picnic

    At the end of my picnic chapter I mention a lovely coincidence. I came across a story about a special birthday picnic. In Becky’s Birthday, Becky turns ten. My daughter Yolanda was, at that time, about to turn ten. I took joy in handing her the book to read.

    "Yolanda stole away to devour it silently in a corner of the house. Later, I asked her what she thought of Becky’s birthday picnic with the cake floating down the river. She smiled and said, ‘It’s a sweet story but rather exciting. Things don’t happen like that in real life.’ Her eyes widened to learn that the story was a true one. The author and illustrator, Tasha Tudor, used her own children and country lifestyle as a model for her picture books." (page 291)

    By midday it might be too hot where you live for a full-course, white tablecloth picnic, let alone one that is candle-lit and delivered by river, but may I suggest a little family breakfast al fresco? Perhaps an early solitary breakfast and quiet time is needed to refresh your Mother Culture.
    In my story I enjoyed placing Michael and Carol together sitting on the back stoop of Blackberry Inn. Theirs isn’t much of a chat as chats go, but a few unrushed, undistracted moments of husband-and-wife-togetherness at the start of a busy day, is what matters most.


  1. Just a note to let you know how thrilled I am that you now have a blog.

    I hope to write a post about it next week on my own blog (my garden is keeping me busy this week so I am reposting older posts).

    You, along with my friend Sally Clarkson, were my two all time favorite authors when I was homeschooling my younger child (now age 20 and at University).

    My older (12 years older, God's sense of humor) now is homeschooling her children and has all my "Karen" books. Last year she and her hubby made an anniversary trip to England and she got to see some of the C.M. papers.

  2. I love the cool of the morning, too--the birds, the morning light, the quietness. Sometimes my breakfast starts by grazing through the garden. And Charlotte Mason's quote is why my inside work sometimes get put aside.
    Happy mornings,
    (I've been enjoying green smoothies lately also.)

  3. Tim and I often have evening 'deck dates.' I do love the mornings too, as long as it isn't too humid.

    We love to eat al fresco whenever we can...So special and fun.

    Your green smoothie sounds delicious and I may just have to start my day that way!

    I have been missing you...

  4. Dear Karen,

    Becky's Birthday!!!!!!!!!I love that book. I haven't seen it since the Emma Clark Library in Stony Brook, New York where this mother and three daughters would go and walk to the Duck pond and the Stone Bridge after our library time! It was one of our fondest memories..........especially memorable was this beautiful village and the rats at the duck pond that scared my daughters to pieces, and me as well!

    I remember trying to find Becky's Birthday again and it was very rare! Thank you for helping me to savor the sweet and gentle richness of life with God in our world.

    Blessings to you! You really warm my heart.

    Kim FLorio

  5. I always loved eating outdoors, it made the food, even if very simple, taste oh-so-much-better! However, since we have been transplanted from the Pacific NW to East Texas, I have become quite bug-aphobic (I know there's a wonderfully appropriate scientific name, but you get the picture!) So, until I live in a home with a screened-in porch, we dine al fresco in the dead of winter around here. LOL!