The best thing about self-catering holidays in the United Kingdom is that you can buy local produce in a range of places, which are fun to discover as you explore. When I first visited Polzeath in Cornwall in 2001, I was delighted that the Spar shops sold locally caught seafood, which I couldn’t find in London.
Researching the various foods, which deliver all the micro and macronutrients we need has led to a tasty, satisfying and nutritious picnic, which is quick and easy to put together using a variety of ingredients. By knowing which foods provide the various macronutrients, which range across all the food groups, a picnic can be tailored to any genetic tolerance or eating preference and cater for a range of different diets.
The idea behind Hearth comes from what we learn from food cultures, which originate from Southern and Northern Europe, India, East Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. From these different places come recipes and ingredients, which together provide nutritious, satisfying and tasty meals making use of locally grown produce, to suit the local population.
On a simple level, a person with origins from a hot, sunny country will get enough vitamin D each day from the sun, perhaps other minerals from contact from natural water, whether that is from lakes, rivers, streams, oceans or from plants irrigated by the rain may get much of their daily nutrients from tropical fruits. Papayas, mangos, avocados, coconuts and other tropical fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates, fats and protein.
Meanwhile, in Northern Europe we relied more on storing fat soluble vitamins, especially vitamin D, which the sunlight is too weak to provide for the winter half of the year.
While the western diet is based on large quantities of one thing, many other food cultures have a dish, which means a variety of local foods; meze, tapas, thali and delicatessen. The idea of an assortment of small portions of various carbohydrate, fat and protein foods provides us with choice, to eat foods we like and leave the others.
A quick look at a Sunday roast, full English Breakfast or Christmas dinner shows us that variety is part of traditional English cookery as well. While royals and the gentry were feasting on game, the rest of the English nation has made the best of what they can grow, produce or conjure up from whatever is available through the seasons. The Harvest Festival was a key part of the English calendar, when people could compete to show off the biggest pumpkin, which itself produces ingredients for stews, soups, seeds and vegetable.
In the summer, a picnic is an easy way to bring together a variety of foods to share. It is amazing how much less food fills up more people if you share a wide variety of different ingredients. This makes a picnic a quick and easy meal to create and carry with you to a chosen spot to enjoy outside with other people.
Hearth Seafood Picnic
Starting with the salad, the idea tends towards alkaline raw vegetables. For extra taste and sustenance, the salad can be dressed with avocado or olive oil (monounsaturated fats) and lemon or lime juice and sprinkled with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. This keeps the salad open to all eating preferences, with items including egg, meat or seafood or cheese, which can be added from separate containers.
This is fast food in the sense, that it is quick to prepare. It is not junk food, as each ingredient is natural.
The salad base includes all eating preferences, using those on the ‘safe foods list’ to identify food intolerances: Lettuce, spinach, basil, avocado, brocoli, onion, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with olive and avocado oil and lemon and lime juice dressing.
Items, quick to retrieve from the fridge, are: hummus, crab meat, goat’s cheese, artichoke hearts, olives, vine leaves, alongside tuna from the cupboard. The salad is the main ingredient for the picnic, which requires preparation, alongside boiling and slicing up egg and making the salad dressing.
A picnic set provides space to carry the various containers of food. Spending an evening on a beach with bench tables, means the food can be shared and provides sustenance at a low cost and with little, but fun preparation for anyone who loves preparing and sharing food with friends.
Of course other people can easily add their own ingredients, such as home cooked bread and cake. Empty containers can be reused for future picnics as they can be easier to fit into the picnic and leftovers can be included as well.