In Anne of Avonlea, Anne celebrates her March birthday with a golden springtime picnic because she “would have chosen to be born in spring of course, since it must be delightful to come into the world with the mayflowers and violets” (101). Yep, Anne is definitely a bit much sometimes. (A lot of times, actually.) But her outing ideas sure sound fun!
Anne wanted “the daintiest things possible … things that will match the spring” (102). And so we did also.
ANNE’S GOLDEN PICNIC MENU
- Little jelly tarts
- Lady fingers
- Drop cookies frosted with pink and yellow icing
- Buttercup cake
- And sandwiches, “though they’re not very poetical”
- Lemonade (We didn’t use a recipe, just mixed lemon juice, water, and simple syrup together till it tasted good. It takes a lot more sugar than you’d think!)
- Plus, we brought a bottle of wine (because we have a bit more tolerance than Diana Barry), and Ramona made a batch of raspberry cordial!
We thank the most wonderful Culinary Historians of Canada for their quick and enthusiastic responses to our requests for assistance in finding historically authentic recipes.
By the way, in the book, Anne asks Diana to come over Saturday morning to prepare their picnic lunch. Well, they must be wonderchefs because it took us TWO DAYS and FOUR COOKS to make all this food — Jenne and I making cookies, the traditional buttercup cake, and jelly tarts on Friday, and then Jenne, Jenn, and Grace laboring over the sandwiches, the modern buttercup cake, lady fingers, and lemonade on Saturday.
In the book, Anne and her friends prowl around the woods and find Hester Gray’s garden. The closest we could find to “woods” in San Diego was Switzer Canyon. And so we trekked, bearing mountains of food.
(Fittingly, the above photo was taken by Jenne’s grouchy, Mr Harrison-like neighbor, who just happened to be out sweeping his porch as we were leaving.)
Happy spring, and happy belated birthday to Anne!
Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Avonlea. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc., 1909.