Lindgren · Pippi Longstocking

Pippi’s Picnic


     They heard Pippi opening the basket and rattling paper.
     “One, two, nineteen—now you may look,” said Pippi at last.
     They looked, and they squealed with delight when they saw all the good things Pippi had spread on the bare rock. There were good sandwiches with meatballs and ham, a whole pile of sugared pancakes, several little brown sausages, and three pineapple puddings. For, you see, Pippi had learned cooking from the cook on her father’s ship.
     “Aren’t Scrubbing Vacations grand?” said Tommy with his mouth full of pancakes. “We ought to have them every day.”
     “No, indeed, I’m not that anxious to scrub,” said Pippi. “It’s fun, to be sure, but not every day. That would be too tiresome.”
     At last the children were so full they could hardly move, and they sat still in the sunshine and just enjoyed it. (Lindgren 54-55)


When I visited my grandma’s house my brother and I would always stay in my aunt and uncle’s old room, which had twin beds that each had a little bookcase as a headboard. The books there always seemed a little exotic, probably since they were so old that our library didn’t have most of them. Mr. Popper’s Penguins, At the Back of the North Wind, Doctor Doolittle, Mary Poppins … also a book of kids’ activities called Have Fun With Your Son, and then randomly a book called The Official Guide to Wine Snobbery, which I read over and over for some reason. And of course, Pippi Longstocking! I always liked Pippi’s lifestyle of surrealist anarchy, but the food in it didn’t really make an impression until I reread it a few years ago and found the description of this picnic.

I immediately sent it to Miko, who turned out to HATE Pippi but was entirely willing to recreate the picnic anyway.

We weren’t entirely sure whether this was a normal picnic, or a crazy Pippi picnic. We found some Swedes on who kindly answered our questions and said that they thought it seemed extravagant but not crazy.

We also wanted to know what exactly a pineapple pudding might be … was that a normal dessert in midcentury Sweden, or only something a person who was raised on a pirate ship in the South Seas would have? They said it sounded a little exotic, but that canned pineapple would have been available and the kind of pudding called ananasfromage would likely have been it.

There was also some discussion of whether “Där låg små goda smörgåsar med köttbullar och skinka” meant sandwiches with both meatballs and ham, or ham sandwiches and meatball sandwiches, separately. We decided to have both available, and let everyone make their own sandwiches.

We also couldn’t find any small Swedish sausages at Iowa Meat Farms, but they were at least Swedish, and brown.

We tried to twist two of the sausages into smaller ones, as we did for the Hogwarts Christmas chipolatas, but they just fell apart and we gave up.

We invited our fellow librarian Ramona to join us on the picnic, and did our best to find a landscape nearby that somewhat resembled the one described in the book. There weren’t any cows, or a pond, but we found a sunny hill with a flat rock and spread out our blanket.

“It was one of those radiant days that make you feel like walking in the woods. Pippi had an idea. “Let’s take Mr. Nilsson and go on a little picnic.””
“Her hair was braided in two tight braids that stuck straight out.”

Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking. New York: Viking Press, 1950.

3 thoughts on “Pippi’s Picnic

    1. I usually separate recipes for themed meals into individual posts (since posts get reaaallly long otherwise), but I publish one per day so I don’t flood inboxes with three posts at once. Once I publish all posts, I’ll link to them on the summary post. They should all be up tomorrow night!


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