Friday, August 15, 2008

Blankets Instead of Tablecloths

I can't stay mad at Bellingham for very long. In fact, very rarely do I find any reason to harbor anger against this little eclectic city sandwiched between the Sound and the Cascades. But in June I found reasons for resentment because the brief one and a half weeks I spent here were freezing, literally sweater-and-slippers freezing.

Not any more.

The Northwest sun has been shining brightly almost the entire time I have been back and has provided fantastic picnic weather. After all, isn't that what summer's all about? No studying and lots of picnics.

Today included yet another picnic, and it was perfect in so many ways: the soft wedge of buttery cheese, the silly faux fur blanket, the nutty beer, the sea breeze mellowing the heat of the sun, and the fresh crab salad.

The cheese and beer automatically went in our basket when we were picking up picnic supplies, but the crab was a complete surprise. Generous friends shared their fresh catch with us, and just a few simple ingredients helped bring together a simple salad to pile on top of crackers or spoon into lettuce.

The delicious combination of chopped celery, minced white onion, cumin, paprika, mayonnaise, lime juice, crushed pepper, and sea salt mixed into a bowl with the crab meat made for a subtle flavor that played up the creaminess of the crab and did not smother its own delicate flavor. We really just searched through the refrigerator and spice cabinet for what was on hand, and this recipe could have gone a dozen different directions.

Whether or not you can get your hands on a crab or two, if you are in the northern hemisphere of the world right now, try to find a little corner of your outdoor world and enjoy a picnic! It makes even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich taste ten times better.

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