*%!@# Ralph (or A Picnic on the River)

Yes, I just used the symbols for swearing AND my father’s name in the same line. As I mentioned, I spent a few days in California soaking up family time, friends, and a whole lot of sunshine (without melting). I walked to the beach as much as possible, swam amongst dolphins, and ate my weight in fruit and cheese and meat and fish and everything else put in front of me. This is the way we do it. It’s a Saltsman Picnic. The food items vary, the locations, the people, each component varies but there are some constants. There used to be football sometimes, now there is usually wine, sometimes the boy child gets stuck in a tree, sometimes…

There is one specific picnic that didn’t vary much: The Big River Canoe Trip. Oh yes. A day in the middle of our northern California roadtrips, starting somewhere in Mendocino County (near the llama farm). In preparation for this trip, we did our shopping to include tomatoes and other fruits, breads, spreads, goat cheese, and other various sundries. Most important though was the stop at Noyo Harbor for the smoked salmon. Was it there that we got the blackberry cobbler too? I think so. I’m not referring to the blackberry cobbler during the Sheep Dog Trial Festivals in Boonville, no that’s totally different.

The canoe trip. Fun heading out, inevitably a disaster on the way back. Paddling against the wind my father would start to stress that we wouldn’t make it back in time and that we weren’t paddling in unison. One year, with our regular order of mom as navigator in front, then kids, followed by my dad steering, we started (not unusual) to veer towards the trees on shore. My mother shouting to my father to steer, my father shouting that we weren’t paddling hard enough or that he couldn’t see something or other, and then it happened. We steered into the trees and got stuck. My mother shouted, “Sh*!t Ralph, now we’re stuck in this *$%^# tree”!

Shock. The world stopped. That was the first time I heard my mother swear.

The picnic. It’s all about the goat cheese, tomato, smoked salmon sandwich put together with butter knives and dirty fingers. Again, since it’s hotter than sin down here in Texas, I’m posting a bit of nostalgia from a cooler moment in time. Here’s a quintessential picnic item during the summertime. Simple, straightforward, and oh so delicious. It’ll take you back to whatever picnic you’re thinking about right now.

This was our final dinner in LA together this trip:

1 bag fresh bufala mozzarella (buffalo seems to be the most lactose free of all)
1 large handful basil, washed and torn by hand
5 large tomatoes of any variety
1 pint cherry tomatoes
good sea salt
good extra virgin olive oil


About Salts Kitchen

I write. I eat. And I cook. I write about what I cook and eat. I love finding new foods, being inspired to make something I've never made, and most of all I love feeding other people things that they have never tried before. I like disproving myths about food and what it means to eat well, to eat healthy, often on a budget, and for some of us- to eat with a bunch of food allergies (and still eat well!).
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1 Response to *%!@# Ralph (or A Picnic on the River)

  1. Ralph says:

    Are you sure it wasn’t a sandbar? An invisible unavoidable sandbar? A sandbar we could have skipped right over if everyone paddled in unison?

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