Picnic & Potlucks

Something for everyone!  Why not organize a dance on the green?   Or have everyone bring a potluck dish based on one of the dances.   There are "main course" dances that could be assigned to the confident cooks, "appetizer" and "side dish" dances for something lighter, "dessert" dances for those with a sweet-tooth, and "condiment" or "fresh fruit" dances for those in a hurry.  
 
 

Selected Dances

(click for more holiday folklore and background information)

Walnut Pie

Walnut Pie

Pie Day

The word "walnut" comes from the old English “walh-hnuts,” meaning foreign nut.  Today this species is generally referred to as the English walnut.  The black walnut, native to North America, does not have as pleasant a taste when eaten raw and is more bitter.  However, it does retains more of its flavor when cooked.  Early English settlers in the American Colonies had to depend on the native black walnut because imported English walnut trees did not adapt easily. On the west coast of the US, however, the Franciscan fathers also brought walnut trees to California in the early 1700s from Mexico.  Through their efforts, walnut trees were planted in the courtyards of the California missions, where they flourished.  The Grizzly Bear pie, a walnut pie variation made with with walnuts and honey, is a delicious nod to California's historic roots.

The Sour Lemon (Lemon Chiffon Cake)

The Sour Lemon (Lemon Chiffon Cake)

Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

The fluffy chiffon cake is a classic mid-century modern cake style credited to a California insurance salesman turned caterer, who sold his fluffy cake secret to General Mills who then released recipes to the public in a Betty Crocker pamphlet in 1948. Chiffon cakes are made by substituting oil for butterfat and aerating the cake by whipping egg whites separately from the yolks and then folding this into the batter to produce a delicate light texture. Of course, if life gives you lemons, you can always make a whisky sour too :-) 🍋🍰

The Muffin Lady

The Muffin Lady

Muffin Day

Do you like muffins with your tea? In the United States, muffins are similar to cupcakes and are available in sweet and savoury varieties. While in the UK, a muffin (referred to as an English muffin elsewhere) is a type of yeast-leavened bread and cooked in a griddle and flipped, resulting in the flattened shape. Other muffin-like variations such as crumpets (griddle cooked on one side from a simple batter with no yeast) are equally delicious and join the group of tea-time treats whose names also figure prominently as terms of endearment or even cheeky admiration!

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie Day

Unlike apple pie (the first recipe of which hails from Chaucer-era England) , Key Lime Pie is a uniquely American dessert. This pie is considered the official pie of the Florida Key (although ironically, the majority of Key Lime trees introduced by the Spanish in the 1500s were wiped out during the hurricane of 1926 and replaced by Persian Limes)! At any rate, recipes for Key Lime Pie were not recorded until the 1930s. At this time, fresh milk, refrigeration, and ice where not available in the Keys until the arrival of tank trucks with the opening of the Overseas Highway in 1930. Because of this lack of milk, local cooks relied on canned sweetened condensed milk, a key ingredient which makes this pie so smooth and delicious. Recipe included: Key Lime Bars!

The Strathspey Sandwich

The Strathspey Sandwich

Sandwich Day

If the amount of bread used wasn't controversial enough, there are ongoing sandwich wars in the food industry! While the dictionary defines sandwich as a "an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them," when it comes to regions and taxation, this definition becomes problematic. In California, a hot dog is officially considered a sandwich, while in Massachusetts, a burrito is definitely NOT a sandwich, although it is a "sandwich-like product." And in New York, certain sandwiches are taxable while others are not. Open-face sandwiches, anyone?

Victoria Plums

Victoria Plums

Sugar Plum Day

Originally referring to a confit or sweetmeats shaped as plums, the term "sugar plum" acquired new meaning past the 1600s. If your mouth was "full of sugar plums," it meant that you spoke sweet (but possibly deceitful) words. If you "stuffed another's mouth with sugar plums," that referred to a sop or bribe that would shut someone up. Nowadays, the term plum is still used to refer to an especially desirable thing, such as a prize, or a choice job or appointment.

Bannocks and Brose

Bannocks and Brose

Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday) and in Scotland as Bannock Night, is a moveable feast day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes!

Fish and Chips Reel

Fish and Chips Reel

Fish and Chips Day

A classic takeaway food, fish and chips first gained popularity in England in the 1860s and quickly became a stable food in English-speaking and Commonwealth countries. Regional variations differ mostly in the fish used and the accompaniments (malt vinegar, brown sauce, mushy peas, pickles, tartar sauce, or even baked beans or curry sauce). In Australia and New Zealand, the words "fish and chips" are often used as a shibboleth to highlight the difference in each country's short-i vowel sound. Australian English has a higher forward sound close to the ee in see (but shorter), while New Zealand English has a lower backward sound akin to the a in Rosa's (but not as in Rosa). Thus, New Zealanders hear Australians say "feesh and cheeps," while Australians hear New Zealanders say "fush and chups."

Whortleberry

Whortleberry

Bilberry Sunday

Huckleberry dancing friends, will you collect bilberries on Bilberry Sunday? Bilberry Sunday is a day traditionally set aside during the festival of Lughnasadh (to mark the beginning of the harvest season) to gather bilberries.  Related to the blueberry, this fruit is known by a spectacularly long list of names: wimberry, whinberry, winberry, windberry, bilberry, fraughan, hurtleberry, whortleberry, blaeberry, black-heart (famously mentioned in Thomas Hardy's novel, "The Return of the Native") and myrtle berry! Generally speaking the Welsh call them wimberries, the Irish call them fraughans, the English say bilberries and the Scottish use the word blaeberry, although there are many derivations of the word and regional differences. In the USA, they are known as huckleberries, a derivation of the word hurtleberry, used by English settlers in the 17th century. Interested in a post-dance recipe for a "Huckleberry Hurtleberry Whortleberry Bilberry" cobbler made with almond flour?

Lobster in the Pot

Lobster in the Pot

Lobster Day

Ladies, who knew? Get the clarified butter! Lord Byron's opinions notwithstanding, while today considered an expensive delicacy, lobster was once considered a poor man's food fed only to animals, prisoners, and indentured servants! Elegant lobster dishes, such as Lobster Thermidor and Lobster Newberg became popular in the 19th century. "Court dismissed, bring in the dancing lobsters!"

Meyer Lemon Strathspey

Meyer Lemon Strathspey

Lemon Cupcake Day

Meyer lemons are not impossible to eat, they are quite delightful! A former decorative houseplant and backyard ornamental, the Meyer lemon, is a sweeter and juicier cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. These lemons only became popular after being featured by chef Martha Stewart in her recipes: lemon-pine nut tart, whole-wheat spaghetti with arugula and pistachios, coffee cake with thinly sliced Meyer lemons in the batter. Prior to that, these lemons had not been popular with growers because their thin skin made them difficult to ship long distances. 🍋🍋🍋

Mr Pye's Steak and Kidney Pie

Mr Pye's Steak and Kidney Pie

British Pie Week

By medieval times, pies with sides and lids of crust, called "coffyns" were often baked with a removable lid, allowing for various food fillings for the common folk and surprising and exotic contents for royalty. It is said that not only were live birds concealed into pies, but rabbits, frogs, dogs, dwarves (who would pop out and recite poetry) and even a whole musical ensemble! Steak and Kidney Pie, a quintessentially British dish is referred to in rhyming slang as Kate and Sidney pie, snake and kiddy pie, and snake and pygmy pie! 🥧

Teddy Bear's Picnic

Teddy Bear's Picnic

Teddy Bear Picnic Day

The Sour Lemon

The Sour Lemon

Lemon Meringue Pie Day

Lemon flavored custards, puddings and pies have been enjoyed since Medieval times. Meringue was perfected in the 17th century, and lemon meringue pie, as it is known today, is a 19th-century product, first recorded by Alexander Frehse, a Swiss baker from Romandie.

Spaghetti Junction

Spaghetti Junction

Spaghetti Day

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Sugar Plum Day

Tchaikovsky's Christmas-themed ballet debuted on Dec. 18, 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Initially unsuccessful, it later became global Christmas tradition. One of the most anticipated dances, the " Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" occurs in the third movement, set in the Land of Sweets, and is distinguished for its use of the celesta, a piano-like instrument that sounds like the tinkling of bells.

Invitation to a Picnic Index of Dances

(click for dance description or cribs)

A Basket Full of Brunch & Breakfast Index of Dances

(click for dance description or cribs)

A Basket Full of the Savoury and the Sweet Index of Dances

(click for dance description or cribs)

Jan    Feb    Mar    Apr    May    Jun    Jul    Aug    Sep    Oct    Nov    Dec

The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the

 

Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 

 

Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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