Add a teaspoon of baking soda when boiling eggs to make the peel pull off effortlessly.
Add a teaspoon of baking soda when boiling eggs to make the peel pull off effortlessly. Matt Deans

Picnics hard with out boiled eggs

MY DAUGHTER said "let's have a picnic”. I immediately put on eggs to hard boil and take to the picnic, because that's what you do.

For some the notion of a picnic means watercress and egg sandwiches, cold chicken, tea in a thermos along with a bottle of cold champagne all prepared and placed in a wicker basket that is then assembled at the idyllic picnic site by gracious attendants. These people have been watching too many English period dramas. As I do not live at Downton Abbey, ours would be a drive out to Rocky Creek Dam with a basket full of food collected from the fridge and the shop.

My daughter reminded me that she did not in fact like hard boiled eggs. Did this stop me? It did not.

I also prepared a paper twist of salt to go with eggs and found a place for them in the bulging basket of picnic supplies.

We would not go hungry. I had, as usual, over catered for the two of us. Perhaps it was the thought that being in the outdoors, far from shops, would make us both ravenously hungry. I wanted to ensure we would not run out of food, so there was enough for the next three days should we be trapped there by wild animals or inclement weather. Plus, of course, picnic rug, pillows, a blanket and good books to read.

We would lie on the specially designated picnic rug, read, cloud gaze and soak up the delicious atmosphere.

At the dam there were quite a few other picnicking families having Mother's Day gatherings. Children ran around shouting and parents lay on rugs shouting those timeworn and ineffective reminders such as "be careful” and "don't hit your brother”, all of which the kids blithely ignored.

Nearby there was a tussle about a toy. One child had the desired item and was holding it gleefully just out of reaching of his blubbering brother. Parental intervention ensured that the child was obliged to hand over toy to his sobbing sibling, as well endure a lengthy homily on the importance of sharing. No wonder people find it hard to share. A righteous lecture could get right up your nose. Just out of the sight of the lecturing parent, the child who now had the toy poked out his tongue.

Would you like an egg? I said to my daughter.

Mum, she said as she looked at me patiently. We've been through this.

I looked at the eggs, put them back into the container and picked up my book and lay back down on the rug. Stupid eggs, I thought. Neither of us touched them, but they were there and that was the point.

You cannot have a picnic without hard-boiled eggs and a twist of salt.