Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Tartan Picnic

A Tartan Picnic

“Ye'll take the high road and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love
Will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”
                                                                    --Old Scottish song, "Loch Lomand"
My love for all things plaid began when I was a small girl, and my Mississippi grandmother told stories about our Scottish roots. “We’re members of Clan Kennedy,” my Mimi said. “Not to be confused with the Irish Kennedys, though we’ve got the luck of the Irish in our family tree.”
She was right about being lucky, because I married a plaid-loving fellow from Clan Maitland. My sweetheart, Will, needed special permission to wear the Maitland tartan.
Photo Credit:
 Every April 1st, we celebrate Tartan Day with a picnic, and the clipped lawn serves as a backdrop for our beloved wool blankets that we bought many years ago in Edinburgh.
I’ve said enough about plaid. The picnic is ready. Won’t you join us?
Fruit and Cheese
Scottish Scones and Highland Shortbread (recipe below)
A tartan picnic calls for savory and sweet dishes, such as tea sandwiches, Scottish pancakes, smoked salmon, scones and double cream; but our menu is lighter this year (because we're heavier!)
At our house, a picnic can be casual, formal, or smack in between. I think of my yard as an outdoor dining room, and I love to use crystal, porcelain, and cloth napkins.
  I always remember what my Mimi used to say:

"Don’t let a table or picnic be too uppity. 

Mix your china patterns. If things clash, it's a lucky sign."

I inherited Mimi's vintage tomato salt and pepper shakers. 
My semi-Scottish sweetheart contributed a knock-out rose.

Faux ants are always welcome to a picnic,
whether they're on the food screens or the tartan dinner plates.

Even the tulips are doing their best to be tartan-like.

Tartan (tärtn): Noun.
1. Wool fabric with a plaid pattern against a solid background;
2. a garment worn by Scottish clansmen;
3. a sure-fire, smile maker.

A tartan picnic wouldn't be the same without our much-loved picnic basket.

I'm not kidding. We are tartan crazy.

If I find a dish or bowl with plaid, chances are it's going home with me.

Highland Shortbread
Printable Recipe

What You Need:
         1 cup butter, softened
         ½ cup white granulated sugar
         2 cups cake flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Pat dough into a baking dish. Bake 25 minutes or until brown. Cool.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons cream
Organic pansies
Beat ingredients until smooth. Ice cooled shortbread squares. Garnish each square with an edible pansy.

Tips for Outdoor Dining

*Use a plastic tub or basket to organize tableware.

*Transport baskets/tubs in a child’s wagon.

*Make your picnic a special event--don’t be afraid to use china and crystal.

*Dish towels make inexpensive napkins.

*Serve easily transportable food. To prevent spoilage and melty-messes, avoid frozen concoctions.

Happy Tartan Day

from Mlee and Will at...

I'm happy to participate in On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.

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  1. I am just smitten with your post this evening and so thrilled to find it!

    LOVE love LOVE your tartan basket and the heritage and history behind your special picnic setting.

    I hope you will come by and link this to the Tartan Parade now in progress!

    Would love for everyone to see your gorgeous post!

    Your newest follower,

  2. Michelle Lee,
    I love your post. That's awfully pretty shortbread. Your tartan lined picknic basket is beautiful as is all tartan things I can't resist to love.
    Happy Tartan Day and Happy Tartan Parade.

  3. I think the shortbread sounds wonderful! I really enjoyed your pretty plaid picnic. So sweet!

  4. What fun! How perfet - every attention to each detail - breathtaking photos, it has it all.

    Happy Tartan Day!

    Enjoy the Parade!

  5. Michael Lee, I just knew you would share something fabulous for the Tartan Parade. I love a good picnic, but throw in tartan or plaid and my heart really sings. I need to find myself one of those picnic baskets. It's the best. Thanks for joining the parade with all your gorgeous images and fun dishes and delicious Highland shortbread. So pretty with the little flowers.
    Happy Tartan Day! ~ Sarah

  6. Hi
    A Tartan Picnic
    Fascinating views on that! very informative, Great looking site you have here and great post too.
    Thank you!

  7. Your roasted chicken recipe sounds delicious with the bacon on the top. I like the tartan pattern on both of the blankets you are showing. I think I would be a little nervous using one for my family picnics. Something usually gets spilled, and then the dog joins in. When I was in Scotland I foolishly only purchased scarves. Next time, a kilt and a blanket! Linda

  8. I wanna go on a Tartan Picnic!! LOVE!...from the handsome plaid basket, wannabe tartan tulips, to the Highland Shortbread...*sigh*

    Your Mimi's tomato S&P's are wonderful :)

  9. I would much rather be going on a tartan picnic than focusing on Apil Fools Day pranks and jokes! You've created a beautiful picnic with a gorgeous setting and accoutrements...even with the ants!

  10. What a lovely Tartan picnic, that shortbread looks wonderful! Diane

  11. Thanks so much for sharing at the Tartan Parade, Michael Lee!

  12. Well now, I believe I have a love of tartan too,thanks to your beautiful post. Lovely. I enjoy a picnic too and yours looks wonderful. xo

  13. So beautiful! I have that same blanket you are using on the grass from my Granny....who was either Scots or Welsh...we've never been sure!

  14. What a fabulous and fun picnic! I love your mix of tartans, florals and stripes and I adore the picnic basket! I must say your shortbreads are the most beautiful I've ever seen.
    Thanks so much for sharing your family tartans and joining the Tartan Parade. Happy Tartan Day!

  15. Oh as a Scottish Gunn by marriage I am mad for plaid. I am truly blissfully crazy for this post.

    I linked up an oldie but goodie to play along here:

    Happy Tartan Day!

  16. There's something about a tartan throw that just screams picnic!
    Your menu sounds delightful and the setting is simply gorgeous.
    Enjoy the Tartan Parade, we've got front row seats and a picnic to share.

  17. Love how you mixed up your tartans for a delicious picnic! Darling picnic basket, wonderful blanket and the setting is divine! Love it all! Thanks for linking up to our Tartan Parade! ~Delores

  18. This is just beautiful! What a wonderful picnic you set!
    The menu sounds delicious too.
    What fabulous pics. The Irish have plaids too! I looked mine up,Connolly. It was ok, but I like blackwatch better. Love red tartan for Christmas.
    Here from the Parade!

  19. Love your sweet picnic basket.. A great royal stewart, I believe! Great post.. xo marlis

  20. Love plaid too!! AND I love your picnic basket and the cute polka dotted dishes!

  21. The tartans are lovely. My goal is to have a tartan for next year's party! Love your picnic!

  22. That tartan-lined picnic basket is so charming! One question, though, how do you know which pansies are edible (those shortbread squares look delicious!)?

  23. Looks like a wonderful picnic! I love your plates with the ants crawling on them! The shortbread sounds fabulous too. I have to add that it is such a pretty backdrop for a picnic too!

  24. Gorgeous picnic...My favorite cookie is the Walkers Shortbread..and I definitely need to try your recipe of the Highland Shortbread. Happy Easter!

  25. I will definitely want to go on a picnic with you! You haven't missed anything. Those salt & peppers look just like real tomatoes. My favorite picture is the tulips with the plaid in the background. Great colors! Thanks for posting in the parade. It was great fun.

  26. What a visual treat! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous meal and it's lovely setting. I am dying to try the shortbread. I am teaching my nieces and my daughter about each part of their heritage - and the Scots side will be sporting some divine shortbread!

  27. soaking up all the incredible inspiration today!

    come visit my blog and giveaway:

    smiles to you.


  28. I want to come and steal your picnic basket!!

  29. I hope you set a place for me... especially since you spread this fabulous picnic on a Buchanan tartan... our family tartan!
    Just so beautiful and filled with inspiration.
    Please put this bonnie post ON THE MENU MONDAY! It is a winner, Lass!

  30. We're tartan mad here too - or mad for plaid, as is said.
    I think a tartan picnic is a lovely idea for this summer!

  31. Your photos look scrumptious! Thank you for coming over to follow my blog! ; )
    Teresa in California

  32. Wow, what a fab picnic! Beautiful tartan and post. Next year, I will join up and celebrate my roots, Happy Easter. Dianna..(Clan Rose..Kilvarock)

  33. What an unreal feeling this is to see such a home and landscaping..and then all the lovely plaids..and picnic items. Yep..totally out of my element! :)
    Simply gorgeous..all of it!

  34. Michael, this is wonderful! Your pictures are amazing! I love all the plaid and the gorgeous colors...beautiful!