The Cornbread Book ) takes one of our most enduring leisure activities and complicates it absurdly. His ag"/>

GOOD DAY FOR A PICNIC: Simple Food That Travels Well

Jeremy Jackson, Author . Morrow $22.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-06-072680-5

In this collection of pleasant enough recipes, Jackson (The Cornbread Book ) takes one of our most enduring leisure activities and complicates it absurdly. His aggressively quirky introduction starts with the observation that any food eaten outside will taste better than when eaten indoors. Fair enough, but doesn't that make a book of specially devised picnic foods counterintuitive? Jackson goes on to recommend concoctions like Sekanjabin, a Mideastern sweet and sour drink made with vinegar and mint, and Crepes Stuffed with Chard, Feta, Pine Nuts, and Golden Raisins. Neither would fare well when stashed in a knapsack slung over the shoulder as one heads into the great outdoors. Many of these dishes are meant to be served warm, like Cornsommé, a soup made of a single shallot, three ears of corn and a few thyme sprigs, to be transported in a thermos. Make Your Own Spring Rolls (with Two Sauces) aka "Choose Your Own Adventure Spring Rolls" aren't only a mouthful to pronounce, but require assembling small, separate bowls of 10 different ingredients. Even the appealingly seasonal Chunky Summer Salad with Peaches, Tomatoes, and Farmer Cheese is better if tossed together on-site, Jackson admits. The recipes are all competent, and some sound delicious, but they're never going to replace potato salad and fried chicken. Photos. (May 3)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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