The second the sun makes even the most subtle appearance, a chorus of British mothers answering the ‘what’s for dinner?’ question with ‘picky dinner’ fills the air.

Other countries have tapas, meze, and smorgasbords. A divine platter of different dishes promising a concoction of flavours, textures, and colours. A picky dinner is perfect for those who like to dine on a little bit of everything.

An often-classy affair in other cultures, paired with wines and fancy presentation, bringing friends and family together to eat in a wonderfully social manner.

So, what does the UK have to satisfy the want for a social dining experience with an eclectic plate? You know it- a wonderfully British ‘picky dinner’.

What constitutes a picky dinner varies from family to family. The scope for the spread is endless, ranging from a bougee collation of the supermarkets best ‘nibbly bits’ or (more often than not), a mish mash of whatever is left in the fridge and needs gobbling up. Whatever makes it on to the platter, us brits love it. Either put together to feed family and friends, or chucked together one sunny evening to save Mum the effort of cooking- the picky dinner is always a crowd pleaser.

At Behind the Bite, we all grew up loving a picky dinner. Here is what we remember being on our own families classic spread.

Each of us remember something slightly different, but there is definitely some stand out classics, perhaps even essentials, which seemed to crop up.

Keren reminisces on pizza, waffle fries and sausages served up with any leftover veg. Every other month, her mum would have a big clear out of the fridge, heat it all up and serve it for dinner.

For Travis, it was a similar affair, with the specific fond memory of Chicago town mini pizzas. Chicken nuggets and hash browns were always in his freezer, so never failed to make it to the picky dinner platter in his house. Like Keren, once a month his mum would have a ‘freezer clear out’.

He says: “It was always such a random selection, but I used to absolutely love them- definitely better than stew in the slow cooker!”

Connor recalls sausage rolls, cocktail sausages (a classic) and pork pies. These picnic staples were always plated up next to big bowls of crisps. He says: “I specifically remember it always being our favourites- Pringles and Doritos with those little dip selection trays you can buy in the supermarket.”

Jasmine and myself recall similar, more Mediterranean variations on their picky dinner platter. Pitta bread, hummus and olives were always part of the assortment. Of course, this has to be cultured down with the addition of mini pizzas and crisps (yes more crisps).

For me, any nice bread mum would find in the local bakery that day would be served to add to the carb fest. My favourite was olive bread or, a classic crusty tiger baguette with smothering’s of butter sandwiched with chunks of whatever cheese was left in the fridge. Often this was a race to tear off a chunk before my Dad and brother would eat the lot.

Jasmine says: “Sometimes Mum would also make soup from all the veg that was going off in the fridge.” This is less typical of a picky dinner, but certainly aligns with the apparent concept of the spread being a good old fridge clear out.

Being of Cypriot heritage, Tia didn’t grow up having picky dinners at home. However, being raised in the UK she still had her fair share of them!

She says: “I always looked forward to our end of term party at school as I knew we would have a big British platter of food. I remember cocktail sausages, every crisp under the sun, pizza slices and fairy cakes. I never ate this type of food at home so I would get super excited for the spread every time.”

You can even have a picky dinner outside.

After reminiscing on our classic picky dinner menus, some obvious fan favourites cropped up. It is interesting to hear the slight deviations on some people’s tables too!

I’m not sure about you, but the feelings of nostalgia are now being slightly suppressed by cravings for a sausage roll…