April 23rd is National Picnic Day. For centuries people have enjoyed eating their meals outside in the beauty of nature-what we call a “picnic”.
Our modern-day idea of a picnic evolved from medieval hunting feasts and Victorian garden parties. These were usually quite sophisticated affairs, which involved multiple courses and elaborate preparations. The word “picnic” dates back to 1692, France, where “piquenique” was used in referring to a group of people eating together and bringing their own wine.
In the early 19th century, wealthy citizens in London formed “The Picnic Society” to promote social gatherings. Their picnics were potlucks, and everyone attending was required to provide some form of entertainment. They would enjoy the music of a live string quartet while drinking from crystal goblets and eating their meal. Today, the word “picnic” paints a different picture. Today’s picnics are a much more casual affair consisting of a light meal in which the food eaten is rarely hot, instead taking the form of finger food, salad, deli sandwiches, fresh fruit, cold meats and is often accompanied by chilled champagne or wine or soft drinks, and enjoyed on a comfortable picnic blanket.
Picnics can be as simple, elegant, or romantic as you would like. They don’t have to be an elaborate affair that requires a lot of planning or money. Here is a list of what you need to enjoy a meal outdoors with your near and dear ones:
- Depending on whether or not your picnic location has tables, you will need either a picnic blanket or table cloth.
- To transport your goodies you will need a picnic basket and a cooler and ice packs to keep things cool.
- If you plan on barbequing, you may want to bring a portable grill, or be sure a grill is available at your location.
- For barbequing purposes you will want to be sure to include matches or a lighter in your packing. Those will also come in handy for candles if you plan on a more romantic setting.
- You will also need the proper eating utensils, plates, napkins, and maybe even wipes (in case anything is sticky).
- Sunscreen and insect repellant are also useful.
- In case your location does not have a proper trash receptacle you should bring garbage bags to make sure you don’t leave any trash behind.
- Other options would be some kind of portable stereo for music and a Frisbee or some other outdoor game to play depending on the kind of outing you wish to have.
Here are a few recipes from Fill Your Plate that would be good to try on your next picnic:
- Apple Pear Salad
- Apple Bacon Slaw
- Artichoke Chicken Salad
- Goat Feta with Black Pepper and Thyme
- Melon-Cucumber Salad
- Tri-Color Penne w/Cherry Tomatoes & Cheese
So put together your favorite portable, mouth-watering meal, and some sort of music and games, and head outdoors to your favorite spot and celebrate National Picnic Day.
- Little Known Facts about Groundhog Day (fillyourplate.org)
- Play Ball!! Pack a Picnic for Spring Training (fillyourplate.org)
- 5 Tips for Summer Food Safety (fillyourplate.org)