Everyone knows that Independence Day is celebrated in July, but a lot of us don't know that July is also National Picnic Month. When you have a picnic, you are celebrating the open air, nature and all it has to offer. But what is the definition of picnic and how did picnicking get started?
Picnic can be defined simply as a pleasure excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors, ideally taking place in a beautiful landscape. Picnics are often family-oriented but can also be an intimate occasion between two people or a large get-together such as a company or church picnic.
But how did the word picnic come about? Here are some interesting notes on picnics and their origin from Wikipedia.
- The word picnic is derived from "pique nique," a French word to describe an outdoor meal. The earliest picnics happened in the Middle Ages when members of the upper class would "dine out" during a hunt.
- The first record of the word "pique nique" comes from the 1692 edition of Origines de la Langue Française de Ménage.
- According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of "picnic" in English was in a letter written in 1748 from Lord Chesterfield to his son in Berlin, in the sense of a social gathering.
- 'Picknicken' in German means to hold a meeting.
- By the early 1800s, "picnic" was used only in the sense of a social meal eaten outdoors.
So how can you celebrate National Picnic Month? Here are some ideas to get you going:
- Get outside and get to grilling. BBQ your favorite meats and eat those with traditional side dishes such as potato salad and cole slaw.
- Have a traditional picnic. Find a straw picnic basket and fill it with all your favorite foods. Don't forget to pack the plaid blanket for the ground.
- Picnic food. Find some great ideas for better picnics and some recipe ideas here, here and here.
- After eating, get moving. Outdoor games or some other form of entertainment are common at large picnics. Think Frisbee, croquet or badminton, or just throw a football around.
So during this warm July weather, slow down and find some time to have a family picnic with the people you love. Life is too short!