Let’s go on a Picnic.

So, what is a picnic?

let’s have a look at another style of summer entertainment of the outdoorsy type. Yesterday we discussed BBQ, so a naturally we should look at Picnic’s. Not perhaps as popular as it’s second cousin, but none the less, fun. What is in fact a Picnic, a little history and some examples of how one might organize such an event….

Qu’est-ce que c’est?

picnic is a meal taken outdoors (al fresco) as part of an excursion – ideally in scenic surroundings, such as a park, lakeside, or other place affording an interesting view, or else in conjunction with a public event such as preceding an open-air theater performance, and usually in summer.

Picnics are usually meant for the late mornings or midday breakfasts, but could also be held as a luncheon or a dinner event. Descriptions of picnics show that the idea of a meal that was jointly contributed and was enjoyed out-of-doors was essential to a picnic from the early 19th century.

Picnics are often family-oriented but can also be an intimate occasion between two people or a large get together such as company picnics and church picnics or clubs and community get together or of community care units.

HISTORY

After the French Revolution in 1789, royal parks became open to the public for the first time. Picnicking in the parks became a popular activity amongst the newly enfranchised citizens.

Early in the 19th century, a fashionable group of Londoners formed the ‘Picnic Society‘. Each member was expected to provide a share of the entertainment and of the refreshments. Interest in the society waned in the 1850s as the founders died.

From the 1830s, Romantic American landscape painting of spectacular scenery often included a group of picnickers in the foreground. An early American illustration of the picnic is Thomas Cole‘s The Pic-Nic of 1846 (Brooklyn Museum of Art). In it, a guitarist serenades the genteel social group in the Hudson River Valley with the Catskills visible in the distance. Cole’s well-dressed young picnickers having finished their repast, served from splint baskets on blue-and-white china, stroll about in the woodland and boat on the lake.

The image of picnics as a peaceful social activity can be used for political protest, too, in this context, a picnic functions as a temporary occupation of significant public territory. In 2000, a 600-mile-long picnic took place from coast to coast in France to celebrate the first Bastille Day of the new Millennium.

Conclusion

Here are a few of my favorite Picnic ideas;

  • Cold salads; beans, vegetable, grains and more
  • Sandwiches; stuffed baguettes, pitas, basically anything pre made and ready to go
  • Cold soups; whatever is in season of course
  • Desserts; simple hand held items are best, cookies, squares, etc
  • Fresh fruits in season
  • Cold beverages, iced lattes, iced tea or if you prefer wine & beer, etc…

Cheers! I hope you are all enjoying your summer!