April 23 – National Picnic Day

Posted on April 23, 2015

I think it's pretty great that National Picnic Day is on a Thursday – because for years (more than a decade!), my family ate picnics almost every Thursday! That was the day that our homeschool support group got together for park days, theme days, field trips, and even parties. One or more cooler was almost always involved – and sometimes we even had cookouts in the evening after having a picnic lunch!

Of course, National Picnic Day isn't on a Thursday every year – the days is hooked to the date, April 23. It falls on weekend days, too – probably more likely picnic days for most people!

The most important two parts of a picnic are the people and the setting. The weather can be important, of course – how many times have we heard about a picnic being spoiled by rain? The least important part may be the thing most people talk about so much – the food! I have done many a picnic with a crusty fresh baguette and a hunk of cheese and a single piece of ripe fruit. That simple fare can seem amazing sitting at an overlook of a European castle, or basking on a sunny beach, or crouched down in a niche made from boulders, out of the breeze, near an alpine lake.

However, some people take their picnic food very seriously. Naturally, we want our food to be safe – so make sure that food is stored and carried with that in mind! Here is Food-dot-com's page with links for mayo-free potato salad, corn and zucchini salad, and rustic onion and cheese picnic pie! 

By the way...

Picnic” is a fairly cutesy word, given that it has a rhyme built in. It comes from the French word piquenique - but etymologists aren't sure where that word came from! The first time piquenique appeared in print was in the late 1600s; the word was rarely used in English before 1800.

Eating out of doors of course has been happening all through history!

Even when it finally came into use in England, spelled “picnic” rather than with those French Qs and silent Us and Es, it meant what we now use the word by the word “pot-luck.” A picnic, back then, meant an informal meal to which every guest contributed a dish. These casual meals could be eaten indoors or outdoors – it was the “many cooks” aspect that was important.

Now, of course, we can have potlucks at an outdoor picnic, but a picnic basket can be created by a single cook, too, and many times it is just two people doing the eating – it is the meal being eaten outside somewhere that makes it a picnic.

Unless you want to picnic inside!

If you are suffering from an overly-long winter of constant snow and rain, then you may certainly picnic indoors. Spread a blanket on the floor, plop down a well-stocked picnic basket, and eat your sandwiches and chips while sitting crosslegged with paper plates balanced precariously in your lap!

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