About International Picnic Day
The word comes from the French word pique-nique, whose earliest usage in print was at the end of the 17th century. The term was originally used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine.
A picnic has also become a byword for something easy, and that is fitting as a picnic can be as simple as taking your sandwich outside to eat on your lunch break, or as extravagant as a giant outdoor party with friends and family. Just remember it's the golden rule to leave your picnic spot as you found it.
Britannica Kids Dictionary defines a picnic as "a meal eaten outdoors often during a trip away from home."
Top Ten Picnic Tips
- Keep it simple. Stick to a menu of summertime favorites that you can serve all at the same time. Guests can leisurely help themselves while you kick back and relax.
- Make things interesting. Even classics like fried chicken, watermelon, and potato salad can be updated with a new recipe. Or visit your local deli or gourmet market for a picnic made by pros.
- Cool it. Freeze bottles of water or juice to use as ice packs until they’re ready to drink. Ice the cooler several hours beforehand to keep it colder longer, but be sure to keep some ice separate to put in drinks.
- Pack wisely. Use lidded plastic containers to keep things fresh and prevent spills. Pack dressings separately to avoid soggy salads. For condiments, many brands now offer convenient “picnic packs.” But you still can’t beat individual fast-food packets, so save your extras!
- Keep it light. Once you consolidate your supplies, make sure they’re simple to carry and not too heavy. Some picnic spots are quite a hike.
- Set the table or blanket. Bring extra plates or platters for serving, large spoons for salads, at least one sharp knife, and an opener for wine or bottles. To keep things organized, put food and drinks in separate coolers.
- Be prepared. Sunscreen, bug spray, a waterproof picnic blanket, umbrellas, and a first aid kit should protect you from most of the elements.
- Avoid these. Foods that don’t transport well (ice cream, puddings, frosted cakes) should stay off the menu. And keep in mind that sweet and sticky tends to attract wasps and bees.
- Clean up. You can never have enough hand wipes—especially if you opt for barbeque. And be sure to bring extra bags for leftover food and trash.
- Stay flexible. Even the best-laid plans—and picnics—are weather dependent, but no one ever said you can’t picnic indoors. If the skies turn stormy, move the meal inside, lay the blanket on the floor, and stay in the summertime spirit!