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In contemporary usage, a picnic can be defined simply as a pleasure excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors (al fresco or en plein air), ideally taking place in a beautiful landscape such as a park, beside a lake or with an interesting view and possibly at a public event such as before an open air theatre performance, and usually in summer.
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In contemporary usage, a picnic can be defined simply as a pleasure excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors (al fresco or en plein air), ideally taking place in a beautiful landscape such as a park, beside a lake or with an interesting view and possibly at a public event such as before an open air theatre performance, and usually in summer. Descriptions of picnics show that the idea of a meal that was jointly contributed and was enjoyed out-of-doors were 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. It is also sometimes combined with a cookout, usually a form of barbecue; either grilling (griddling, gridironing, or charbroiling), braising (by combining a charbroil or gridiron grill with a broth-filled pot), baking, or a combination of all of the above.

On romantic and family picnics a picnic basket and a blanket (to sit or recline on) are usually brought along. Outdoor games or some other form of entertainment are common at large picnics.

Some picnics are a potluck, an entertainment at which each person contributed some dish to a common table for all to share. When the picnic is not also a cookout, the food eaten is rarely hot, instead taking the form of deli sandwiches, finger food, fresh fruit, salad, cold meats and accompanied by chilled wine or champagne or soft drinks.
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Etymology
The first usage of the word is traced to the 1692 edition of Origines de la Langue Française de Ménage—which mentions 'pique-nique' as being of recent origin; it marks the first appearance of the word in print. The term was used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. For long a picnic retained the connotation of a meal to which everyone contributed something. Whether picnic is actually based on the verb piquer which means 'pick' or 'peck' with the rhyming nique meaning "thing of little importance" is doubted; the Oxford English Dictionary says it is of unknown provenance. The word does not come from any racist origin, as a false rumor spread mostly via the internet suggests.





















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How-To Articles:
How to create a picnic check list
How to organize a family picnic
How to host a wine tasting party (with video)

See Also:
National Picnic Month
Romantic Meals

Related Outside Links:
BBC Food Picnic Guide
portable-picnics
picnicrecipesandgames.com
picnic-basket.com
the-picnic-site.com
kraftrecipes.com
picnicnetwork.org
picnic-ideas.com
picnic.com
delish.com



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Resources:  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article picnic /and other related pages. Top photo : picnic in columbus
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The word picnic first appeared in English in a letter of the Gallicized Lord Chesterfield in 1748 (OED), who associates it with card-playing, drinking and conversation, and may have entered the English language from this French word. The practice of an elegant meal eaten out-of-doors, rather than a harvester worker's dinner in the harvest field, was connected with respite from hunting from the Middle Ages; the excuse for the pleasurable outing of 1723 in Lemoyne's painting (illustration, left) is still offered in the context of a hunt.
Books about Picnics & Food
We Celebrate National Picnic Month and so should you!