What’s the origin of the word ‘picnic’?
Well, although we know it came from the French ‘pique-nique’, which was used in the late 17th century as a term to describe a group of people dining together in a restaurant bringing their own wine (these days I think we’d call them students), even the esteemed Oxford English Dictionary says that pique-nique’s own roots are of doubtful provenance.
Over time, of course, ‘picnic’ has become the word we use for a meal that’s deliberately packed up and taken somewhere, generally to be eaten outside.
I think there can be a tendency to view picnics as something to be saved only for sunny days, but perhaps you’ll agree that eating outdoors can be fun whatever the weather.
In fact I happily recall inviting friends to join me for a hike and lunchtime picnic to mark my 30th birthday one February in the midst of a blizzard.
Picnicking without regard for the weather is an excellent idea.
Well, I thought it excellent, although my frost-bitten friends may have seen things differently.
Another excellent idea is waiving the requirement for the food to be over-planned, even though the preparation can be fun in and of itself at times.
There’s no need to make a meal out of planning your picnic, though: taking any food outside – whatever the weather – can be a terrific way to lift your spirits.
It may do so only in a small way, but when it comes to mood wrangling, a good philosophy seems to be that every little helps.
So maybe you’ll get a chance to eat your next lunch outside? Simply drinking a tea or coffee ‘al fresco’ can work, too.
Even if you’re forced to wear a coat.
While it may not be clear where the word ‘picnic’ came from, it’s pretty evident that food eaten outdoors often just tastes better.