Pie under the sky

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.

5 thoughts on “Pie under the sky

  1. Hard to believe that you are in California Jon; all this talk of coats and blizzards! You have it just about right though for picnics in the UK during May though. 🙂 Roll on flaming June.

    Thanks for the ‘mood-wrangling’ tips as always, what a fabulous description of what so many of us do each day. It conjures up a fabulous vision of folk in cowboy hats, boots, spurs and chaps twirling lassoes. Think once I have wrangled today’s mood I’ll turn it into hamburgers…or perhaps something more healthy.

    Many thanks once again for all that you do and the inspiration you provide.
    best wishes

    Phil G

    1. Well, it’s always a great pleasure Phil. Thanks so much for the feedback, gratefully received. Good luck with the mood wrangling, but be careful with those spurs.

  2. Last year I sat on Brighton pier in the pouring rain eating sandwiches made on homemade bread. It was an opportunity to connect with the elderly couple next to us and watch a woman determined to enjoy herself dance in the rain. To quote the lifestyle blogger The Nester, “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”.

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