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Grazing in the Grass

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Outdoor concerts, sunny weekends, trips to the beach - what better way to enjoy these events, and the last weeks of summer, than with a picnic?

The word 'picnic' comes from the French 'pique-nique', and entered into common usage in the 1800s. It has a nice dual meaning, being both an outing with food, and a pleasant experience. Originally, the idea of a picnic was simply a communal event in which everyone brought an item of food, but evolved into being an outdoor activity. Writing at the close of the 19th century, Lady Colin Campbell paints a fascinating picture of what such an occasion might have been like: "The provisions should have a separate vehicle allotted to them, and not be scattered about in the different carriages.. The servants - not too many, please, or we shall have too much state and ceremony - accompanying the car should start in good time, so as to be at the destination when the company arrives." Suitable provisions are listed as including pigeon and grouse pies, pressed tongue, blancmange in mould, plum-cakes, lemonade, cherry brand, tea, and remember, "it is useless to attempt to make coffee on an occasion of this kind". Nowadays, the picnic is a considerably less formal affair, although the cuisine can be just as complex.

Planning:
Picnics may seem like a slapdash affair, but they're more likely to succeed if you plan properly for them.


Articles reprinted with premission from Greenfingers.com



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