Everybody celebrates Independence Day in July. But, what many people don’t know is that we also celebrate National Picnic Month in July, too! Going for a picnic is an excellent time to embrace nature and breathe in fresh air. It is also a great opportunity to bond with friends, family and loved ones. While a picnic is understood as a simple excursion with meals eaten outdoors, there are some interesting facts about the origin of picnic that not many of us are aware of.
- The word picnic was taken from the French word “pique nique” which refers to an outdoor meal. The first picnics took place in the Middle Ages when the members of the upper class society would “dine out” or eat their meals outdoors during a hunt.
- The first recorded use of “picnic”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was in a letter written by Lord Chesterfield to his son in Berlin in 1748. The word picnic here was used in the sense of a social gathering.
- In the early 1800’s, picnic was already being used to refer to a social meal eaten outdoors.
The lovely, warm weather of July gives us another reason to celebrate National Picnic Month. If you are looking for ideas on how you can celebrate this national holiday, here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Get outside for a BBQ party! Prepare your favorite meats and side dishes like coleslaw and potato salad. Enjoy family bonding time while you grill your BBQ to perfection and dig into the sumptuous outdoor meal together!
- Have a traditional picnic. Fill a straw picnic basket with your favorite foods and drinks. Find that perfect spot in a park and don’t forget to bring the plaid blanket. Bring some board games or just savor the moment as you celebrate the open air.
- Play some outdoor games. After eating, it’s a perfect time to play some outdoor games. You can throw a Frisbee and play ball games where everybody can join in.
For fun and exciting activities like picnics, safety and health should remain a top priority. Avoid foodborne illnesses and make the most of the National Picnic Month by taking note of the following tips.
Be conscious of the food temperature and time
Protect your food from getting spoiled by keeping hot food hot and cold food cold especially when you’re traveling or during your outdoor gatherings. Bring plenty of ice.
Use a food thermometer
Make sure that your food is safely cooked by using a food thermometer. Before removing meats, especially whole cuts, from the heat source, measure the internal temperature and make sure that they are cooked to 145 degrees F. Let them sit and allow 3 minute rest time before consuming.
Choose healthy foods for your picnic
Picnics are all about enjoying delicious foods. But delicious doesn’t have to be unhealthy. You can certainly pack satisfying, yet healthy meals for your picnics. For example, you can add a twist to your traditional sandwiches and vary your bread choices. Try using tortillas, flat breads and whole grain products. Then experiment with fillings instead of sticking to the same old ham and cheese. Incorporate oven roasted vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplants to make it healthier.
Bring more non perishable foods
Limit the number of your perishable foods and bring more non-perishable foods. Aside from your salads and sandwiches, you can bring pretzels, oatmeal cookies, or baked potato chips. Other snacks like nuts and sunflower seeds are also excellent food choices.
Keep it clean
Avoid food contamination by keeping everything clean and sanitary – from the food handling to preparation and packing. Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after handling food. Make sure that all utensils are clean. Don’t use the same utensils for raw and cooked food to avoid transfer of harmful bacteria. Also bring paper towels, disposable cloths and clean water for cleaning hands and surfaces before and after eating at your picnic venue.
July is a perfect time to take vacations and spend more time outdoors. Make the most of the beautiful weather and celebrate National Picnic Month with your family!