HAPPY NATIONAL PICNIC MONTH
Summer is well and truly here and with it comes National Picnic Month. Throughout the whole month of July, National Picnic Month offers Americans the opportunity to get together, share food, enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the great American outdoors.
In today’s terms a picnic simply means an enjoyable outing that involving a selection of tasty items to eat and drink, preferably in a beautiful location with family, friends, or a loved one. But have you ever stopped and thought just where the idea of eating outdoors and sharing food and drink with people comes from? We can tell you.
Picnic or ‘pique-nique’, is of French origin and comes from the words ‘piquer’, meaning to pick at food and ‘nique’ meaning something small. So grab your hamper, a blanket, a pick and mix of food and a handful of fellow picnickers and take inspiration from our continental friends and head out for a day of fun, food and fresh air!
Picnics, before they were called picnics date back to the medieval times in England.
Picnics have evolved from the extravagant traditions of out door feasts reveled in by the wealthy. Medieval hunting feasts along with Renaissance era country banquets are the occasions that are credited with laying the original foundations of the outdoor dining experiences we are so familiar with and enjoy so much today. As Europeans we can boast of being the pioneers of picnicking.
During the 14th century in England the earliest picnics were our medieval hunting feasts. These feasts took place prior to a hunt and were of significant importance. The main foods found available were baked meats, hams and pastries.
The word picnic was known in France, Germany, and Sweden prior to it becoming a part of our English society. The first usage of the word picnic was traced back to French text from the 16th century, describing the word as a definition for a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine.
Trawling back through the history archives, we can see that several hundred years ago a picnic stood for a potluck, which was an interesting form of entertainment, whereby each person contributed with an individual dish to a communal table for all to share.
In honor of National Picnic Month we suggest you take yourself somewhere delightful so that you can relax, soak up the scenery with some great company and delicious foods and drinks!
DELICIOUS CHICKEN SALAD
Chicken salad is great for a picnic and with the readily available rotisserie chicken found today at many supermarkets, this can become a gourmet’s delight with very little effort.
7 cups rotisserie chicken (shred or cube as per your preference)
1 ½ cups real mayo (For healthier version, use ½ cup real mayo and 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
¼ cup green onion, sliced
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp kosher salt
1½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground mustard
½ tsp dried dill weed
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Optional: chopped parsley for garnish
Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl. Gently fold with rubber spatula until all ingredients are well incorporated. Cover and chill in fridge until ready to serve.
Serve with your choice of bread, croissants, or crackers. It's also delicious over a green salad, if you're looking to cut down on carbs. Or use a soft tortilla and create a wrap. Keeps well when covered and chilled for several days.