April 23rd Is National Picnic Day

Today is National Picnic Day! Get out your baskets and blankets; grab a couple sandwiches, a bottle of wine or two and enjoy your meal outdoors!

pic•nic [pik-nik]; noun

1. an excursion or outing in which the participants carry food with them and share a meal in the open air.

2. the food eaten on such an excursion.

3. Also called picnic ham, picnic shoulder. a section of pork shoulder, usually boned, smoked, and weighing 4–6 pounds.

4. Informal . an enjoyable experience or time, easy task, etc.: Being laid up in a hospital is no picnic.
verb (used without object)

5. to go on or take part in a picnic.

The word “picnic” can be traced back to the French book, Origines de la Langue Française printed in 1692, in which the term was used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant drinking wine that they had brought with them. Soon the term came to mean a meal to which each person brought something – much like a potluck.

In 1789, after the French Revolution, royal parks were opened to the public and picnics became a popular pastime. During the early 19th century, a group of people in the UK formed the Picnic Society and planned public picnic events in London.

national picnic day 2012

Fun Facts About Picnics:

– The first official picnic tables (as we know them today) were built in the late 1800s.

– In the year 2000, a 600-mile-long picnic took place from coast to coast in France, celebrating the first Bastille Day of the new Millennium.

– It’s an Italian tradition to picnic the day after Easter, on “Easter Monday”, also called “Angel’s Monday” or “Pasquetta” (“Little Easter”).

– A “picnic ham” is not actually ham; it’s cut from the foreleg of a pig, whereas true ham is cut from the hind leg.

– Ants join your picnic in droves because once one has visited it leaves a scent as it returns to its nest, thus attracting the other ants to your food.

The above fun facts were found on a website I stumbled upon all about picnics: Healthy Picnics, Healthy Recipes, Family Fun!

Not sure what to pack in your picnic basket? Here are a few delicious recipes courtesy of the chefs at FoodNetwork.com, perfect for picnics:

Grilled Tuna Salad Sandwiches with Lemon-Habanero Mayonnaise and Watercress

3 cups fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1 whole habanero chile, chopped (only use the whole if you like it hot)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup best-quality mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 large stalk celery, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 (8-ounce) tuna steaks
Olive oil
8 slices hearty bread (Italian, French, ciabatta, or country white)

Heat grill to high. Place lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to boil on the grates of the grill. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly. Leave grill on high heat.

Place lemon syrup, habanero, lemon zest, and mayonnaise in a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a large bowl. Add the onions, celery, and parsley and set aside.

Brush tuna with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill for 3 minutes per side or until slightly charred and cooked to medium doneness. Remove from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before cutting into small dice or flaking with a fork. Add the flaked tuna to the mayonnaise mixture and gently mix until combined. Divide the tuna salad among 4 slices of bread. Top the salad with a few sprigs of watercress and top with the remaining bread.

Chocolate Toffee Bites

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and caramelize on high heat stirring constantly. It will turn amber brown in about 5 minutes. When it is a uniform caramel color, add the butter, and stir it in. Once mostly combined, add the chocolate, and stir to blend. Pour it out onto a silpat or parchment lined sheet pan, and spread it with an offset spatula 1/8-inch thick. Let cool and break into small pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Berry-Guava Lemonade

Mash 4 diced strawberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons guava juice in a glass. Fill with ice, then add 6 tablespoons lemon juice and lemon slices.

national picnic day april 23

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