Picnics are not just about food; they are a mindset, a way of enjoying, and a way of celebrating life. They are small gastronomic rebellions that we can incite throughout the summer, a ritual declaration of independence from the strictures of ordinary eating. In those picnic moments, we grant ourselves the freedom to lounge about on a blanket, eating delicious finger food with our hands, surrounded by fresh air and natural beauty.
A good picnic is a thrilling reversal of normal rules, where we get to curate a lovely little setup and enjoy the outdoor scenery while reaping the mental-health benefits of spending time outdoors. Being in nature is like medicine for the mind. It reduces cortisol levels, which make us more calm and relaxed. Using “non-productive time” relaxing outside can actually boost productivity later, and getting Vitamin D for immunity is an added bonus.
Picnics have been celebrated for centuries, dating back to medieval hunting feasts and Renaissance-era country banquets. The pleasure of picnicking has been captured in art and literature, from Monet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” to Jane Austen’s famous Box Hill picnic in “Emma.” Even Mrs. Beeton instructed her readers on catering a picnic for 40 in her famous book, Book of Household Management.
Nowadays, picnicking has become a joyful summertime treat for all. It’s a way to enjoy food, nature, and each other’s company in a relaxed and beautiful atmosphere. Whether it’s a family outing to the park or a romantic date on the beach, picnics are a perfect way to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.