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Celebrate National Picnic Day

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

National Picnic Day celebrated on April 23 can be celebrated at home inside or outside , by going to a local park, or the beach. You can make the food for the picnic, or buy premade food at your local supermarket, health food store, or restaurant. A picnic is an informal meal dining al fresco with cheese, sandwiches, salads, cooked meats, sandwiches, pasta, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Photo Source: Giphy

History of the Picnic

Photo Source: En Wikipedia Org

Picnics were popular with the wealthy in the 18th century and were held inside the house. Guests brought dishes, drinks, or paid a fee to share the food. They enjoyed conversation and socializing. Many indoor picnics had music and dancing for entertainment.

In 1801 in London a group of wealthy citizens formed the Pic Nic Society. They held events in rented rooms on Tottenham Street in London. Members had to bring a dish and six bottles of wine to attend. The picnic featured plays and entertainment. Later the middleclass in London began to have picnics outdoors and this changed the meaning of the word picnic. It came to mean a simple meal outdoors.

The definition of picnic was mentioned in a children's book in 1806. Jane Austen described a country picnic in her book Emma. The picnic came to the United States and the working class began to enjoy outdoor picnics. The rise in transportation using trains, bikes and cars gave consumers easier access to the rural outdoors. Outdoor picnics prevailed over indoors picnics in popularity.

Picnic baskets were made as a way to carry a picnic outdoors when a family went to the local park or beach. Thermos were an easy way to keep drinks cold or hot. The Fourth of July picnic became a popular way to celebrate this holiday. Picnics and grilling were popular in the South, and they often served chicken, ribs, cornbread, sweet potato pie, and biscuits.

A picnic can be prepared at home and served outside sitting on the deck or in the yard. You can take the food in a cooler to the park or beach. Invite relatives or friends to your home and cook a traditional ethnic meal. Find recipes online by searching for Picnic Recipes, you can use family recipes, or look through the cookbooks you own for ideas.

Foods to Bring To A Spring or Summer Picnic

Source: Giphy

  • Sandwiches on different types of bread

  • Tuna salad, chicken, turkey, roast beef, ham, or cheese

  • Pasta salad or macaroni salad

  • Vegetable salads with dressing

  • Chicken fingers, fried or roasted chicken legs or thighs

  • Hotdogs and hamburgers

  • Grilled cheese

  • Small pizzas

  • Tacos

  • Lemonade, flavored seltzer, juices

  • Cookies, brownies and granola bars

  • Cheese and crackers, dips with veggies

Good Locations for An Outdoor Picnic

  • The deck, patio, or backyard

  • Inside the house

  • State Parks

  • Nature Centers

  • Beaches

  • Gardens

Easy Recipes For National Picnic Day

Its easy to find recipes online for Picnics in your favorite search engine. Just use the term Picnic Recipes and you should find many great recipes to try. Below are a few recipes you might want to try on your next picnic if you want to make the food yourself.

Tuna Salad With Oil and Lemon Dressing

Source: Giphy

Prepare the salad and store in container before the picnic the same day.

You will need a medium plastic container with a lid, a small container for salad dressing, measuring spoons, knife, colander, fork, bowl, potato peeler, and spoon to mix dressing.

1 can tuna fish in oil

2 large tomatoes diced

1 jar roasted red peppers diced

3 scallions diced finely

2 pickling cucumbers peeled and diced

1/2 cup pitted black olives drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste.


Open the can of tuna fish and put in a container, add lemon juice and mix well. Use a fork to separate tuna. In a colander rinse off the tomatoes, scallions and cucumbers, and basil and dry them. Peel the cucumber and discard peels and cut into thin slices cut slices in half. Put in a bowl, cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces and add to bowl. Finely dice the scallions and mix with the cucumber and tomatoes. Peel basil leaves off stems and dice. Add to vegetables. Add vegetables to the tuna and mix well. Drain the roasted red peppers and dice into small pieces add to the salad mixture. Drain the can of olives and 1/2 cup. Mix well.

Mix the olive oil and lemon juice add salt and pepper to taste in small container. Chill in refrigerator and add salad dressing before serving. Serves 4

Pulled Barbecue Pork Sandwiches

Check the meat department in your local supermarket for Curly's Pulled Pork With Barbecue Sauce or Jack Daniels Pulled Pork Seasoned Fully Cooked. They sell them in containers which can be heated in the microwave, the filling can be heated in a pan on the stove, in the oven, or on the grill. One tub will feed 2 to 3 people.

1 or 2 packages of pulled pork with barbecue sauce heated

1 loaf of Ciabatta bread cut into slices

1 thinly sliced white onion

2 cups of coleslaw mix

1/4 cup mayonnaise or more

1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

1 teaspoon spicy mustard

Salt and pepper to taste


If you going outdoor for a picnic you can heat the pulled pork in a pan over a charcoal grill or burner. At home you can heat it in a pan the grill, oven or on top of the stove when you remove it from its plastic container. . Heat it about 10 minutes until it very warm . Cut the bread into slices

and serve the pulled pork on two slices of bread untoasted or toasted.

Make the coleslaw using prepared coleslaw just add the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice. Mix well and chill in the refrigerator or cooler. Cut a white or yellow onions very thin. When you make the pulled pork sandwiches top the heated pulled pork with coleslaw and thin white onions. Cut sandwich in half and serve. It makes a delicious sandwich for a picnic inside or outside. Serves 4

Serve with potato salad or macaroni salad.

Mexican Marconi Salad

You will need a medium sized pot, cutting board knife, measuring spoons, measuring cup, bowl, containers to store salad, colander to drain pasta, can opener, and potato peeler.

Source: Giphy


1 - pound regular or 12 oz gluten free elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 fresh tomatoes diced

4 scallions diced fine

1/2 can white beans

1 cucumber peeled and diced

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 teaspoons hot sauce

Salt and pepper to taste


On the stove in a medium sized pot add water and 1 tablespoon olive oil and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Add more oil to keep the pasta from sticking if needed. When cooked drain in colander and put in bowl or container.

In a large bowl of warm water soak tomatoes, scallions, cucumber for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and dice tomato into bite sized pieces and put in container. Peel cucumber and discard peel, cut into thin slices and cut slices in half. Chop scallions and add cucumbers and scallions to tomatoes.

Add vegetables to the macaroni and mix well. Add the mayonnaise to the salad, paprika, chili powder, and lime juice. Mix well with large spoon. Drain the juice from the white beans in the can, and add about half the can and mix well. Add lime juice, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator in covered container for outdoor or indoor picnic. Serves 4.

Ideas For Buying Food For Picnics

Try purchasing food at your local supermarket or restaurant. Buy barbecued chicken, macaroni salads, cheese, deli meats, rolls, tacos, sandwiches, and vegetable salads with dressing and easy to eat items that can be served cold or heated on a grill. Order the food just before you plan to travel to the location or have it at home. When your pressed for time you can still enjoy delicious food for a picnic.

Photo Source: Giphy


History Today: The History of the Picnic

Food Timeline Picnics Lynne Olver, Virginia Tech University Library and College of Liberal Arts and Human Ser Services

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