The British Picnic
Al fresco dining has been a European phenomenon for centuries, the sensation of being outdoors, wind in your face, smells of outdoors. It heightens the sense of occasion that having a meal can be. Well, this can be true for our neighbors in the continent but here for us Brits the things we need is optimism and resilience. Wasps, Tesco value wine and maybe some hummus if you're feeling fancy. The thing is, we have been doing this for years and years! So, what on earth made us think we have the climate and the food selection to think picnics were a good idea?!
Dawn of the First Cold Chicken Drumstick
Picnics for us Brits go back as far as the 15th century it was a regular meal for huntsmen out on the hunt. Favourites for the huntsman include; the pork pie and Cornish pasty. (Which were specially designed to be a meal you do not need cutlery for). However, these on the go meals weren’t called picnics, the occasion was given the name much later.
What? Picnic is Evolving!
It’s thought that the modern concept of the picnic started as an idea for a meal where everyone contributed something.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the picnic became a legitimate activity enjoyed by the upper class across the nation. Known at the time as a quirky way of having a meal, foods were created especially for the occasion. The famous Scotch Egg owes its creation to the elite for wanting specifically food they can eat outdoors.
It wasn’t long until it ingrained itself into society as a summer festivity, Ascot, Goodwood and Wimbledon were all hotspots for a picnic. However, this was happening all over Europe and beyond, Fortnum & Mason were one of the fist businesses to discover this could be a great money maker for the. Making perhaps the 1st department dedicated to sending British food overseas. In which many other companies would copy the idea and carry on to this very day ;).
Call Of Duty: Modern Picnic
British supermarkets have undoubtedly robbed the classic picnic from its sophisticated stature and flare, but the ease of access of the products along with the convenience made it an everyman activity. Ham, pork pies and hot tea on the go, anyone can grab a blanket pack some sausage rolls and drumsticks, put it all in the boot head out to the nearest greenland where you will be bombarded with ants that want your grub. (and of course the red pepper hummus). That as well as strawberries turning up at Wimbledon and bubbly at Ascot.
To be honest, the act of a British picnic can mean many things to different people. To some it's a way of feeling posh at a special occasion, to others it's an act of defiance in the face of terrible weather. Its all things to all people, and for this reason and many more we hope picnics carry on and on. Who knows, maybe we'll get VR picnics or something?
Need something for your next picnic? why not have a look at our section of snacks Here