History Picnics

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
28,202
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
#1
Today, April 23, is National Picnic Day. The English word for picnic comes from the French "pique-nique". These elegant outdoor feasts date to the Middle Ages. At the Medieval feast which were held during hunts, many dishes were served.

Up to Victorian times, these picnics were for the very rich. The Victorian era was the time that the picnic crossed class lines and became popular with other classes, such as middle class.

Mrs. Beeton in her "Book of Household Management" (which has been posted about several times on the forum) gave detailed instructions on how to hold a picnic. This cookbook was very popular in the Victorian era. It was used in England and America. Mrs. Beeton writes one must serve cold roast beef, cold roast chicken, duck, cheesecakes and cold plum pudding. For the beverages she writes one should serve beer, claret, sherry and brandy.

In America during the 19th century, picnics became popular. The favorite dishes became fried chicken, watermelon and beer.

During the Civil War, mention of picnics was at the Battle of First Bull Run/Manassas. People from Washington came to watch the battle. They brought along their picnic baskets.

References: http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/history-in-a-basket-its-picnic-time

http://www.civilwar.org/hallowed-ground-magazine/spring-2011/spectators-witness-history-at.html
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
Dec 1, 2012
Messages
365
Location
Houston, Texas
#4
Yep! Fried chicken, mustard potato salad, cucumber salad (sliced cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and sour cream), macaroni salad, southern-style green beans... Sometimes my grandmother would serve West Virginia-style hot dogs if one of the guys was going to grill: frankfurters and buns topped with chopped onions, chili sauce, and sweet cole slaw.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
5,286
#8
My Dickerson cousin remembered being told by her mother about a ladies' picnic in Fulton, TN which was interrupted by an unexpected visit from some of her kin who were with Forrest at that time. The boys unsaddled and leaned on their saddles while eating. The idyll didn't last long as Federal troops were in the area - the Rebel boys hastily leaped on their horses and galloped off, leaving their saddles behind, and the Union soldiers came over to socialize with the ladies. The ladies didn't want to reveal the presence of their boys in the area, and were forced to hide the saddles by sitting on them so they were concealed beneath their crinolines until the Yankees left.

My cousin died about 1950 but my mother remembers hearing this from her. It's one of the few pieces of family lore we have from that era. So it comes to me fourth hand - my cousin's mother was there, she told it to her daughter, who told it to my mother, who told it to her daughter - me. I didn't put much stock in the details until recently when I learned that my Dickerson cousins were with co. M of the 7th TN Cavalry, which was detached to patrol the area around Fulton while Forrest and his men were at Ft. Pillow. So they missed the battle of Ft Pillow - and all the controversy surrounding what happened there - but they may very well have attended a picnic. The battle took place in April - right about this time of year, a lovely time for a picnic in Fulton.
 
Last edited:

MRB1863

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
7,613
Location
Lemoyne, PA (35 miles N. of Gettysburg)
#10
Many food items are great picnic fare! I usually do not prefer hot dogs, but make exception when grilled outdoors...maybe with a bit of chili and minced onions. Hmmmm! Now I'm hungry for a hot dog. The most appealing part of most picnics is the casual atmosphere, fresh air and friends.
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
28,202
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
#11
Today June 18th is International Picnic Day. I guess we needed an international day since had national day. Maybe some of forum members in other countries can share their memories of picnics and the foods taken by them on a picnic.

A picnic is always so much fun. I always remember the wonderful church picnics my Granny's church had each summer. There were so many great dishes, including fried chicken, baked beans, tons of salads and desserts and of course deviled eggs and watermelon.
 

Similar threads




(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top