Picnic Ideas From Europe - Similarities and Differences Between European and American Picnics
The word "picnic" originated from the French pique-nique words that had a different meaning than the picnic today.
The picnic made popular in Europe by the aristocracy in the 17th-18th century.
By now, picnic has the same meaning all over the World, as we know it in the US today.
In Europe picnic can be part of an outdoor happening, a romantic outing with our lover, a meeting with family members during the weekend at someone's backyard, celebration in a park, can be part of an excursion and so on, just like here in the US.
It does not matter if the picnic is casual or drawn by strict etiquette you have to make arrangements and preparations for.
Even if you just want to have your sandwich in a park near your college, you have to have a sandwich - obviously - you will need to sit somewhere, to have napkins, something to drink, so the concept of picnic is the same everywhere.
When Europeans think of to throwing a bigger picnic party they do the same thing that we do here: figure out what we need and how much of it, based on the estimated number of participants, with one big difference.
In Europe picnic often means sharing the food and drinks the other participants brought.
The advantage of this type of picnic is that even though everyone brings just one or two dishes at the end there is a huge selection and variety of food.
Just like a pot-luck.
The European picnic baskets have similar components than the American's: glasses, blanket, food containers, salt and pepper shakers, plates, utensils, cutting board, cheese knife, corkscrew, napkins and so on.
As far as the baskets go, the most popular baskets are the traditional English style wicker baskets made of natural willow in natural color.
In the US on the other hand, the canvas body baskets are becoming more and more popular.
They come in different size, shape and style.
The collapsible baskets, which are not always picnic baskets, are the most popular among those who use them as a market basket.
These baskets are very durable and because of their collapsible space saver.
Even though barbecue - like many other of our traditions - originated from Europe, BBQ-ing is much more popular in the US than in EU.
Let us make a note here: BBQ means cooking meat on wood fire for a long time on relatively low heat! Our everyday BBQ in our backyard is actually grilling, but nobody cares about the perfect meaning of barbecue, we all love to BBQ and that is what's important.
Grilling just recently got connected with picnicking and becoming more and more popular in Europe.
Nowadays three out of ten European picnickers have portable grilling tools in their pack when they go out to picnic.
I asked one of my friends who is known as a serious picnicker - what do you pack when you plan grilling on your picnic?
- I pack completely different when I want to cook (grill) on my picnic.
First, I take my portable grill, all the needed grilling tools like tongs, spatula, folk, gloves and so on.
- What about the foods you are taking?
- I prepare everything prior to the outing; marinate the meat: pork, chicken or fish.
- What about beef?
- Well, beef for grilling is not popular in part of EU, especially not on a picnic; we grill mostly pork, chicken or seafood close to the coastal area.
- What else?
- When we plan to grill on a picnic, we take different food items than usual.
Other than the meat, we take salads and dressing, fruit salad, a few kinds of sauces for the meat (I love Red Sauce) and most of the time something for dessert.
- What is Red Sauce?
- Well it's very simple and still very delicious.
The ingredients are Dill Pickles, Sour cream, Ketchup, Garlic a bit of fresh ground pepper.
It is very simple to make.
Chop the pickles very small, press the garlic with a garlic press, and then mix the ingredients.
Since the Red Sauce's base is the Sour cream, the mixing ratio as follow: 50% Sour cream, 35% Pickles, 10% Ketchup and 5% Garlic.
You can play with the ingredients' mixing ratio depending on your taste.
- Sounds good, I will try it...
What the European picnicker keep in mind that important to having a pleasurable outing?
- To me it is important not to choose foods that are messy and hard to handle like stew.
Raw food especially meat has to be in a separate container, prepare the foods in advance, use cooler boxes and bags.
At the end of the picnic, leave the area cleaner as it was before you came!