Vintage Picnic

1950s Twinco thermos set

Picnic blanket. Amazon
Picnic is an evocative word -  it conjures images of idyllic childhood days, tartan rugs, green grass, games, dappled sunlight and family togetherness...or perhaps romantic settings, chicken drumsticks and cool glasses of wine by gurgling brooks.

Picnics are probably the oldest form of feasting, dating back to the primitive past when we gorged on wild berries and miscellaneous small animals -only without the civilizing influence of accessories, such as a rug, basket, thermos, plates etc.  There is something fundamental about eating a meal outdoors, out in the fresh air, surrounded by the natural world. Sure beats a plastic burger in the food court at the shopping mall.

Nobleman's picnic. Le Livre de chasse de Gaston Phébus 1500s

In the Medieval era,  outdoors feasting was a common pastime for the wealthy. The earliest picnics were hunting feasts, which were enjoyed before the hunting sport began. Servants would set up tables outdoors, laden with hams, baked meats, fruits an pastries.

However the word 'picnic', as applied to outside eating, did not come into common usage until the late 1800s. Picnics became particularly popular in the post-war 20th century as more and more families acquired cars and could move around the countryside with relative ease.

                Retro tumblers, perfect for a vintage picnic. $45 at Urbanites
People still picnic of course but the time factor seems more of a barrier than before or is that just an illusion? Something we tell ourselves because it's easier to go shopping on a Saturday than pile people and supplies in the car and head out to the country. Yet picnics are a wonderful recreation - cheap, healthy and they always offer a change of scene. Viva La picnic!

The essential and classic picnic basket. From Optima