Pique nique2 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

10.5.11 French Kiss

The Rat brought the boat alongside the bank, tied it up, helped awkward Mole safely ashore, and swung out the picnic basket. The Mole begged to be allowed to unpack it all by himself. He took out all the mysterious packets one by one and arranged their contents, gasping Oh my! Oh my! at each fresh surprise. from "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth GrahameWould it shock you to know that the word "picnic" actually derives from the French word "pique-nique"? It dates all the way back to 1692, although I imagine this was a tradition that first began with Joe Caveman gnawing on a wooly mammoth bone while perched in some bucolic spot far from the reach of the saber-tooth tiger. Whether pique-nique is actually based on the verb piquer (to pick or peck), with the rhyming nique meaning "thing of little importance," is in doubt; the Oxford English Dictionary says the word is of unknown provenance. This fresh-air practice reached a new height of popularity after the French Revolution, when royal parks opened to the public for the first time and the newly enfranchised citizens chowed down on hallowed ground. As much as I love to spread a blanket in a meadow, there's also something to be said for staging a picnic at home—on your own lawn, on the living room floor, or even (gasp) in your bed! All you need are a big, beautiful cloth, extraordinary fixings and the right companion.
Tagged — cornichons