There was a time that picnicking was only voluntarily pursued by the British and French aristocracy, done in their lavish gardens or on hunting expeditions, but today it has become a popular outdoor activity for all and everyone. Picnicking simply means having a picnic — also called al fresco dining or outdoor dining — which is a meal that’s taken outdoors, usually together with another person or with a group.
Typically, picnicking is part of an outing, hike, walk, or biking tour in the countryside, or in a park, lake environment, forest, or in the mountains, and so on, although it can also refer to a (less “romantic”) mid-day meal in the field taken by an agricultural worker.
Nevertheless, a picnic can also be taken at home, outside, in the garden, or as part of an outdoor public event, not necessarily only in nature or in beautiful scenic environments.
Picnickers who venture into the countryside or into nature would usually sit on the ground to have their meal, on a rug or blanket. Moreover, picnics can be rather simple or very sumptuous, which refers to the type of cutlery used and the type, quality, and/or abundance of food and drinks.
As a rule, the food eaten is brought and shared by all the participants of the picnic, is usually not hot but cold food, and includes sandwiches, cakes, sweets, hard-boiled eggs, finger food, fruit, snacks, salads and/or cold meats, often accompanied by water, tea, or coffee, or perhaps wine, beer, champagne or soft drinks.
Depending on the location, such as a public park, you may find specifically designed picnic areas that furnish wooden picnic tables, and even grills, water taps, shelters, garbage bins, and restrooms i.e. toilets.
The health benefits of picnicking as part of a hike or other nature outing are obvious: fresh air, calmness, esthetic pleasure (scenery), healthy physical exertion, relaxation, and stress relief, while bonding with mother earth and our companions. Apart from that, after the meal, one can take a nice, healthy nap in open air.
Of course, as is the case with all activities in nature, one needs to use proper caution with regard to our “little friends” such as insects, snakes, and scorpions that also like the ground or perhaps our food.