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Plan your summer picnic, with some help from library

Do you know the origins of the word picnic? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word picnic comes from France. Piquenique is the original French word. In Old French piquer means "to pick, peck," and nique means "worthless thing." In other words, a picnic is something small and inconsequential to eat, not a banquet.

However, there is controversy over whether the Old French is the provenance of the word. It was rare for the term to be used in English before 1800, and at that point it meant "a fashionable potluck social affair, not necessarily out of doors." The English version has, of course, changed both the "que's" to "c's."

No matter where the word comes from it's a very enjoyable practice. Since we're at the height of the picnic season, highlighted below are books for adults as well as children on the subject.

• Country Living, Eating Outdoors-Sensational Recipes for Cookouts, Picnics, and Take-Along Food, by the Editors of Country Living. On a warm evening, there's no greater pleasure than gathering around the backyard picnic table and enjoying a great meal with family and friends: pitchers of lemonade, a big bowl of potato salad, a platter piled high with freshly grilled burgers.

Now, dining alfresco gets even better, thanks to Country Living. With ideas for appetizers, salads, entrées, drinks, desserts, and even condiments, it serves up 90 delicious recipes for everything from simple family dinners to celebratory neighborhood parties. The delectable choices range from well-loved classics to new favorites, including Sage Buttered Corn on the Cob, Chicago-Style Ale-Brined Frankfurters, Herb-Stuffed Grilled Trout, and Praline Ice Cream. Country Living writes the book on putting together a terrific outdoor meal.

• Barbecue Nation: 350 Hot-Off-The-Grill, Tried-And-True Recipes from America's Backyard, by Fred Thompson. Author Fred Thompson has criss-crossed this country looking for the very best in backyard cooking, from men and women with a passion for the grill. From Richmond, Virginia, to Eureka, California, Fred has collected 350 recipes that are going to turn you into a master (or mistress) of the grill.

Whether you've got a taste for fish (try Garry's Yazoo City Lemon-Garlic Grilled Catfish) or want a new twist on burgers (Lorenzo's Cuban Burgers could be your ticket), you'll find what you're looking for in Barbecue Nation.

• The Most Perfect Spot, by Diane Goode. Experience a picnic in the park with Mama and Jack, where nothing seems to go right, but fun is had by all -- and a little dog joins the family. With "and then, who knows why..." as the cheerful refrain, Diane Goode tells how a boy's plan to give his mother a perfect picnic in the park goes hilariously awry.

Kids will spot the little dog who's the cause of the mischief on every spread, making the refrain even more fun! Without preaching, this visual adventure shows that you can be happy even when things don't go just right. And the large, animated scenes picture all the fun with an expressive, lively line and inviting color.

The Detroit Lakes Library is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays.

For more information on library services and programs, please call 218-847-2168 or visit your library at 1000 Washington Ave.

The Detroit Lakes Library is a branch of Lake Agassiz Regional Library (LARL).