There are very few days in the year, in a city like Delhi when the weather is not frightful. The scorching sun is mellow in the winter smog, and on some lucky days we can even breathe easy.
There are very few days in the year, in a city like Delhi when the weather is not frightful. The scorching sun is mellow in the winter smog, and on some lucky days we can even breathe easy. These occasions are easy to spot, the skies are blue and the numerous parks that dot the Capital are filled with people out for a picnic. It is usually a mid-January weekend sighting. For city folk, picnics are those rare occasions you feel one with nature, chill out with your family (in a non-ac environment), eat, and watch the kids run around you. And no picnic is complete without the picnic basket.
There is no fixed menu for a picnic basket. The standard green-chutney sandwiches, soft drinks and chips are a given. However, if you want to make sure everyone enjoys their time outdoors to the fullest, here are a few pointers:
Keep the menu simple and non-smelly:
The ideal picnic lunch should be portable. Sandwiches or cutlets are ideal - you can hold the eats in one hand, and a drink in the other. Chips and dip are another option. Make sure you carry the dips in tiny sealed containers, and clips or zip pouches for chips, so you can reseal for freshness. Chicken drumsticks, fried fish fingers are finger-food that travel well. Avoid packing rice items or dishes with dairy variants like paneer, cream cheese etc. that may go off under the sun. The last thing you want is to open up the food boxes and drive away fellow picnickers. For dessert, do not carry chocolate bars that melt in the heat, instead carry a sponge cake (pre-cut and minus frosting) or small cupcakes.
Carry an ice box: This is ideal not just for beer cans and colas. You can even store boxes of dip or salad dressings, so if you assemble a quick salad, the dressing is drizzled fresh. The icebox can also be used for healthy drink options like lemonade, chaas or tender coconut water. Fresh fruit popsicles would also be an ideal distraction for the kids. Packets of freshly cut fruit, kept in the icebox can be a great dessert option as well.
Freeze some bottles: Frozen water bottles can replace some of the ice in the box. You can always take them out before a game of footie or frisbee, and have chilled water during the game. They also come in handy as a compress for any sport injury like a sprained ankle or football to the face.
Keep it clean: Carry wet wipes and napkins to make sure everyone has their hands clean before they tuck into the food. Carry a trash bag to make sure your picnic party keeps the space clean. Ensure that all used wipes, tissues, paper plates are put in a trash bag which is then neatly secured and dropped in a trash bin. Since you will be sitting on the grass, make sure you carry a thick blanket or use a plastic dining table sheet below a blanket to prevent it from getting wet.
No time to get bored: Carry enough card and board games, footballs, frisbees and other sport equipment to ensure all members can have a good time. If playing music, ensure you are not disturbing other picnickers. Ask your kids to run around in a designated area, so it is easy for you to relax yet keep an eye on them.
The checklist is a must: As soon as you set a date for a picnic, make sure you have a check list ready for the day, time, number of people, picnic location, to the smaller details like carrying a bottle opener, straws, wipes, first aid kit, eco-friendly disposable cutlery etc. After all, since you only get to have it a few days in the year, might as well have the finest picnic ever.
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