A picnic is an outing at which the meal is eaten outdoors preferably in pleasant, scenic surroundings. Picnics are normally whole day affairs but can be specific to a time also.

It is essentially a casual affair, and it can range from an intimate occasion for a couple, a gathering of family or friends or even a company get-together.

When inviting your guests, inform them that it is a picnic, so they can come appropriately dressed.

Picnics are broadly of two types: either a packed meal or a cookout. It is a great idea for a contributory meal, where everyone can bring a dish.

Preparation:

Choose a place which is accessible for everyone. If you are planning the picnic in a public park, check the rules as not every park allows people eating or cooking. If the park has picnic benches, then you don’t have a problem, but otherwise, take along enough durries and cushions for people to sit on and a tablecloth to serve the food on. Pack unbreakable or disposable plates, glasses, paper napkins and cutlery. If you have the space, take folding chairs, garden umbrellas, folding tables, extra hats. Don’t forget the garbage bags for the litter!

Food:

After you have decided on the venue, you can decide on the kind of picnic you want to have: a cookout or a packed meal. Just bear in mind that your quantities will be much larger than for a regular meal as people tend to eat more when they are outside.

In a packed meal, choose those items which can be enjoyed cold and are easy to eat. So foods like salads, sandwiches, cold cuts, puri-aloo, paratha rolls, samosas, kachoris, kebabs, fresh fruit, cakes, barfis make good picnic food. Keep lots of namkeens and nuts handy for hungry guests.

For a cookout, depending on whether you plan a barbeque or a regular meal, take the fuel and the cooking utensils. Pre-cut vegetables, marinated meats, cooked rotis and puris simplify the cooking process. And don’t forget the salt!

An ice-box packed with whatever drinks you want to serve will complete your picnic fare.

Entertainment:

Take enough entertainment for all the age groups. Suggested games are playing cards, board – games, passing-the-parcel, tambola, antakshari, throwing balls, seven-tiles. If you have the numbers and the space, you can even play a cricket match which used to be, in earlier times, a favorite excuse for a picnic!

If it is near a forest, a nature walk is a good idea. If it is near a river or a lake, you can even go fishing and then get to eat the fish caught!

Krishna Sahai
Krishna Sahai

Krishna Sahai took voluntary retirement as a senior Commissioner of Income Tax of the Indian Revenue Service to follow alternative paths. A multi-talented person, she is a trained Bharata Natyam dancer and has also published a book on the subject. Krishna has imbibed the old traditions of Avadhi culture from her family and is concerned about preserving the vanishing cuisines of India. She consults on financial and business matters apart from running a not-for-profit organization.

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