Fancy recipes that you can take to a picnic
8/29/2014 3:38:09 PM
|written By : Nithya Subramanian|
This piece is my walk down nostalgia lane as the word picnic evokes so many responses, so many emotions that it’s hard to even start on the topic.
Picnics or excursions are all about childhood excitement when we look forward to that day of fun and enjoyment in the outdoors with our families and friends – a time when everyone lets loose and even adults become children. I see that same excitement and gleam in my young children today who await these outings.
Picnics bring to mind so many memorable stories – particularly this one, often told by my old Kashmiri neighbour ‘dadi’ who recollected her experiences of spending a warm day on the breathtakingly beautiful Dal Lake with her extended family. It was spent on a shikara, and what amazed me the most was her narration of how whole watermelons were chilled by submerging them in the cold waters of the lake.
The word takes me back to our yearly outing to the sunny beaches of Visakhapatnam – on Karthika Vanabhojanam. The last Sunday in the month of Karthika (between November-December) is the time when we along with our neighbours would make it a point to spend the day outdoors. The cool shade of the casuarina trees lined along the beach was our camping site. Huge hampers of Puliogra (tamarind rice), Poori-sabzi, sweet treats and other nice eats would be packed and savoured under its shade. It is widely believed that Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi preferred to reside under amla trees during this month. Hence during Karthika Vanabhojanam, the Telugu community in Andhra Pradesh worships amla trees.
Picnics also have romantic associations in India. During the month of Aadi (July-August), newly married couples pack different varieties of spiced-flavoured rice (tamarind, lime, coconut, sesame… the list is endless) to the banks of the Cauvery river and spend an evening under the moonlight. Even Lord Krishna and the Yadav princes were known to enjoy outdoor revelry along the river Yamuna. There are outrageous stories of them singing, dancing, enjoying water sports apart from eating and drinking. Pitchers of wines, called maireya, madhvisura and asava were passed on bringing out their flirtatious side!