The summer vacations are here and homes all over are bustling with plans to spend the holidays – a getaway at this time of the year is inevitable, whether it is a day's drive out into the countryside, or a road trip over a few days. Every getaway calls for delicious and cleverly packed food to take along – and good food always makes for great memories – so here are a few packing tips for that perfect picnic food bag!
Plan a variety of flavours
Spending several hours outdoors can include all kinds of activities, and food cravings vary from feeling snacky to ravenous. The global favourite picnic food must be sandwiches, and a little planning can help you create a variety of flavours without letting it get boring! Throw in some beverages in a flask, and some fruits, snacks and sweet treats, and you have got a picnic bag that has the perfect fix for every food craving!
Remember that fatigue sets in rather suddenly, so it is a great idea to be stocked with energy bars or dry fruits and nuts for smaller treats between meals.
Pack for mess free eating
Picnics often involve eating on the move – whether it is at a scenic spot along the road, or in a moving vehicle, one needs to make do with distributing food from limited space, and making sure everybody can eat their food comfortably. Having dishes that need gravy on the side makes it hard not only to pack, but also to eat! Stick to meals that could be bitten into like sandwiches or parathas, or meals that can be packed indivudually and eaten with a spoon.
Using reusable boxes and spoons for the food also helps you organise your excess and trash better, and you do not need to deal with sticky cling film to carry as trash after the meal! A separate food bag or basket is the best way to keep your picnic organised, and contain spillage and leaks. An ice box would be a fantastic solution to keep your food cold and refreshing even over a long drive.
Prep in advance
Packing a picnic using commercially available food products is terribly boring and unappetizing, resulting in a lot of wastage as one prefers to eat from a roadside cafe instead of eating sticky chocolate bars or cheese slices between dry bread. One really useful sandwich spread is herbed butter – it takes all of 10 minutes to make and can convert a plain sandwich into a gourmet treat! Look out for the recipe at the bottom of this page!
Little things can go a long way in adding some fun and punch to your picnic basket. Fruits, jelly sweets, dry fruit bars, a jar of olives, a bottle of pickle or hard boiled sweets – each one has a distinct flavour of its own and mixing allows each person to add their own twist to their meal! Adding a bottle of juice or a flask of tea also goes a long way in keeping spirits high on a long drive.
Recipe: Herbed butter and cheese sandwich
What you need:
100g butter, cut coarsely into cubes
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Put all the ingredients into a food chopper or mixer, and blend together to form a paste. Store in a bottle and spoon out the butter to spread on bread to make sandwiches.
Spread the herbed butter on one slice of bread, and cheese spread on the other slice to make a sandwich. Make in advance and cut into halves to keep it easy to eat while on the go!
Written bySurabhi Ganguly
Surabhi, is an engineer turned food professional, who quit a decade-long corporate career to set up her own venture, Slyly Simple Gourmet Kitchen. Surabhi loves travel and exploring new cultures, and wherever she goes, she brings back a food memory that influences her cooking. Her unusual and easy recipes use unique ingredient combinations and strong, distinct flavours.