Dreaming of Dhofari Picnics

I am very happy that my Dhofari friends are being careful about corona and not having social events and at the same time… I miss picnics! It’s almost time to go back to work but, even with all the lovely khareef drizzle, it doesn’t feel like there was a vacation as there were no picnics this summer.

“Picnic,” like all food terms, has different meanings as you move between cultures. Visiting family and friends at home, picnics mean making or buying food and then eating it on blankets in a scenic place. I miss deviled eggs, potato salad, coleslaw, and most of all: pie! Sometimes we grill hamburgers or hotdogs, but picnics usually do not mean cooking, especially a picnic with my mom. Her idea of a picnic is getting sandwiches or little containers of chicken salad, tangerine sodas and one bag of chips for me (because of course she doesn’t want any), then driving to a little cove near her house, sitting on a bench and watching the ocean. Pretty perfect except for her relentless chip-stealing.  

Picnics here usually involve cooking and a lot of communal work. One person will bring meat and vegetables, others will help cut everything, someone will cook and we will all eat off one plate. Really wonderful in normal times, but dangers abounding in the time of corona as most items are passed hand to hand, such as knives, plates, Tabasco, bottles of water, Kleenex, limes, etc.

I sometimes wish dinner was severed at a less than thermonuclear level of spiciness, but other than that, picnics in Dhofar are delightful and I am looking forward to the winter in which, I hope, corona goes away and I am back on a beach with good food and good friends.