A pasta-themed picnic DBL?

03 Jun 2017

In a very spur of the moment decision while craving pasta and nice weather I decided to hold a pasta themed DBL-style picnic for my birthday. In May. In Melbourne. For those of you who are luckily unacquainted with Melbourne weather in May it can be unpredictable. I also did not consider transport ramifications of 4kg of cooked pasta plus side dishes when my main mode of transport was a bike.

But, as we all know - pasta is life.

I actually love the idea of Dine Below the Line. I love cooking for people and I love challenges while cooking (such as cooking on $2 per head) so I can’t complain too much! I decided to host the DBL a week before my birthday to try and incentivise more people to come and people to donate a bit more money which definitely worked.

By creating a Facebook event early on I was able to invite literally every person I knew in Melbourne and keep them updated. I ran a competition that if I reached a certain dollar figure in fundraising before the event that they would even be able to choose the pasta sauce and the sides but sadly I didn’t reach this figure before the cutoff).

For my menu I decided to be really ambitious and try to make homemade pesto and garlic for 23 people meaning I had $23 to work with.

Hitting up Queen Victoria Markets really helped me in terms of pesto ingredients (I also had a rather amusing day during which I toted 7 sleeves of basil all around Melbourne while salivating because I was doing Live Below the Line). Coles Brand everything (including parmesan) also goes a long way and thanks to my mother I knew that I could substitute the pine nuts for the slightly less expensive option of walnuts!

I had a rather frantic morning of cooking everything whilst still salivating (thanks to LBL) and posting picture updates to the event to get everyone excited.

Some hot tips:

  • Don’t try to cook 2kg of dry spaghetti in two average-sized pots at the same time. It sticks together and you do a week’s worth of arm work outs trying to keep the pasta moving
  • Also don’t try to stir pesto through 4kg of cooked pasta at once - trust me, unless you’re Pop Eye it’s impossible.
  • Your Uber driver will laugh while you load two pots of pasta and four sticks of garlic bread into his car
  • The Uber car will smell amazing
  • Carrying 4kg of cooked pasta, garlic bread sticks and cutlery by yourself hurts! I woke up the next morning and my arms were so sore.

But was it worth it? Completely!

On top of lots of yummy food I had people come that I didn’t expect, including classmates whom I’d invited on a whim. Even the weather held out which was amazing.

I’d definitely recommend hosting a DBL if you enjoy cooking or want to maximise your impact even more. It was so great to see people engaging (some of whom didn’t even make it to the event but still donated) who normally would have ignored my Facebook posts about LBL.

It’s also a great way to enjoy a pretty good meal in great company. So what are you waiting for?

Bon Appetit!

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