The Picnic Basket

This is the final article in August of the School for Housewives 1908 series published on August 30, 1908, and is an article on what to take on a picnic, especially sandwich fillings.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the The Buffalo Sunday Morning News.

The Picnic Basket

Where to have a picnic party, whom to ask to it and what to do at it are usually questions of minor importance or are answered by circumstances. The really vital point to be considered as, What shall be taken in the picnic basket?

Here again circumstance comes in and lends a hand. The connoisseur in picnics knows that one picnic bill of fare is not suitable to all. If the party is to be made up of healthy boys and girls, with robust appetites, substantial food is to be provided, and a plentiful supply is the chief object in view. More sophisticated young people demand greater delicacy and variety, and if older persons are included in the company their tastes are even more exacting. Plain boiled eggs, ham sandwiches and doughnuts will not full their requirements for an al fresco repast.

Another circumstance which determines the contents of the lunch basket is the locality of the picnic. If it is a spot to which one goes in carriages or by boat, and there is little or no walking to be done, a broad field of food is opened. I have been to picnic where salads, ice cream and sherbets were served as they would have been at a home reception. The ice cream was packed and transported in the back of a wagon to the picnic place, or carried in one end of a boat, and the salad stowed in a basket and intrusted to some one who would carry it steadily. Until one has tried this sort of thing one has little idea of what fields of experiment are open. The uninitiated make a great mistake when they confine their picnic provisions to the hackneyed old standbys every one has eaten for years.

As a matter of course, when there is a good deal of walking to be done to reach the lunching place, heavy baskets are undesirable. In any case, it is as well to study a certain amount of simplicity and in a measure to differentiate the picnic meal from the refreshments which would be served at an indoor party.

After all, the sandwich is the most useful vehicle in which one can take picnic food. Cold meats are unhandy, since they require a knife and fork. Even cold chicken demands a handling which results in greasy fingers and the need of soap and water. In the sandwich one may find a variety by the introduction of different sorts of filling, and the sandwich may be either dainty or substantial, as the inclination moves or the party desires.

The plain chicken, tongue or ham sandwich was our piece de resistance in my young picnic days, but many are the changes which have come since then in sandwiches as well as in other things. Sandwiches of minced meats or fish—chicken, ham, tongue, veal, lamb, beef, salt or fresh; of sardines, salmon, lobster, crab; of nuts; of cheese; of lettuce, cress, cucumbers and tomatoes; of jelly, jam, fruit—show me anything which cannot be made into a sandwich, with mayonnaise or without! With all these to draw from, what need is there of further novelty?

Yet variations still may be found. Granted the use of a fork and the possibility of transportation, and galantines or meat loaf, or meats or fish in aspic, may be served, to say nothing of salads of any sort. Then there is always the stuffed or deviled egg, with its never-waning popularity. The plain hard-boiled egg still holds its charm for some simple souls and will fill odd corners of the picnic basket.

Sweets are not usually much considered in filling the picnic basket or in emptying it afterward. The occupation of making the sandwiches, in the first place, and of eating them, in the second, is filling, and leaves little inclination for further exercise along either line. Ice cream one may always find room for, but I never found that there was much demand for other dessert than this, unless it might be a piece of cake or a little fruit. These are easily procured, and a box of candy to be taken at stray moments during the evening wll be well received.

What to drink at the picnic is of fully as much importance as what to eat, and unless one has unlimited carrying capacity for bottles of beverages, a good well or spring must be a sine qua non in the choice of a picnic place. Tramping or exercising out of doors is always thirsty work, and eating sandwiches is even more provocative of thirst. If there is a good spring, lemon juice and sugar may be carried in jars and diluted as occasion requires. Raspberry shrub, or raspberry vinegar, or currant shrub or any other of the good old syrups made at home are also excellent beverages for a picnic. Best of all, perhaps, are iced coffee and tea—when ice may be obtained. If not, it is a delight to build a fire, boil the kettle and either make your drinks fresh or heat those brought from home. The bottle of coffee may be uncorked, put into a pan or pot of boiling water and brought thus to the desired temperature.

Food alone is not the only requisite for the picnic basket. A tablecloth and napkins, either linen or paper, must be carried, a nest of wooden plates, such as are used for butter and the like by grocers, drinking cups or glasses, spoons—and perhaps—knives and forks. The necessity for these is determined by the character of the provisions carried. With sandwiches, cake and fruit they will not be needed, but will elaboration in the bill of fare additional utensils will be required.

I may add that when salads are part of the feast they may be taken in wooden or tin receptacles, ad the mayonnaise may be carried separately in a wide-mouthed bottle. Lettuce toughens when left too long in the dressing, and the salad will be improved if mixed just before it is to be eaten. Sandwiches must be put up in waxed paper, three or four together, while tissue paper may be used for wrapping the stuffed eggs, and the ends of the paper after being twisted may be fringed. No means to make the provisions present a dainty appearance should be neglected.

A Few Sandwich Fillings.

1. Cop fine a cup of cold boiled ham and two cups of coil boiled or roast chicken, make to a paste with mayonnaise dressing and spread on buttered white or graham bread.

Chicken and tongue sandwiches may be prepared by using the meat in the same proportions.

2. Rub cream cheese to a paste with sweet cream and spread it on white bread. Lay on each slice a leaf of lettuce which has been dipped in French dressing. Place over it a slice of buttered bread, either white or brown.

3. Prepare cheese as above directed and add to each cheese a half cupful of chopped nuts. Salt to taste. Or you may use minced watercress with the cheese instead of nuts.

4. Boil half a dozen eggs, putting them on in cold water. Cook for 15 minutes after the water reaches the boiling point. Rub the yolks to a powder and stir into them two teaspoonfuls of fish paste or potted ham or tongue, and reduce with melted butter to the consistency of soft cheese. Chop the whites fine; mix with this and spread all on thin bread and butter.

5. Lobster or crab sandwiches are very good and are made by mincing the meat fine and making it to a paste with mayonnaise. Spread on thin white buttered bread.

6. Plain egg sandwiches may be made by chopping hard-boiled eggs fine, the whites and the yolks together, softening with melted butter to a paste, seasoning with salt, pepper, onion juice and a little dry mustard, and spreading on bread. Sardine sandwiches may be made like the lobster or crab sandwiches.

7. Delicious sweet sandwiches are prepared by mixing good jam with cream cheese, softening to a paste with cream and spreading on thin white bread. Jelly sandwiches may be made in the same way, or the jelly may be spread on buttered bread.

Marion Harland

Family Meals for a Week
The Housemothers’ Exchange

Preparing for a Fourth of July Picnic

This is the last article in June of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on June 9, 1907, and is a fun little article on picnic and the Fourth of July.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of The Washington Times.

Preparing for a Fourth of July Picnic

IMPRIMIS: A box party at theater or opera conveys the impression of luxury and especially privileges to a favored foe; a box picnic is but a variation of the basket picnic, well known as the simplest form of the summer all-day outing. It is particularly adapted to the Fourth of July outings, which are becoming each year a more favored method of pawing our national holiday.

The box has sundry advantages over the hamper as a means of transporting provisions for the merry excursionists. For weeks in advance of the holiday, there should be a hoarding up of the paper boxes that drift into the house from grocer, florist, shoe merchant, and haberdasher. Select those of medium size, and apportion to each the contents suited to dimensions and shape.

Provide yourself with plenty of tissue paper, also the waxed paper used by confectioners and bakers for wrapping dainties that may ooze or grease. Lay in a stock of light, strong wrapping paper, twine, and the wooden handles that make the carriage of parcels less awkward business than when they are merely tied up with a string.

Boxes Better Than Baskets.

A box is less unwieldy because more compact than a basket; the sight of a party thus laden attracts less attention on train or boat than if every man, woman, and child bore a hamper—a walking advertisement of the day’s business. The box is light and easily tucked under the seat or bestowed in the rack overhead while the passengers are in the train. If they do not wish to be cumbered with empty boxes on the return trip, a bonfire on the camping ground disposes of impedimenta, including wrapping paper, Japanese napkins and the wooden plates, which have saved the picnickers the burden of china platters and plates.

A procession of tired excursionists, bearing disheveled hampers, emptied of edibles, yet which must be carried carefully lest the crockery within jingles itself to pieces, is a dispiriting feature of the return townward when the day’s fun is clean over.

In buying napkins have the thought of “the day we celebrate” in mind. If you can find those that are stamped with the Stars and Stripes or other national emblems get them. Lay in an abundance of narrow ribbons, striped with red, white and blue, for tying up sandwiches and rolls. These and other simple devices for lending a patriotic flavor to the festivities are well worth the exercise of ingenuity and expenditure of time.

Use Wooden Plates.

You may buy wooden plates, such as we used by grocers for sending butter to customers, at an absurdly low price. Also deeper and smaller wooden trenchers, which you will find useful in bestowing your goods in the boxes. All are so cheap that you will not grudge cremating them when they have had their day.

Set aside the largest boxes for sandwiches rolls, and biscuits. The next size should be appropriated by cakes and fruit. Have separate compartments for each. Sandwiches impart odors to plain bread and butter, and cake lends fragrance to its neighbors.

Cut fresh bread as thin as a sharp knife will shave it—having buttered it on the loaf, and roll each slice up neatly, tying it with narrow ribbon. This is “nice” work, requiring deft fingers and a keen blade. Warm the butter slightly for spreading bread. Sandwiches are clumsy when butter is laid on the slices in lumps. Pare the crust from the bread to be rolled or used for sandwiches. When the rolled bread is ready, envelope each ribbon-bound parcel in waxed paper and pack them in the box already lined with tissue paper. If this be done at once, the bread will be soft when the box is opened.

Open long French rolls on one side and scrape out two-thirds of the crumb. Fill the cavities with minced tongue, ham or chicken; close the roll and bind into place with narrow ribbon. Pack the several kinds in separate boxes, marking them “ham,” or “tongue” or “chicken.” It will save confusion in unpacking and serving. Oblong sandwiches are more easily handled in eating than square or triangular. They also pack to better advantage. Wrap each in waxed paper as soon as it is tied up, and lay in the box. Pack securely, but do not crush.

Packing Loaf Cakes.

Cut loaf cakes and lay the slices closely together in the paper-lined box. When it is full, cover by folding the waxed paper about it to exclude the air. Do not wrap the slices separately. Put up cookies, etc., in like manner.

Salads should be prepared at home, and made quite ready for the dressing. If you have a tin biscuit box, line it with several thicknesses of waxed paper; on this lay an interlining of cheesecloth or old muslin. In the box thus prepared pack lettuce or chicken and celery cut up, but not seasoned. It will remain fresh in the hottest weather if you will sprinkle it very lightly with water before fitting on the lid. The dressing—mayonnaise or French—should be put up in a wide-mouthed bottle, securely corked and wrapped in raw cotton. Give it a small box to itself.

Bottles are ticklish articles to carry, and moreover, heavy. Yet there must be beverages at a July picnic. Cold tea and coffee, and ginger ale will add seriously to the weight of the outfit. If you must take them, distribute the bottles among the several boxes and assign them to the stronger members of the party. Pare and slice the lemons at home, and pack with sugar in fruit jars with screw tops and rubbers. Water and ice (if you can procure the latter in the neighborhood of the camping ground) may be added when you are ready to serve the lemonade. Since tumblers are another must-be, get a dozen or so of the cheapest you can find. Then no tears are shed if they come to grief.

You will be surprised when everything is put up to see how much has been packed into a few boxes. The larger cases should be done up separately, each enveloped in paper, tied with twine, and fitted up with a handle. Two or three smaller boxes may be strapped together.

When the joyous company board train or boat, they may be mistaken for town cousins who are bearing gifts to the old homestead on the holiday. They will not look like fruit, candy, and peanut peddlers, bound for a day’s business in the rural districts.

The small silver needed for the luncheon should go into the breast pocket of paterfamilias, or into “mother’s” shopping bag. A dozen teaspoons take little room. Forks and tablespoons will not be required, unless the former are needed for salad.

I append a few recipes for sandwiches that may be a welcome variation upon the stock “chicken, tongue, and ham.”

Cheese Jelly Sandwiches.

Beat the yolks of two eggs light, add a saltspoonful of salt, the same of white pepper and of French mustard. Mix well and stir into mixture a cup of hot milk, to which has been added a pinch of soda. Stir over the fire, in a double boiler, for five or until it heats throughout evenly and thickens into a custard. Have ready a tablespoonful of gelatine, which has soaked tor two hours in a cupful of cold water. Take the custard from the range and beat in the gelatine alternately with a great spoonful of cream. Set in boiling water, and, when it is hot, add a cupful (scant) of grated cheese. When you have a smooth paste, turn out to cool in a deep plate. Do this the day before it is to be used. Slice and lay between buttered slices of bread.

Cream Cheese and Nut Sandwiches.

Work the cheese to a paste with cream and butter, and mix with an equal quantity of sorted pecans, chopped fine. Butter thin slices of graham bread and spread with the mixture.

Egg and Anchovy Sandwiches.

Boil six eggs hard and throw them into cold water. Leave them there for two hours. Take out the yolks and rub to a powder with a silver spoon. Moisten with a dressing made of a tea spoonful of lemon juice rubbed to an emulsion with three tablespoonfuls of salad oil, half a teaspoonful of French mustard and a dash of salt and pepper. Make into a lumpless compound, adding, finally, two teaspoonfuls of anchovy paste.

Whole wheat bread is best for this filling.

Cream Cheese and Olive Sandwiches.

Rub a Philadelphia cream cheese to a paste with two tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise dressing. Add one-third as much chopped olives, and beat all light. This filling is especially nice when spread upon round slices of Boston brown bread.

Lettuce Sandwiches.

Slice white bread thin, when you have cut off the crust and buttered the cut end of the loaf. Lay in between every two slices a leaf of crisp lettuce, dipped in mayonnaise dressing.

If you take these to the picnic, let it be in sections. Butter and pack the bread at home, take the lettuce in one box, the dressing in another, and put them together on the grounds.

Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches.

Prepare as in the last recipe, adding to the lettuce leaf a slice of raw and peeled tomato.

Pressed Loaf Sandwiches.

A new and appetizing pressed sandwich may be made by removing the crusts from a loaf of bread, either brown or white, and cutting it in four equal-sized pieces. Spread each slice thickly with butter, red peppers sliced in lengthwise strips and plenty of cream or Neufchatel cheese. Now reshape the loaf by putting the slices together again. Wrap in a heavy dry towel, then in a wet one and put between two boards, on which three or four heavy flatirons are placed. Let the loaf remain weighted from six to ten hours; this will compress it into a sold mass three or four inches high, which may be sliced like cake. To pack, wrap whole in waxed paper and cut at the picnic.

Family Meals for a Week
Housemothers’ Exchange

The Neighborhood Picnic

This is the final article in May of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on May 28, 1905, and is a continuation of the previous week’s talk on the picnic. In this article, Marion Harland discusses the joy that can be found in the group or neighbourhood picnic.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the The Buffalo Sunday Morning News.

The Neighborhood Picnic

How to Make It a Real Pleasure for Everybody Concerned

A MONSTER picnic run by contract is a social enormity. He builded better than he knew who characterized such as a “pleasure exertion.” Even the average child has ceased to regard the Sunday or day school picnic as a delight.

Huddled in hot cars, packed sardinewise in steam transports, disgorged upon rents grounds, worn bare of turf by former hordes and sparsely shaded by spiritless trees, the revelers are turned loose to frolic and to feed for a given number of hours. When the time is up they are corralled like driven, dirty, discontented cattle and deposited by bedtime at dock or depot, having achieved one more travesty that is peculiarly United Statesian.

A New England Picnic.

But an al fresco pleasure-taking on the part of a dozen or more congenial families or a company of nice, neighborly young people, properly chaperoned, is one of the least conventional and altogether agreeable forms of summer entertainment.

It was my fortune, several years ago, to spend a summer in one of the loveliest of New England towns, where the private picnic was a favorite means of dispensing and receiving hospitality. A description of one of these veritable pleasure excursions will convey my meaning more truly then a list of formal instructions could.

The young people, numbering sometimes twenty-five, sometimes forty, assembled at the house of her who gave the function. If the designated pleasure ground were to be reached by land, carriages were at the door to convey the party. Those who owned private carriages brought them; perhaps half a dozen would be on horseback; the rest were accommodated in vehicles furnished by the hostess. One wagon contained the collation.

Plenty of Good Cheer.

This particular town was fortunate as to have within easy walking distance, and also accessibly by trolley cars, a chain of lakelets leading up into the hills; “ponds,” the country folk called them. They furnished water power for flourishing mills. They were the popular resort of lovers of boating and swimming. “Water picnics” were the order of the day in the summer I speak of. The young men wore flannel yachting suits; the girls, white waists and blue serge skirts, or waists and skirts of white duck or colored linen. Anything like display in costume would have been reckoned vulgar and out of taste. The chaperon and two or three couples went in the first boat; the provisions, under the care of a trusty domestic, followed in the wake of a convivial fleet. The amateur musicians were near the middle of the line, with guitar, banjo, violin and flute. When we cleared the town the music began—part songs, glees, rollicking boating ballads following one another. Everybody sang, whether or not voice or ear were good. Four o’clock was the hour of meeting. By 5 we disembarked at one of the many attractive landing places bordering the upper lake. The wood was full of wild flowers, sand violets rioting upon the slopes, ferns fringing the shore and towering into beds of bracken in the edge of the grove. A committee of flower lovers sallied forth in quest of decorations for the sylvan feast. Another and a smaller deputation remained behind to lay the cloth and spread the table. A level expanse of sward was selected, and the damask was secured against vagrant gusts by laying heavy stones at the corners. One hamper contained napery and table furniture. This consisted of wooden plates, bowls and dishes, bought for a few cents a piece; stout glasses and stoneware pitchers, silver forks, knives and spoons. The napkins were of Japanese paper. Sometimes several girls joined hands in providing refreshments, one bringing nothing but sandwiches, another providing cakes, and third iced tea and coffee, a fourth salads, and all “clubbing in” on the ice cream.

This last was the most cumbrous article in the van or boat, packed down in a freezer, surrounded by salt and ice. Salad dressing, French or mayonnaise, came in a wide-mouthed jar, closely corked; lettuce was washed and picked over at home, wrapped in a damp napkin and laid lightly in a basket, bits of ice scattered among the leaves preserving their crispness. Each sandwich was enveloped in paraffine paper, such as lines cracker boxes; hard-boiled eggs, stuffed and deviled eggs were done up separately in tissue papers frilled at the ends. Cold tea and coffee came in quart bottles, set closely in a round basket about a lump of ice, wrapped first in canton flannel, then in oilcloth.

Only One Break.

Chicken or celery or any other salad that would toughen or wilt if left long in the dressing was packed, unseasoned, in a bowl, covered closely and dressed just before it was eaten.

Cushions, taken from boats or from carriages, if we had come by land, were laid around the cloth upon rugs, which protected flannels and duck from grass stains or earth damps.

Lastly, the floral treasures collected by the decorating committee were disposed tastefully between dishes, pitchers and bowls, and the material part of the feast began, to the accompaniment of much jesting and more laughter.

I recall with sincere satisfaction that in all the eight or ten picnics it was my happiness to attend that golden summer I witnessed but one incident that could be construed into rudeness or undue license of speech or act.

A young collegian, with more spirits than wit, had brought, of his own motion, a huge bag of dates, and, producing it after all were seated about the tastefully decorated table, scattered the contents broadcast over the array, splashing into glasses, dotting salads and sandwiches and shocking the company into the momentary silence.

Then the clear, girlish voice of the hostess was heard: “Mr. B—has evidently made a specialty of chronological tables in the university. I am afraid most of us are too unlearned to appreciate them!”

A Dance on the Turf.

By the time the supper was over the sun war near the setting. Tablecloth and napkins, glass, crockery and silver were returned to the hampers and a camp fire was kindled, with plates and dishes as a foundation. We sat in a ring about it, singing, chatting and story-telling, until the flames sank into embers. These were extinguished carefully before we set out for home.

Sometimes there was an impromptu dance upon the turf in genuine fairy fashion. Always we carried away with us lighter hearts and healthier bodies for the innocent diversion of the summer afternoon.

Recipes for the preparation of some picnic viands will be found in the recipe column.

Marion Harland

The Housemothers’ Exchange
Picnic Recipes
Porch Furniture

A Family Basket Picnic

This is the third article in May of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on May 21, 1905, and is an article on the picnic.

Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the The Buffalo Sunday Morning News.

A Family Basket Picnic

“Oh! that we two were Maying
Down the stream of the soft spring breeze!
Like children with violets playing
In the shade of the whispering trees.”

SO SINGS the English poet, with the scent of the hawthorn hedges in his imagination—the stifling, roaring town oppressing his senses.

The perpetual miracle of springtime awakens in people who talk, write and live prose, unuttered longings for country sounds, country sights and country smells. As a nation we Americans are just learning to spell vacation, after the Squeersian fashion. And when we, too, “know this our of book, we go and do it”—or we think we do. To nine hundred and ninety-seven out of every thousand, “Vacation” means a dead stop in the routine of our daily living, for one, two or four weeks in the hottest season of the year, and “going somewhere.” If that daily living be very plain as to externals and monotonous as to mental exercises, the “outing” is probably to the gayest “resort” of which the pleasure-seeker has any knowledge. There he or she tarries, an unconsidered looker-on, as long as the money allotted for leisure holds out. Then—back into harness for another eleven months and a half!

We take ourselves and all connected with us too seriously. We set for ourselves tasks too long and too heavy. Our Teutonic, Gallic and Latin immigrants could give us profitable lessons in the art of taking duty in broken doses, and diversifying by breathing spells the long pulls, the strong pulls and the pulls all together for which we are noted.

A Holiday Each Month.

I think sometimes that Benjamin Franklin was the truest exponent of the typical American spirit our country has yet produced. He took to the strenuous life early. His proposed grace over the whole barrel is a representative anecdote. We compress our merrymaking into tabloids and swallow them periodically. May invites and June wooes in vain. Vacation, as a business, has its season. Rich people can take liberties with rules, and play when the humor seizes them. Men and women who have their living to make cannot intermit the grind.

That a holiday once a month, even if it be classed with uncovenanted mercies, would make the grind easier, and brace the back to carry the burden jauntily, does not enter into the working man’s calculations. A Sunday off, now and then, he may indulge in, if he be a non-churchgoer. Otherwise, he stands in his lot—i.e., in the groove of the grind. “Holidays are too costly for poor folks.” As a people we know not of cheap pleasure-taking.

To such sober-minded citizens the family picnic may not commend itself, unless they are caught young by the attractions of what I shall try, to the best of my humble ability, to set before flat-dweller and cottager as a delight within the reach of the poor in purse and reasonable in desire.

Saturday is the most approved day for family excursions, if the occasion has been foreseen and provided for. If the father be his own master, he can pack and accommodate work to leave part of the day free. The mother can do the same. The hardest student among the children has what the much-courted fopling in “Patience” stipulated for—“the usual half-holiday.”

An Unconventional Family.

Throwing American traditions to the winds, and forgetting. Poor Richard for six hours, set we forth with the unconventional family after a 12 o’clock luncheon, for the actual country by the shortest route. Each of the party, the west tot not excepted, has a basket or a paper box. The eldest boy or biggest girl has also a shawl strap, the purport of which will be discovered by and by. The destination of the happy crew, decided upon weeks ago, is a secluded grove or shady meadow so near town that little time is lost in reaching it. There must be grass, and wild flowers grow in the grass’ trees and birds and squirrels haunt the branches. Water within easy distance is an absolute necessity. Whatever else was left at home, be sure a box of fish-hooks and a coil of twine form a part of each boy’s outfit. If an unwary shiner or a brainless perch reward three hours’ patient fishing, it will be eviscerated, stuck on a stick and crisped in the smoke of the camp-fire kindled upon the edge of the picnic grounds.

Mamma has brought the magazine she had no time to read at home. The shawl is taken from the strap and spread upon the softest turf where a treebole will support her back; papa stretches his lazy length of limb upon the ground near her, and, his head supported by his crossed arms, looks up through green boughs at the blue sky and thinks (consciously) of nothing.

Wholesome Enjoyment.

Reflect for a moment what it is for an American-born business man to think of nothing, with the open heavens above him, sweet airs wandering over him, the chirp of free birds and the laughter of his joyous children in his ear! He is not making money for that hour, but he is laying in health and happiness, with a store of pleasant memories for the busy weeks beyond the half holiday.

The children spread the cloth, which was the nucleus of the strapped bundle. Supervised by the mother, they unpack and arrange upon the cloth the contents of boxes and baskets—sandwiches, cakes, hard-boiled eggs, fruit and bonbons, chatting like magpies as they bustle over the pleasing task. There are bottles of milk and lemonade, and for the parents, ginger ale, all cooled in the shadiest part of the brook, or in the spring.

A little later in the season there will be berries and gayer wild flowers than the “Innocents,” anemones and wood violets, withering in the hot and grimy little hands that bear them homeward as the sun touches the tops of the trees. And yet later, nuts in hedge-row and wood, and wild apples to be had for the climbing and picking, and

“On the hill the golden rod,
And the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sunflower by the brook.”

Always there will be wholesome enjoyment, the simple delights—exquisite as simple—of face-to-face communion with nature. The blessed old mother takes young and old lovingly to her bosom; now, as in the very oldest days of myth and parable, we, too, arise refreshed from contact with her teeming heart—the same now and for all time.

Our next talk will be upon THE NEIGHBORHOOD PICNIC, with directions for the conduct of the same, including recipes for portable delicacies.

Marion Harland

Domestic Affairs Discussed by Housewives
Menus and Recipes Sent by Western Contributor

The Sensible Family Picnic

AS A preface to our familiar talk of today we will dismiss incontinently all thought of the public picnic, heralded by flaming placards, or by pulpit notices, and accompanied by national and society fags. Young eyes glisten gleefully in the prospect; graver and older folk groan in anticipation, and sigh in relief at the memory thereof. We did not mind “roughing it a bit” when we were young. In fact, there was a relishful spice of the unusual and the forbidden in the al fresco frolic that lasted all day and set at naught all the conventionalities of Sunday clothes and table manners associated with other and indoor convivialities. An old ballad sung in our grandmothers’ day invited one to “take tea in the arbour”-

With roses and posies to scent up your noses;
and lilies and billies and daffydownlillies.

The charmed visitors sough the arbour eagerly and saw the other side of the situation. Among other drawbacks to the pastoral,

A big daddy longlegs fell plump in my cup; the summer house floor was damp and the revellers caught cold, etc. When I was forty years younger, I laughed with others of the party when a New Jersey farmer from whom we had received permission to picnic on the banks of a purling stream flowing through his meadow, appeared as we were unpacking our baskets, with-


“I say, why don’t you young folks bring all them victuals up to my house and eat them in the dining room, like Christians, where there’s no flies, and where you can set on comfortable chairs and eat out of plates? My old woman seen you from the winder, and how uncomfortable you all was, a sprawling on the damp grass, and sent me down to ask you up to the house. It shan’t cost you a cent.“
We declined civilly and gratefully, and waited until he was out of hearing before we had our laugh out.
I reminded a surviving member of the merry party the other day of the incident.
“How odd it seems now,” she said, reflexively, “to think that you and I ever enjoyed sitting on the ground and eating our luncheon out of pasteboard boxes!”
That summed up what the picnic is to her sophisticated self. I confess secretly i pack the boxes that are to thrill the soul of grandchildren with pure delight, when, in the hottest of the solstitial noontide, they will devour sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs and innumerable cookies in the woods, seated upon stumps and hummocks, spending eight hours in the open air and coming home at evening hungry as hunters, and so tired that they fall asleep as soon as their heads touch the pillows. It is weeks before the tan fades from their cheeks. The glamour of the innocent festa never leaves the memory.
For these and for sundry other reasons- all good and sufficient- I advise the family picnic to dwells in town and country. Get out of the rut at least two or three times while the prodigal summer is abroad upon he earth; set convention at defiance; forget for a few hours the claims of business, forego the attractions of cut-and-dried “functions” in the shape of indoor luncheons, dine and reception, and get at one with Mother Nature.
If the mother of the household does not “feel like going,” insist that she shall be the honoured guest of the day, the one for whom the festival is given. If there are daughters in the family, let them assume the major part of the preparations for luncheon. Do you, our loving and dutiful juniors, dream of the steady strain, the unceasing stress that housekeeping all the year round is to the faithful head of your home? When one and another remarks hastily that “mother’s appetite is falling,” and from the farther down to the youngling of the flock each taxes is invention to suggest and to pro side some delicacy that may tempt it- ices it occur to one of you that her malady may be “kitchenitis”?
By the coined word I would describe the listlessness that befalls appreciation of tempting foods when one knows, for twelve months at a time, exactly what is to be served three times a day; how it will look and taste- and smell! Give the mother a respite for one little day and let her find the lost relish for her daily fare in the out-of-door world. I am putting the girls in her place in the surprise-party that is her holiday.


Are associated in the mind with picnics as firmly as sugar and cream with tea and coffee.
Cut the bread thin and either round, triangular or oblong- never square. Trim off the crusts; spread evenly with warmed butter, ad fill neatly. The filling should never project beyond the trimmed edges of the bread.

Some Fillings

1. Mince olives fine and work into cream cheese until you have a smooth paste freckled with green. Salt slightly.
2. Prepare as just directed, adding to the paste finely minced pecan-nut kernels.
3. After buttering the bread, spread rather thickly with cream cheese, and lay between the slices thus prepared a crisp leaf of lettuce dipped in French dressing. Wrap these sandwiches in tissue paper.
4. Mince cold veal or chicken, season tot sate with salt and paprika; butter the bread; cover with this mixture and lap crisp lettuce dipped in mayonnaise dressing between the filled slices.
5. Skin sardines; take out the backbone and rub the fish to a paste, adding butter and a little lemon juice. You may, if you like, add a dash of paprika. Spread between skies of bettered bread.
6. Pound the yolks of hard-boiled eggs to a powder. Rub to a paste with better, paprika and a dash of French mustard. Mince the whites of the boiled eggs as fine as possible and blend with the yolk paste. Butter thin skies of whole wheat or of graham bread and fill with this mixture.
Pack each variety of sandwich in a box of its own. Save candy boxes for this purpose. Line them with tissue paper and fold it over the contents.


Tin biscuit-boxes lined with the oiled paper that comes in candy boxes are useful for holding salads. Or you may line pasteboard cases and other green stuffs in lightly, and take e mixed dressing along in wide-mouthed bottles or in small fruit jars.
A fruit salad will be popular on a hot day. Peel and strip the white skin from the pulp of four or five oranges; separate the lobs gingerly, not tearing them, and cut each into four pieces with a sharp silver knife. Have at hand a cupful of the kernels of English walnuts which have been scalded, then left to get cold and crisp before they are cut into bits. (While they are hot, strip off the bitter skin.) Mix with the fruit and put into a glass jar with a tight top. Take along mayonnaise dressing for this.
A welcome item in the preparation for a picnic is ice. Cut a piece that will fit easily into a stout basket; wrap in canton flannel and then in several folds of newspaper. Wrap and bind tightly to exclude the air.
Finally, the oilcloth about the parcel and put into the basket. Cover all with stout paper and fit the cover upon the basket. Ice thus protected will keep eight or ten hours if the basket be not exposed to the sun. Commission a strong-armed boy to carry this, and should the journey be made by train or carriage, tuck the basket under the seat.
It is better to distribute the eatables among the party, arranged in parcels of in baskets of convenient size, than to pack all into one big hamper. If mother cannot enjoy her midday meal without her “Comfortable cup of tea,” she need not go without it. Hot-scalding hot-tea may be kept at the same temperature all day in the modern and invaluable vacuum bottle. It is not an expensive luxury and beyond price to traveler and excursionist. Hot soups, bouillon and broths may be secured at any hour of the day or night by the ingenious contrivance, and hot tea and coffee- freshly made before bottling, poured into the bottle and instantly corked and shut up in the airtight cover- will lose neither heat nor flavour in twelve hours.
Mother need not fear lest the excursion may deprive her of her tonic beverage. In a special basket may be stored tea, sugar and cream with her very own cup and saucer.
Lemonade may be made on the ground and drunk out of paper cup packed with wooden plates, paper napkins and centrepiece. It is a convenience, but not a necessity, to have also a tablecloth. But linen is heavy and one can do without other napery than what I have named. Pack the Japanese napkins in the lemonade pitcher, and in other ways economize every inch of space. A dress-suit case or two-or three-may be utilized to great advantage by our family of picnickers. They are roomy and light and attract no attention on train of trolley. Bestow your eatables at discretion within them, and let each boy assume the charge of one.
Wooden plates and paper napkins may be burned on the ground when they have served their purpose. And the suitcases may be utilized on the return trip as repositories for woodland treasures- odd fungi, roots and blossoms, oak-galls and mosses and last year’s bird rests.
Above all and before all and through all the outing maintain an cheerful spirit. Make the best of misadventures and turn disasters into jests. The perversion of the title of the frolic into “pleasure exertion” is a stale joke. It contains a biting satire upon the way some people take their pleasure. Perhaps five out of ten know how to enjoy a holiday- as such. See to it that your family outing is genuine recreation. The corn roast, games- in fact, anything to make the picnic a success is suggested. To this end don’t make a toil of what should be a delight.

Marion Harland