Women and their Work


Any autumn evening is an ideal time for the camp-fire supper, and All Hallows Eve offers many opportunities for picnics.

MARJORIE E. WILKINS October 15 1926
Women and their Work


Any autumn evening is an ideal time for the camp-fire supper, and All Hallows Eve offers many opportunities for picnics.

MARJORIE E. WILKINS October 15 1926



Any autumn evening is an ideal time for the camp-fire supper, and All Hallows Eve offers many opportunities for picnics.

IN ANCIENT days, particularly among the Druids, the making of bonfires, or bone-fire as they used to be called, was a very important function. Right up to the middle ages, men and maidens danced around or leaped over bonfires on special occasions, one of the important ones being the Eve of All Hallows. So we come by our love of a fire quite naturally, and our modern Hallowe’en is but an echo of an ancient custom, originally designed to ward off ghosts and witches and other “hants.”

Because so many fires are built at this season, a word may be said about the necessary precautions which should be taken, especially when fires are made in the vicinity of buildings, where spreading might cause much harm.

To make a good fireplace requires a little time and skill, but the results are worth it. If possible, three large stones should be secured and placed together

U-shape. The fire is laid in the middle of these. Green boughs or saplings, or, better still, metal rods may be placed across the fireplace, on which to hang the kettles or the billie. Your frying pan will fit across two of these, and if the handle is turned to the side it need not become so hot.

If an open fire is used, it is well to always clear away dry leaves and grass from the site, as fires spread rapidly in the fall. For this reason, too, it is well to choose some place near a lake or stream, so that you have plenty of water nearby. Gather sufficient kindling and a supply of heavier wood before starting the fire, so that everyone may enjoy it without having to go after more wood, continually. The fire is at its best for cooking as the embers start to form.

If the picnic is planned for adults only moonlight-time may be chosen on a site famous for its wood and water supply,

and, if possible, one about which there are a few good Hallowe’en legends.

However, it must not be thought that a picnic in the fall is not enjoyed at any other time than Hallowe’en. The stiff tang of autumn and the slow fall of scurrying leaves make the fall a perfect time for a jolly frolic. There’s no better way to finish either a long or short hike, and it’s the direct means of carrying the holiday spirit on into the colder months.

What Shall the Menu Be?

CORN and weiners are well known provender for a hungry autumn crowd, but it is rather more fun to have something else for a change. Take a good steak—and, by the way, if you can get your butcher to cut off a good flank skirt steak, it will be more tender and delicious for out-of-door cooking than anything else. Mushrooms are splendid; if one can get them. If not, use onions and fry them with the steak. Place the steak on a slice of bread, toasted brown with just the right tinge of wood smoke, top the whole with fried mushrooms or onions, and the very gods might envy your feast.

Of course you want something to drink. Tea tastes best out of doors, although the fragrant aroma of coffee is very appetizing. To make the best camp-fire tea, boil up sufficient water in your billie, toss in sufficient tea, and remove the billie from the fire just as soon as the bubbles form again. If the tea leaves are scooped off the top, the beverage is good for hours. Milk and sugar may be added to the whole, but it is a better plan to put the sugar in afterwards, as many dislike it and the drink is more thirst quenching unsweetened. Klim or condensed whole milk are splendid for such occasions.

If you have an open fire-place it is a good plan to scrub up some potatoes, and bury them in the hot embers, below the fire, to bake. With butter, which should be cubed before leaving home, pepper and a little salt, there is no need to envy the Irish.

Then there is dessert. Not that it is absolutely necessary, but when the air is snappy and the smoke lends its delicious savor, a few toasted marshmallows or chestnuts might be welcome. If it is Hallowe’en and one wishes to have all the good things dedicated to that occasion, individual pumpkin pies are just the thing.

Of course the corn and weiners must not be neglected. They have held an undisputed sway too long for that. The weiners are not much trouble, for they may be bought ready for toasting over the fire, and the rolls require no preparation. Mustard may be purchased in a convenient jar ready for serving. The corn does require a bit more effort. It should be soft and ripe. The ears may be peeled by the fireside while a large kettle of water is being boiled, the cobs being thrown into the boiling water and kept boiling until tender. The salt is dashed in at the last minute. A very good plan is to have the butter cut up into half-inch cubes which are tied up in small cheesecloth squares. This insures some butter on your corn even though the moon is not high and the firelight flickering, because the gauze gives you something to hold.

Something Different

AFTER you have had several picnics, with corn or weiners or steak for sustenance, you may fancy a change. Certainly picnics cannot stop while the smoky, crisp, warm days of Indian summer last! Then vary the menu by using ham or bacon and eggs! The bacon smells good, and it is easy to cook, with the eggs merrily sizzling and sputtering in the dripping. Some members of the party may make toast while others fry the eggs and bacon. Serve a couple of slices of bacon, deliciously crisped, on a large piece of toast, and place an egg on top. Too much cutlery mars real picnicking.

If you are sure of passing a farm while motoring out, just ’phone ahead for a chicken, leaving instructions to have it cleaned and dissected. Call for it on your way and, at camp, fry it in butter or crisco, in your frying pan, and serve with corn muffins or bread toasted over the fire. Pepper and salt are the only condiments required, and nothing could taste much better.

This method is splendid for duck, partridge or other game, should good fortune put you in touch with some

hunting. A venison steak grilled over glowing embers, or fried in the old reliable frying pan, is the piece de resistance for the woodsman.

For the Children

A PICNIC for the younger members might well be celebrated by every family on the afternoon of All Hallows, as well as on any Saturday holiday afternoon. The kiddies will love it, and Dad will have a splendid opportunity to show them all he knows about how a fire should be built. Such occasions are the best times for teaching out-door lore, and it is difficult to say whether the youngsters or the parents enjoy it most.

Pick the location with care, explaining just why you want to be near a reliable spring and why you use large stones for the hearth, ^hildren love to know the reason why, and they’ll not forget anything quickly if once it is explained to them. Take them to gather the wood which will kindle easiest, and the heavier stuff which will provide the best embers.

For a children’s picnic, weiners are the simplest thing to cook, and they really are quite a safe, healthy thing for youngsters to eat. Each child may toast his own sausage, when he has found a suitable willow for a fork. Unless milk is brought, tea should be made in a billie strung over the fire, in order to point out the import-

ance of boiling all water which may be the least bit questionable.

If it’s Hallowe’en the children will not be satisfied without their apples. Candy them on the spot, by bringing a supply of sugar to make the syrup. If this is boiled until the bubbles break, the process is simple. The billie may be used after the tea is finished. Thrust the weiner-willows into the core of each apple and then dip in the syrup. A few minutes will suffice to cool them, and each child may hold his own. Very good fudge may be made in the billie over the camp-fire, by mixing two cups of brown sugar with two tablespoons of klim and a tablespoon of cocoa. Add to this half a cup of water and boil till the bubbles break. Pour out to cool.

A Brigand’s Dish

LAST, but by far from the least, youth i and age will want a real outdoor picnic, and for this they should have “Brigand Steak.” For Brigand Steak, select good strong willows, some steak half an inch thick, and some whole small onions. Weave your long thin slice of steak onto the willow, with here and there an onion strung between each fold of steak. Grill the whole by slowly turning over the fire, taking care to sear the outside first to keep the juices in. The steak should be accompanied by scones or bannocks baked on the hearth-stones.