Women and the Home

Picnic Suppers

On crisp, cool evenings, with the tang of autumn in the air, there is no more delightful form of entertainment than the picnic supper round the open fire

HELEN G. CAMPBELL September 15 1930
Women and the Home

Picnic Suppers

On crisp, cool evenings, with the tang of autumn in the air, there is no more delightful form of entertainment than the picnic supper round the open fire

HELEN G. CAMPBELL September 15 1930

Picnic Suppers

HELEN G. CAMPBELL

Director of The Chatelaine Institute

On crisp, cool evenings, with the tang of autumn in the air, there is no more delightful form of entertainment than the picnic supper round the open fire

CRISP, cool evenings with the tang of autumn in the air. Warm, tawny colors everywhere, and the rich, spicy smells of the ripened crops. By these signs we know the season—that time of fulfillment when the earth has given of its promised wealth and our storehouses are filled with its bounty.

The harvest moon is full and round. It’s time for the Dest kind of picnic—the friendly gathering round a alazing fire in some open spot. So we’re off on a corn Doil or a weiner roast, or bacon bat, with our baskets full, our hearts light, and our appetites keen and becoming keener as we follow the long, white ribbon of road ;o our favorite picnic ground.

There’s corn in the hamper, plenty of it, or perhaps m array of weiners boiled for a few minutes and then cooled before packing. Or there may be bacon, beau;ifully striped and ready to crisp ind curl on the end of a longDandled fork or sizzle in a flat iron pan. Slices of bread, not too thin,

Dr crusty rolls with golden butter, are part of our picnic lunch. We have not forgotten the salt; it’s wise to take it in individual shakers or to prepare small packages, one for each guest. If it’s a corn boil, then there’s a big pot to hang, gipsy fashion, on an improvised crane. For w’einers or bacon there may be a number of toasting forks to hold them near the blaze without discomfort. Paper in its many forms is a picnic requisite, and we take along waxed paper cups and pHf”s; even forks and spoons of paper. Waxed paper, too, wraps our bread or sandwiches. Our serviettes, and perhaps our tablecloth if we’re very luxurious in our tastes, are of paper. And there are paper towels, too, to wipe our iDuttery fingers as we eat our corn.

Fire and Utensils

THE place for our fire is important. It must be a clear open space where there is no danger of setting grass or trees aflame, but with kindling and

heavier wood not too far away. It is sometimes advisable to bring along some of the firewood or a bag of charcoal, which can often be bought at very low cost. And don’t forget the matches and a few newspapers to light the fire. Charcoal is splendid for the purpose as it heats quickly and makes a bed of coals without smoke. Before starting the fire, build a shallow well of stones to serve as your fireplace. Do not make it too big, as a large fire is harder to handle, and unnecessary unless there is a large number of people. Even if that be the case, it is wiser to have two or three small fires than to crowd around one larger one. Begin the fire in good time and do not try to cook your food until a thick bed of coals is formed. Flames will blacken your pots and pans, smoke your food, and may burn your hands as you try to manipulate the utensils.

A strong wire rack may be laid across the stones to hold a kettle or frying pan, and a coffee pot. Your oven grate will be splendid for this purpose, or you may buy a grate with folding wire legs which may be planted in the ground. This is steady and strong enough to support considerable weight. With it, the stone fireplace may be unnecessary. Of course, if a fire is impossible, there are small alcohol or gasoline stoves which may be taken, but by all means have a fire if you can.

Utensils with long handles are best, as the open fire w'ill get very hot. In deciding what to take, think of the food to be cooked and the number of people to be served, remembering what the woody odors and the keen, fresh air will do to the appetite.

Cooking in the Open Air

SOME of the food may be cooked at home and reheated over the fire. A hot tomato sauce is delicious for the campfire “hot dog,” and it may be brought in glass jars or thermos bottles. You may use your thermos bottle, too, for cocoa and coffee, though the fragrance of the gently bubbling coffee made over the coals adds "atmosphere” to the gipsy meal. If there are men in your party, you will be sure to have one who delights to prove his ability as an outdoor chef. Or, if there is a boy scout, let him do his good deed in this way and watch his efficiency. Not that they are necessary by an., means, for the present-day athletic girl is well versed in the ways of the open, and can build a fire and prepare a meal with anyone.

All sorts of food may be cooked out of doors over the glowing embers. Corn may be boiled or roasted. Golden Bantam is a favorite, and there are other varieties with delightful flavor. Allow ten to twenty minutes for boiling and serve it hot. Unless you can secure water which you know to be pure, it is worth while to bring a supply with you in a large, tightly covered vessel. For roasting, leave on the husks, and before putting to cook dip the whole ear in cold water. Lay it on a grate over the hot coals and turn frequently. The water which adheres to the corn after dipping, will make enough steam to cook the corn, and the finished product will be much juicier and more delicate in flavor.

Potatoes may also *be roasted. Put them in the ashes or in hot sand, under the fire, and give them plenty of time to cook slowly. Bacon is always delicious out of doors either in a sandwich or cooked on the spot. Place in a frying pan or on a broiler, or hold it over the heat on the end of a long fork or pointed stick. Try fish sometimes for your outdoor meal, but be sure it is well cooked. Cheese has a zestful flavor, and you can make sandwiches at home to be toasted over the fire on a broiler, or by holding them with a fork or a long, green stick. Toast rolls also in the same way, if you wish. Everyone likes steak, and it is possible to have it juicy and tender. Have it cut in pieces one inch thick and use your broiler over a hot bed of coals. And flapjacks! What a chance to prove yourself a true vagabond! You will acquire fame if you can flip them in the approved manner, and it’s worth the practice to acquire skill.

I On the cool evenings, heat beans in a j pot or put the cans in boiling water until they are hot. Bean soup is excellent; you can drink it out of small aluminum cups.

Fruits for Des»?rt

'"THEN for dessert there is fruit, of course. It can be easily carried and conveniently served. Peaches, grapes, apples, bananas and melons are delicious and just the right thing to finish the meal. Or you may "top off” with marshmallows, held by the long sticks over the heat for a few minutes until they soften and become delicately colored. The children will delight in popcorn. Take some to “pop” cheerily over the heat. A long-handled com popper can be purchased at a very low cost.

The most successful menu is one suited to the season, the weather, and the number of guests. It can be prepared easily in the time at your disposal and before your guests languish for want of food. Think of the picnic as a meal and plan for harmonizing or suitably contrasting flavors. Consider carefully the required utensils and pack everything necessary to avoid inconvenience and disappointment. Then, when the woods behind you make dark, deep shadows, and it is time to set out for home, burn your rubbish and put out your fire—completely.

If you have had a well-arranged menu, well-packed hampers, with adequate supplies, and have no qualms about the after-effects of your fire,

"You go away—but always to remember

The lure of lake and stream and forest deep,

The campfire’s cheerful glow and dying ember—

These are the treasured memories that you keep.”

Menus

Corn on the Cob (roasted or boiled) Tomato Sandwiches Apples Marshmallows

Coffee

Bacon Roasted Potatoes

Bread and Butter

Individual Celery and Cabbage Salads Peaches Raisins

Cocoa

Broiled Steak Onions

Small Whole Tomatoes Bread and Butter Grapes Apples

Coffee

Bean Soup

Brown Bread and Butter Jellied Vegetable Salad Cantaloupe Date Cookies

Cocoa

Weiners Gherkins

Crisp Rolls

Fruit Tarts Apples Marshmallows Coffee

Corn

Bread and Butter Crackers Cheese

Apples Doughnuts Popcorn Coffee

Baked Beans Brown Bread and Butter Whole Tomatoes Apple Pie Coffee

Corn Chowder Cheese Sandwiches Bananas

Gingerbread Popcorn

Coffee