A LOT of this summer’s outdoor living is going to be staged right in our own back yards, and already early birds are prettying up their gardens for the sweltering days just around the corner.
It’s a wise woman who’ll persuade her family to make the 24th of May a family Arbor Day, getting all hands on deck to rake and gather up leaves, work on flower and vegetable beds, haul out summer furniture and perhaps use a paint brush on it, wield a hammer if the trellis needs straightening and do any odd jobs she can think up. With many helping hands, work becomes fun, and even the little tots will be anxious for a job.
And, when day is done, everybody will have had a good time and a lot will have been accomplished toward creating a beauty spot where the family will gather, in mercury-soaring days, for relaxation and outdoor eating.
This strenuous exercise in the open calls for hearty food served picnicstyle, for isn’t the 24th the traditional opening day of the picnicking season? Here are some picnic possibilities:
Mugs of Tomato Soup Hamburgers in Split Hot Rolls Mustard, Carrot Sticks and Dill Pickles Chocolate Layer Cake (with date or raisin filling and fluffy frosting)
Coffee, Tea or Cocoa
Scrambled Egg and Onion Sandwiches Pickles, Celery, Radishes Rhubarb Pielets Coffee or Tea
With a pitcher of rhubarb juice and ginger ale served as refreshment midway in the afternoon, either of these good meals will fill the bill—and the Arbor Day workers!
For the Fishermen
If yours is a fishing family the lure of the rod is almost irresistible on a holiday. Whether your paraphernalia is a sportsman’s dream or just a stout string and a bent pin dangling from a sapling, the 24th of May is likely to find you off, practically at the crack of dawn, for a day’s fishing.
The optimism and enthusiasm of the man of the house as he remembers the big fish hè caught last year and the indescribable flavor of a speckled trout “out of the brook into the frying pan” raise mouth-watering hopes of a fish fry over an open fire. But fish have been known not to bite, so, on the quiet, smuggle into the hamper a substantial substitute for the wily trout—just in case!
Fried Fish—if you’re lucky
(Dipped in seasoned flour and fried in bacon or sausage drippings) Potatoes
(Baked in the coals, or boiled at home ready for pan-frying)
Radishes, Celery, Green Onions Cupcakes with Fruit Filling (Drop a spoonful of batter into each muffin tin, then add half a tablespoonful of drained tangy fruit, such as cherries or plums, cover with more batter and bake. Easy to carry and a good follow-upper after fish)
As an alternative for the fish take along eggs to scramble or a can of pork and beans to pep up with mustard and brown sugar and reheat. Or canned meat roll to slice and fry.
Hiking and biking plans for the 24th or any other holiday are sadly shattered if the heavens open for an all-day downpour. But don’t let the weather squelch your holiday spirits.
Forget the might-have-beens and concentrate on putting across a lively rainy-weather picnic in the kitchen, recreation room or sun porch. A good game, with a little exercise to it, will take your minds off the weather, and here’s one productive of a lot of merriment:
Give each person about 20 matches, pebbles or rice grains and a strong string about two yards long, with a fair-sized cork tied securely on one end. On the floor place a pot or kettle (one with a lid) and have one player kneel down beside it, lid in one hand, a pair of dice in the other. Gather the rest of the players around in a circle and have them cast in their corks. The kneeling player then rolls the dice and when either seven or eleven turns up he
pops on the lid as fast as he can while the “fishermen” try to pull out their corks before the lid goes down. Those whose corks are caught pay the catcher a forfeit from their “banks.” There’s a fine for pulling out a cork when any other combination of numbers turns up. Everyone takes turns in rolling the dice, five throws each.
Good picnic fare is enjoyed anywhere. Put the food on a card table when it’s time to eat and serve it every-man-for-himself fashion. Suppose you planned for sandwiches, hardcooked eggs, gherkins and relishes, to be followed by your favorite date loaf cake or fruit and doughnuts, you might add, since the day is cool and cloudy, hot tomato juice as a starter and top off with hot tea or coffee.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.