Saturday, July 23, 2016

What's In Your Picnic Basket?

photo courtesy google images
"For a slightly different approach, or for a Victorian picnic, you might refer to Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, in which she lists 'Things not to be forgotten at a picnic.' Our idea of essentials is somewhat different from Mrs. Beeton's in 1859..." --DeeDee Stovel, Picnics with 29 Seasonal Menus (Story Books 2001)

When perusing Ms. Stovel's cookbook recently--one of many cookbooks on my shelf that have in the past few years only gathered dust (!)--I came across this gem of the past. Ms. Stovel continues to quote old-time Mrs. Beeton:

"A stick of horseradish, a bottle of mint-sauce well corked, a bottle of salad dressing, a bottle of vinegar, made mustard, pepper, salt, good oil, and pounded sugar. If it can be managed, take a little ice. It is scarcely necessary to say that plates, tumblers, wine-glasses, knives, forks, and spoons must not be forgotten; as also teacups and saucers, 3 or 4 teapots, some lump sugar, and milk, if this last-named article cannot be obtained in the neighborhood. Take 3 corkscrews."

Ah, glimpses of life in the past. Interesting selection, wouldn't you say? A stick of horseradish? Mint-sauce? Where are the strawberries and watermelon? The potato salad and baked beans? Maybe some chocolate chip cookies?

All on paper plates of course.

So this glimpse into the past begs the question: what's in your picnic basket? How many teapots do you pack? And how many corkscrews?

Hope you're enjoying the summer. It sure is flying by fast!


  1. So your cookbooks collect dust too? I suppose we could say that it's a way to cut calories, or something like that. :) Although I won't pack a corkscrew, I will pack chocolate chip cookies for sure. Have a great weekend!

  2. Karen--So we have more in common than writing, don't we--cookbooks that haven't seen the light of day in forever! Glad to know I'm not alone in that :-) Happy weekend back to you. And to think, the last one in July. How did we get here so fast?

  3. I suspect picnics were a different kind of event in those days. Ours tend to be a quick decision on a nice day -- food either whatever's in the fridge or what we can buy through somebody's drive-through. (Chocolate chip cookies are welcome in either case!)

  4. Sorry I didn't get back with you before this, Peggy, but we were out of town the last few days and I was away from the computer. Thanks for your comment. And yes, we picnicked, but no--no chocolate chip cookies. But only because the ones we packed for the trip all got eaten the very first day!