Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring & Picnics Are Around the Corner

I'm fairly sure spring is around the corner, or at least I hope so because I am mighty tired of cold weather. To go along with my warm weather thinking I found some neat picnic tips from the Watkins Household Hints book from 1941. It's interesting how different picnic food was during that time. We take the kids out to Lake Michigan quite a bit in the summer, and I've found that the small bags of charcoal that already have lighter fluid included are great for picnics. We usually have burgers or hot dogs, chips, soda, fruit or we stop for ice cream. We've found for a quick picnic it's better to keep it simple. The tips below are more like what I've done when we go camping for a weekend.

1. Select a picnic site in advance, with woods enough for shade, a level open space for games and sports, dry ground that is well drained, good drinking water, and, if possible, near a shelter in case of rain.

2. Plan a simple, easily prepared menu, make a list of each item of equipment needed, containers for carrying food, tablespoons for serving, a sharp knife, long handled fork and spoon, a long handled frying pan, wire grill, pan holders, toasting fork, matches, can and bottle opener. Have plenty of paper plates, paper cups, paper napkins and pasteboard "silverware".

Vacuum bottles are indispensable for carrying hot or cold drinks. Vacuum food jars will carry chilled salads and hot vegetables as if served from the home kitchen. A roaster is excellent to carry a ham or meat loaf. Pack all spillable food in tightly sealed containers.

3. Build the picnic fire between two stones to balance a grate. Have the fire low, a mass of red embers, and use a wire or oven rack. Have the camp fire some distance from the lunch table in order not to be disturbed by the smoke. Rub yellow soap on the outside of the coffee pot and kettles before placing over the fire. This will make cleaning easier.

4. Picnic meals may be prepared at home or the meal may be cooked over a camp fire. Or make the sandwiches at home, wrapped in waxed paper, then in a damp cloth, then in a dry one. Just before serving, use a long handled fork and toast the sandwiches over a bed of coals.

On OFL we have a wonderful feature on edible dandelions:

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