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Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!


Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

1930: How to Be a Successful [November] Hostess

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

In honor of Thanksgiving week, and since many of you are probably entertaining friends or relatives in the coming days, I thought I’d bring you a bit of advice from a book I picked up while on summer vacation: How to be a Successful Hostess. Published in 1930 and written by Charlotte Clarke and Thelma B. Clarke, the book is subtitled “What every woman should know about entertaining and etiquette.” Still confused about what the the purpose of this book is? Never fear, it opens with a section titled just that (“The Purpose of This Book”):

"To be known as a brilliant entertainer is the sincere wish of each hostess. Beyond measure she covets the high opinion of her friends regarding her ability to carry on social activities in a competent and winning manner.

Always, everywhere, does she want to do the correct thing and say the correct word. She knows that there is a code of etiquette which must be followed; she knows, too, that she must be charming in personality, possess the ability to be pleasing and bright in conversation, and be so well informed as to how to provide entertainment for her guests that they will leave her home wishing the visit had not come to a close and gladly accepting her invitation to “come again.” She fully realizes the embarrassment and the loss of social prestige and standing which follow any incompetency on her part.

The art of entertaining successfully may be cultivated. The object of this volume is to aid the hostess in her endeavor to acquire this art. We have tried, in a clear and understandable way, to present the subjects contained herein so that they will be a source of reference that is at all times helpful and valuable to the woman who takes pride in being a successful hostess and entertainer. "

Chapters include “The Art of Conversation,” “Unexpected Callers,” and “Entertaining the Week-End Guest,” among others. A good chunk of the book (about 90 pages) is devoted to games you can play at your parties. Anyone for a rousing game of “Seeing Snakes” or “Twisted Names,” “Balancing Candy,” “Spearing for Peanuts,” or “Banana Diet”?

But I digress. This is Thanksgiving, after all, so what I meant to share with you are some hints about November parties, from a chapter titled “Menus for Special Occasions.”

"Many hostesses give a Thanksgiving Day Party in honor of those members of the family who have returned home for the holiday.

Mr. Turkey himself, the fellow who has been fed all summer so you might enjoy your Thanksgiving Day mean, is universally accepted as the best centerpiece for the table. If, however, the turkey is already carved, the hostess might substitute an attractive basket of fruit and candies, or flowers would be pleasing an affective.

Any number of favors are obtainable for the Thanksgiving Day meal and the hostess will have little trouble on this score. The place cards may be in the shape of a turkey or pumpkin.


Shrimp Cocktail
Stuffed Olives | Sweet Gherkins
Roast Vermont Turkey | Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potato
Asparagus Tips | Buttered Squash
Alligator Pear Salad
Pumpkin Pie
Hot Mince Pie
Fruits | Nuts | Raisins
Cheese | Toasted Crackers


Consommé Vermicelli
Queen Olives | Iced Celery
Roast Vermont Turkey
Cranberry Sauce
Giblet Gravy
Sweet Potato | Baked Potato
Cauliflower | Eggplant
Boston Lettuce, French Dressing
Banana Ice Cream | Tiny Cakes
Fruit | Nuts
Cheese | Crackers


Creamed Turkey on Toast
Green Pepper Sandwiches
Tiny Biscuits | Cheese
Mince Pie | Coffee


Fruit Cup
Chicken Cutlets | Potatoes Saratoga
Tomato Salad
Pumpkin Pie | Nuts
Tea "


The original owner of my book must not have been much of an entertainer herself ~ she was creative in other ways. The back of the book, meant for the jotting down of favorite recipes, is filled with silly nonsensical poetry. Perhaps an output of one of the games in the book? Or a woman who was pretending to jot down recipes so her family would think she cared, but was instead really writing poetry? That story sounds more entertaining to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!




Washing the Dishes

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

the large, greasy utensilsThis week’s selection is from a high school home economics book, but I don’t think I had to wait that long to learn how to do this fairly common childhood chore. My mom had me scraping and scrubbing dishes at a much younger age! For those of you still a bit clueless about this particular household task, here are some tips from How You Plan and Prepare Meals. It was written by experts Byrta Carson and MaRue Carson Ramee.

1962: Washing the Dishes

Preparing to Wash Dishes

Scrape and rinse the dishes that are especially soiled. Soak in cold water dishes that contained cereal, egg, or flour mixtures. Soak in hot water greasy dishes and those that were used for sugar mixtures.

If the pans or skillets are badly burned, fill them with water. Add a little baking soda, and boil them until clean.

Stack the dishes by putting similar things together. Place the glasses next to the sink since they should be washed first. Place the silverware next and then the china. Pots, pans, and other utensils should be last. Smaller and least-soiled cooking utensils should be placed so that they will be washed before the large, greasy utensils.

Washing the Dishes

1. Fill the sink or the dishpan half full with hot soapy water. The amount of soap or detergent that you should use depends upon the hardness of the water.

2. Put only a few dishes into the sink or the dishpan at one time.

3. Hold each dish in your left hand and the sponge or the dishcloth in your right hand as you wash dishes.

4. Rinse the dishes with plenty of very hot water. Glasses, cups, jars, and bottles should be rinsed inside and out. Plates, saucers, and so on, should be rinsed on both sides.

5. Place the dishes in the dish drainer at an angle at which they will drain best. For example, turn glasses and cups upside down after they have been scalded. Stand plates, saucers, and so on, at almost a right angle.

6. Dry the dishes with a clean dish towel, and put them in their proper places.

7. Hang up the dish towel neatly when you finish drying the dishes.

8. Pour the dishwater through a sink strainer unless you have a garbage disposal. Otherwise you may clog the sink.

9. Use soapy water to clean the sink, rubbing it hard. If the sink is especially dirty, use soda or a fine scouring powder. Use a bleach to remove stains.

10. Clean the table and the cabinet tops thoroughly, giving special attention to the edge of the table. Any food left on the table or in cracks is apt to attract insects.

Source: Carson, Byrta, and MaRue Carson Ramee. How You Plan and Prepare Meals. St. Louis, Mo.: Webster Division, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1962.
~ pp. 402-403 ~

Cooking for Two

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

the sky's the limitI swear that the color in this image is true to the original. Do you think I could adjust that brussel-sprout green? Never.

1965: Cooking for Two

THE HONEYMOON IS OVER; the die is cast. You and you only stand between your husband’s and your own starvation. Either you surrender to the can-opener method of cooking, to allow you more time at the beauty parlor, or you make up your mind to follow a more rewarding path. yum yum rice moldYou decide to learn to cook well, to experiment and master culinary techniques, and to set interesting and nourishing meals on an attractive table.

Feeding a husband successfully starts with feeding him the things he likes to eat, for a clever bride cooks to please her man. She goes out of her way to keep mealtimes pleasant and comfortable. She knows that experts say “happy mealtimes are as important to health as proper food.” And whether the meal is served informaIly in the kitchen, at the dining table by candlelight, or on trays in the living room with soft background music, the surroundings should be neat, the atmosphere one of relaxation, and there should be some special touch ~ a single flower floating in a glass saucer, a colorful napkin tied in a knot, a pretty china figurine ~ just to remind your husband how lucky he is to have “caught” you.

The menu itself should be thought out in advance to provide essetial nutrients, contrasting colors and textures, and the same element should not be repeated in two or more courses of the same meal. If the meat has a sauce with cream in it, the soup will not contain cream, neither will the dessert. If the soup contains sliced tomatoes, you will not serve broiled tomatoes with the meat or slided tomatoes with salad.

The wise young homemaker will use a touch of color on the serving plate ~ a sprig of parsley or water cress, a dash of paprika, a lemon slice, or a radish rose ~ to make the dish attractive. Varying shades of green add interest to a salad.

Beyond these common-sense rules, the sky’s the limit. . . .

Brussel Sprouts in Cranberry Rice Ring

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
5 cups hot cooked rice (1 1/4 cups raw)

1. Cook cranberries with sugar and boiling water in covered saucepan for about 5 minutes, or until cranberries pop.
2. Mix cranberries and rice and pack into a greased 8-inch mold, pressing firmly. Let stand for 5 minutes, then unmold ring onto serving platter.
3. Fill center with Buttered Brussels Sprouts as in photograph.

Buttered Brussel Sprouts

4 packages (10-oz. each) frozen California Brussel sprouts
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook Brussel sprouts according to package directions. Drain, toss lightly with butter and salt and pepper. 

Source: Enright, Evelyn and Ann Seranne. Happy Living! A Guidebook for Brides. Los Angeles: American Bride Publications, 1965.
~ pp. 185, 237, 245 ~

Cooking Frozen Vegetables

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

add water and cookI have a dirty little secret ~ I love instant mashed potatoes and frozen peas. I never imagined I would need such detailed instructions for cooking them, however. These important tips are from a home economics book called How You Plan and Prepare Meals, written by Byrta Carson and MaRue Carson Ramee. Read carefully, then go whip up a tasty meal for your family! They won’t be sorry.

1962: Cooking Frozen Vegetables

All frozen vegetables, except corn on the cob, should be cooked without being thawed. The best method of cooking a frozen vegetable is stated on the package. Use only the amount that will be served at one meal, and keep the rest in the freezer. Cook frozen vegetables in the same way as fresh vegetables with the following exceptions.

1. Use a pan that is large enough for the vegetable to lie flat.

2. Use slightly less boiling water than for fresh vegetables because defrosting supplies some water.

3. Break the vegetable with a fork when it starts to defrost so that all parts will be cooked evenly.

4. If the vegetable has been defrosted, less cooking time is required.

Preparing Canned Vegetables. Because canned vegetables have already been cooked, they only need to be heated and seasoned. Drain the liquid from the can into a saucepan, and boil it rapidly to reduce the amount. Then add the vegetable, and cook 3 or 4 minutes. Some of the vitamin value of vegetables is lost in canning, but there is little loss of minerals. To retain vitamins and flavor, do not open canned vegetables until you are ready to use them.

Preparing Dehydrated Vegetables. To prepare dehydrated vegetables, add water and cook according to the directions on the package.

Dehydrated vegetables are fresh vegetables that have been cleaned, trimmed, and cut into pieces. The water is removed from the vegetables before they are packaged. There is no waste in dehydrated vegetables, and most of them are inexpensive and easy to use.

Source: Carson, Byrta, and MaRue Carson Ramee. How You Plan and Prepare Meals. St. Louis, Mo.:
Webster Division, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1962.
~ pp. 189-90 ~

What Should I Cook Him?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

ego, libido, and feedoQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Any tips on what to cook a guy for a romantic meal? I am thinking of his birthday. Thank you!


A Dear Katie:

I do believe I’ve located some fabulous advice for you in Robert Loeb’s She Cooks to Conquer. It should help you plan your dinner. I’m sorry I have no room to include the complete recipes, which are actually illustrated (see “The Man Who Stayed for Breakfast” for an example), but I think the menu ideas will be enough to set you on the right path.

Oh, and you’re welcome.

1952: The Man Who Came for Dinner

Classical Circe, when ensnaring Odysseus and his crew, had to employ her magic wand upon occasion, and could not merely depend on her vintages and victuals for complete enchantment. The reason for this was that, like pilots who formerly had to fly without benefit of electronic devises and radar, Circe too had to cook by the seat of her panties.

But you Circes today, with the aid of the latest scientific findings, will not have to cook on a hit-or-run basis. By putting to use the results of surveys and information gleaned by psychologists in their minute studies of the male (and with special thanks and all due apologies to Doctor W. H. Sheldon), I am about to furnish you with a fool-proof guide. This will make as certain as possible that the luring dishes you serve your Odysseus will be the exact food of his choice. For, by grading him for type, you will approximate the yearnings of his own particular ‘feedo.’

It has been found that the male animal comes in thress basic sizes and varieties, each bearing a very complicated name that actually is easy to explain: the somatotonic, the viscerotonic, and the cerebrotonic!!!

Each of these varieties will be both illustrated and decribed briefly. All you will have to do is to determine into which category your own Odysseus belongs and then serve him a menu recommended for his type. Thus, in one fell ‘soup,’ you will have combined the magic of psychoscience with the enchantment of twentieth-century culinary savoir faire. What manner of male exists who will be able to resist such witchery?

~ ~ ~

Here is the male SOMATONIC: he’s the muscle man with paleolithic instincts, more likely to flex his biceps than his brain; he’s quick of decision, prone to passion, which he demonstrates in immediate action. He’s probably the club athlete, prefers the locker-room to the salon or boudoir, and his tastes in food run chiefly to red meat.

So here are two menus to choose from, graded for type and taste, when this muscled Odysseus arrives for dinner:

Muscle-Man Menus

No. 1:
Oeufs Riants
Steak Circe
Pommes de Ciel
Asparagus, Sauce Odysseus
Wine to Serve: Red Bordeaux ~ room temp.

No. 2:
Fruit Cup Cyclops
Lamp Chops Ajax
Spuds à la Maison
Peas Penelope
Wine to Serve: Rosé ~ chilled

And here we have the male VISCEROTONIC ~ a man of guts, if we ever saw one. He’s usually more balloon-shaped than streamlined, copiously equipped with avoirdupois and tummy. He’s accoutred with a jovial disposition, his emotional font being chiefly centered about his abdominal region. With a bird in one hand and a bottle in the other, he’s in a Falstaffian kind of heaven. Of the trio, he’s the one most vulnerable to your culinary wiles ~ he’s the gourmand, if not the gourmet.

Man-of Guts Menus

No. 1:
Soup Hades
Veal Vulcan
Pommes Aphrodite
Salad Athena
Wine to Serve: Cabernet Sauvignon, or Cabernet Franc ~ room temp.

No. 2:
Hors d’Oeuvres Hermes
Chicken Scylla
Potatoes Charybdis
Artichokes Artemis
Wine to Serve: Chablis ~ chilled

And here ~ the third of this trio of male ‘tonics’ ~ the CEREBROTONIC no less. Sometimes tall, dark, and handsome ~ or not handsome and not tall (he could be short and blond) ~ or just tall ~ but always lean and thin (you pick him for color and length). He is more apt to be a Casanova than a caveman. His approach is subtle and hidden; his ego, libido, and feedo are swathed in the skin in the sheep but beneath which pulsates the drive and appetites of the wolf. His taste-buds should be subtly titillated, but once aroused are rewarding.

Lean-Man Menus

No. 1:
Zeus Soup
Shrimps Poseiden with rice
Salad Persephone
Wine to Serve: Graves ~ chilled

No. 2:
Clam Juice Calypso
Lamb Laertes
Pommes Polythemus
Salad Telemachus
Wine to Serve: Red Bordeaux ~ room temp.

Source: Loeb, Robert H., Jr. She Cooks to Conquer. New York: Wilfred Funk, Inc., 1952.
~ pp. 29-31, 45, 59 ~

Wall Devices

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

an old-fashioned kitchenI’m bored with collecting old advice books (just kidding!), so have begun stockpiling small, old appliances such as grinders, choppers, can openers, and my favorite ~ ice crushers. I’ve got two crushers so far: a cool red Ice-O-Mat, and a recent find: the Rival Ice-O-Matic, which electronically crushes like there’s no tomorrow. This one is going to be a hit at my next party!

I found this description about the installation of my new favorite toys, from a period when some of these were still actually new ~ 1947. Now if I could just find a circa 1940s kitchen, I’d be soooexcited.

1947: Wall Devices

One of the few advantages of an old-fashioned kitchen is the wall space usually available for modern, convenient wall devices of which there are so many ~ can openers, knife sharpeners, juice extractors, jar and bottle openers, ice crushers, nut crackers, etc. If space permits, a great number of other kitchen tools can be combined with such devices as these and assembled on a gadget board. On a gadget board tools are always in view and right at hand, a big point in favor of this kind of workshop storage.

Source: Kendall, Helen W., ed. The Good Housekeeping Housekeeping Book. New York: Stamford House,1947.
~ p. 80 ~

Refrigeration Electrically

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

to market to marketI discovered the following bit of advice in Buffalo, in Grandma Rose’s kitchen ~ a pamphlet discussing the joys and merits of cooking and storing food electrically. The cover was torn off so I don’t have the exact details of publication, but according to Grandma it came with her newly purchased electric Hotpoint stove sometime in the 1940s.

When I asked her if I could have the booklet, she said, “I don’t know why you would want that! Whatever would you do with it?”

1940s: Refrigeration Electrically

The New Technique in Cookery ~ Refrigeration

1. Arrange food on shelves to allow free circulation of cold air.
2. Remove wrappings. Wipe milk bottles, trim and wash vegetables, wipe solid fruits, pick over berries, but don’t wash.
3. Cover (in containers or with waxed paper) all foods which have no natural covering. Place meat and other highly perishable foods in coldest part of the refrigerator. Cover meat loosely with waxed paper.
4. To reduce operating cost: Open refrigerator door only when necessary. Cool hot foods to room temperature before putting them into the refrigerator.
5. Clean refrigerator once a week and check over contents to make sure that left-overs are not standing too long.
6. Don’t refrigerate bananas, jelly, pickles, ketchup, unopened cans or other foods which do not require chilling.

everything has a right place

Everything that goes into your electric refrigerator has a right place.

It Pays Its Way

You expect ~ and get ~ a lot of special service from your electric refrigerator. It’s always ready to chill fruit and vegetable juices, melon balls and other appetizers ~ really chill them, so they’ll make a bored appetite hopeful for what’s to come. It’s always ready to jell soups and salads and desserts ~ to crisp salad greens ~ to make ice cubes, to tinkle in tall glasses ~ to freeze an astounding variety of ice creams, mousses, sherberts and parfaits.

But your electric refrigerator pays its way in your kitchen by providing a temperature low enough to keep foods safe for many days. It’s this dependable low temperature that enables you to save money by stocking up on bargains ~ to save last minute hurry by preparing foods in advance.

Source: [Hotpoint stove pamphlet, ca. 1940s]
~ pp. 55-57 ~

Cooking Breakfast

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

the water must be boiling madlyIn the preface to 2002 Household Helps, editor Janet D. Myers wished the book would “be called upon many times to shorten the labors of those who are responsible for the welfare of our American families.” Since I’ve mostly been cooking breakfast these days (who needs lunch or dinner, when there are so many sugared cereals to indulge in?), I thought I’d pull out some helpful tips to share. Pouring the milk over the cereal sure is laborious, and my singlular American family deserves only the best!

1942: Cooking Breakfast

CRISPING BACON ~ Try laying your thin slices of bacon in a shallow pan and putting them in the oven. They will be uniformly crist and moderately browned. When you take them out of the oven lay the pieces on oiled paper until you are ready to serve. The fat that has been cooked out can be used in frying hashed brown potatoes or chops.

MILK INSTEAD OF CREAM ~ Two quarts of milk added to one quart of heavy cream makes cream sufficient strength when serving coffee to 100 people.

SODA IN OMELET ~ A half teaspoonful of soda added to a cup of sour milk and used instead of sweet milk in preparing an omelet makes it light and fluffy.

‘NEW’ CEREAL IDEA ~ When tired of breakfast cereals try cooking two or three kinds together. They will give a new flavor to the breakfast.

BETTER COFFEE ~ Many people use too little coffee when they make the drink. Put more of it into the coffee pot and you will have a better beverage.

COOK CEREALS LONGER ~ Breakfast cereals cooked for long periods of time will have a better flavor and be more digestible than those cooked only a short time.

MAKING SAUSAGE ~ In making sausage or other things calling for ground meat, it is desirable to have the seasoning evenly mixed with meat. Cut meat in strips, lengthwise, for grinding. Weigh meat for same. Put layer of meat in pan, sprinkle seasoning over, then another layer of meat and seasoning until all is used. Then feed into grinder. The sausage will be uniform in flavor.

FRYING SAUSAGES ~ When frying pork sausages invert a colander over the frying pan and you will find that you will not be bothered with the grease spattering the stove and yourself.

JELLY OMELET ~ A dab of tart jelly is very good with the breakfast omelet.

FRYING ON OIL STOVE ~ Use an aluminum frying pan for pancakes when frying them over an oil stove.

CHOICE GRAPEFRUIT ~ Grapefruit uniform in size, with smooth thin skin and small pores, are the choice ones.

BEATING EGG WHITES ~ Never beat whites of eggs in an aluminum pan. It will always darken it and make it ugly. Use a china or porcelain bowl.

POACHING EGGS ~ Don’t try to poach an egg by putting it in lukewarm or slightly boiling water. The water must be boiling madly, so that the albumen is cooked at once, otherwise the egg spreads all through the water.

LEFTOVER TOAST ~ Dip leftover toast in egg and milk, and brown in a small amount of fat. This is French toast and may be served for breakfast with powdered sugar or syrup.

KEEPING DOUGHNUTS ~ If doughnuts are put into a covered dish while still warm they will keep fresh for some time.

BETTER TOAST ~ Bread a day old makes better toast than fresh bread.

AVOIDING LUMPY CEREALS ~ If you have trouble with cereals lumping when you are pouring them into the boiling water, stir vigorously with a wire cake spoon.

Source: Myers, Janet D. 2002 Household Helps. Cleveland, Ohio: The World Publishing Company, 1942.
~ pp. 27-45 ~

Eat More Vegetables

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

That is Nature's rule!Q Dear Miss Abigail:

How can I get my my boyfriend to eat vegetables?


A Dear Matthew:

I searched high and low for some good advice to pass along about the value of eating vegetables, and found many standard references in home economics books teaching young women how to plan menus for their families. But I think we all know that vegetables are good for us and that we should eat more of them (didn’t your mom teach you right?).

So I thought a different approach might work better for your sweetie. How about the following from Victor H. Lindlahr’s 1940 book titled You Are What You Eat? Lindlahr was a lecturer on health and nutrition “on radio stations from coast to coast” and president of the National Nutrition Society in his day. He’s quite serious about nutrition, and I think his words will help scare your boyfriend into eating his veggies.

1940: What Foods Can Do For You

Your body is composed of, and lives on, certain basic chemical substances. To be healthy, it must constantly receive new supplies of these. If replacements of these essential materials are not provided, in correct proportions and amounts, by the food you eat, then you are in trouble! Your body tissues cannot behave as they should. The result will be abnormal conditions ~ you call them symptoms of disease. That is Nature’s rule!

Providing the necessary chemical substances for your body, in proper amounts and proportions each day, with foods, means choosing a balanced diet! What is a balanced diet?

On every hand we hear people talking about ‘proper eating’ and ‘balanced diet.’ Your best friend’s little girl did not eat a balanced diet ~ did not get enough fruits and vegetables containing Vitamin A. So, the doctor explains, that is why she was unhealthy, an easy victim of measles, mumps, whooping cough, and frequent colds.

Your mother’s Cousin Joe did not eat a balanced diet ~ he ate too much meat and bread and rich food. And his joints became gnarled and twisted with rheumatism.

That lady down the street, your neighbor explains, did not eat a balanced diet. Her doctor has her on a strict one now, and follow it she must, or have her gall bladder removed. The penalty is severe.

Most health authorities, including scientists, doctors and specialitsts whose articles appear in daily newspapers throughout the country, agree that a balanced diet or dietary changes will help cure a host of the ills to which the human flesh is heir.

Source: Lindlahr, Victor H. You Are What You Eat: How to Win and Keep Health With Diet. New York: National Nutritional Society, 1940.
~ p. 8 ~

Meals Out-of-Doors

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

know how to plan and prepareAh, summertime. Hooray for our Red, White, and Blue, and for the season of hot dogs, lemonade, and popsicles. Here’s a few tips about the fine art of eating outdoors, from Mary Lockwoods Matthews’ somewhat repetitive Elementary Home Economics.

1928: Meals Out-of-Doors

Most boys and girls like to go on picnics. A picnic lunch may consist entirely of cooked foods that are ready to serve, or part of the foods may be prepared at home and others cooked over a camp fire on the beach, in the woods, or wherever the picnic is to be held. When all the foods are to be prepared at home, they must be carried in suitable containers, so that they will be in good condition when it is time to serve them. Thermos bottles or jugs may be used for carrying hot cocoa, milk, water, or any other cold or hot drink, and bottles having a large mouth may be used for hot or cold foods. One may use a picnic basket equipped with knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups, and containers for various types of food. In some of these baskets there are compartments for ice, so arranged that foods may be kept cold. These baskets are quite elaborate, expensive, and heavy to carry, and often thermos bottles or jugs can be used for foods which must be kept hot or cold, while other foods may be packed as you would pack a school lunch. . . .

In planning a picnic it is important:

1. To plan a menu which requires few dishes for serving, and which does not contain cooked foods that are spoiled with standing or jarring.
2. To make a list of all utensils and dishes and of the amounts and kinds of foods needed, so that none will be forgotten.
3. To pack these so that foods will not be crushed or exposed to dust or flies, so that dishes will be kept free from dust and flies, and so that thermos bottles or other glass or china containers will not be broken.
4. To pack the lunch in such containers as can be conveniently carried or placed in the available space in an automobile. It is better to pack the lunch in several light-weight baskets or boxes when it must be carried some distance by hand.
5. To take several tea towels, hand towels, and cloths to be used for emergencies, or when clearing up after the meal. . . .

To plan and prepare a picnic lunch for a number of people requires considerable work, and many times picnics are not a popular pastime because of this fact. An easy way to arrange a picnic is to make the menu, estimating the amount of each food needed, then to assign to each person a certain amount of one food to be prepared. Each person may then take her own dishes and the one prepared food, and the work of preparation is not difficult. Often the menu for a picnic is too elaborate and makes the work of preparation too difficult. Since touring has become such an important pastime in this country, it is desirable for each girl to know how to plan and prepare a picnic lunch, and to cook out-of-doors.

Source: Matthews, Mary Lockwood. Elementary Home Economics. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company,1928.
~ pp. 173-74, 177-78 ~