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  • Writer's pictureVintage Pattern Girl

A 1917 Picnic Lunch

An interesting read transcribed from Needlework Magazine, July 1917

To the hungry picnicker who looks forward to lunch-time, when with keen appetite freshened by the outdoor air, there will be spread a variety of food, novelties are eagerly sought after. This has grown to be almost a necessity, for even an out-of-door spread palls if the same things are seen.

There are staple articles of food that are a necessity and which with few variations can be acceptably served, but they must be intermixed with appetizing foods and drinks that will give to the picnic a distinctive air.

The lunch-basket need not be an expensive one. Any kind of a receptacle that will open so that the contents can be easily removed is advisable for this purpose. A raffia basket with split cover that falls back on raffia hinges is practical for use such as this.

The packing is of as much importance as the contents, for wrongly placed, the heavy things are apt to mush the dainties, thus making an unsightly showing of food for the table. Put the heavy things at the bottom and the lighter ones on top; try and take as many things as possible that can be thrown away to save space for flowers and ferns that may be plucked to be carried home.

The things essential are a thermos-bottle that will keep hot drinks warm and cold ones cool: this should be one of the first items on the list. Paper napkins should be patriotic in design for July. Drinking-cups should be of paper and can be purchased at such a small sum that individual ones can be supplied within the means of the medium-sized purse. In addition to those, paper plates and a paper tablecloth are much more advisable than china and linen, while individual campers’ outfits in their little leather cases can be purchased reasonably and are almost indispensable for occasions like this.

Sandwiches made from bread cut very thin and the crust trimmed can be filled with different ingredients. To keep them moist one should wrap them in paraffin-paper, putting two sandwiches, each one different, in each package.


1 small can pimentos, 1 head of celery, 6 sweet pickles

4 hard boiled eggs, Boiled Dressing (see below)

Chop first four items together very finely. Moisten with Boiled Dressing just enough to hold together, thin dressing with a little cream if needed. Spread the mixture between slices of buttered bread.


4 Eggs, 2/3 cup Vinegar, 1/3 cup Water

4 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 teaspoon butter

red pepper and salt to taste

Beat the eggs until thick and creamy. Place all other ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to simmer and add eggs slowly, beating well the whole time. Cook until thickened and add seasoning to taste. Cool and use as base for fillings.


1 cup finely chopped Hickory Nuts

2 cups finely chopped Apples

Mayonnaise, Celery or Celery Seed

Mix together Hickory Nuts and Apples with as much Mayonnaise as needed to bind. Add finely chopped Celery or Celery Seed if desired.


4 ripe medium sized tomatoes, peeled and finely diced

1 or 2 cucumbers, peeled and finely diced

1/8 cup of Onion, finely diced 1/8 cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped (or amount to taste)

Salt, Vinegar, Oil, Lettuce Leafs

Combine all ingredients more or less according to taste. Mix well and place on lettuce leaf between slices of bread.


4 Hard Boiled Eggs, peeled and sliced thin

Finely grated Cheese (of choice) Mayonnaise, Lettuce Leafs

Place lettuce leafs on bread, layer over this slices of hard boiled eggs. Mix cheese with a enough mayonnaise to bind. Spread this mixture over eggs. Sardines and cracker sandwiches are also very good with this filling for a picnic-lunch.


1 cup Sugar, 1/2 cup Butter, 2 Egg Yolks

1 Egg White, 1/2 cup Sweet Milk, 2 cups Flour

2 teaspoons Baking-Powder, 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Cream sugar and butter together. Add egg yolks and egg white and milk, stir until well mixed. Sift flour and baking-powder together and add to egg mixture with vanilla. Beat until batter is smooth. Bake in oven in small cake pans until done. Cover with a white frosting topped with drizzles of chocolate.


Pastry for Pie, 1 cup Thick Sour Milk (possibly sour cream?)

1 cup Sugar, 1 cup Raisins, chopped 1 Egg, well beaten

Salt, Cinnamon, Nutmeg

Beat together all ingredients except pastry, until well blended. Season with salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste. Roll out pastry into squares, putting a tablespoon of filling in the center, fold pastry over the filling and mark into place with a fork. Make slits in the top so that the steam may escape. Bake until done.


2 Egg Yolks, 1/2 cup Sugar, 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

Grated Rind of 1 Orange

1/2 cup English Walnuts, finely chopped

Pie Shell

Beat together sugar and egg yolks to a cream. Add all other ingredients except pie shell, and place in a saucepan. Cook until it thickens, and then pour into pie shell. Bake until done, and when brown you may cover with a meringue in which are stirred walnut pieces.


1 pound Flour, 1 pound Powdered Sugar

1/2 Nutmeg, grated 1 tablespoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon each; Mace and Ground Cloves

2 level tablespoons Baking-Powder, Pinch of Salt

5 Eggs beaten well, Grated Peel of 1 Lemon, 1/2 cup Citron chopped fine

Sift together flour and powdered sugar. All all other ingredients, and stir until well mixed and a stiff dough forms. Shape into balls, and bake in a hot oven until done. Coat or drizzle with maple frosting if desired.


To each quart of raspberries add a pound of loaf-sugar. (You may use Turbinado Sugar as a substitute) Mash the raspberries and mix in the sugar. Let the raspberries and sugar set until the next day, keeping them well covered. Place the raspberries and sugar in a thin muslin bag and squeeze out the juice by hand into a bowl. To every pint of juice add a pint of water, plain or carbonated. Chill well before drinking.


1/2 cup cold, strong, Green Tea, 1 pint Rich Cream

Juice of 1/2 Lemon, Sugar to taste

Mix together all ingredients, adding sugar to sweeten to taste. Freeze in container or thermos-bottle. This can be kept indefinitely in a thermos-bottle.


1 quart Boiling Water, 1/4 pound Oolong Black Tea

1 pound Powdered Sugar, Juice of 6 Lemons

Grated Rind of 2 Lemons, 2 Cinnamon Sticks


1 cup Pineapple, chopped

1 quart fresh Strawberries (sliced and stems removed)

4 or 5 sprigs Fresh Mint

Pour boiling water over tea leaves and let steep for five minutes. Strain tea leaves from tea and add sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind, and cinnamon sticks. Add other optional ingredients if desired. Allow mixture to cool. Strain. Serve over crushed ice, adding water to dilute to taste.

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