The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Antique Autos returns to History Park!

Vintage car in the park in 2012.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
Some of my costume group in 2009.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
 I've been getting ready for the 14th Annual Antique Auto event at History Park, where the tea guild will be joining me for a picnic tomorrow afternoon.  It's such fun to research recipes and costumes -- because I always want to do something slightly different from what I did last year -- that I often find myself hurrying the morning of the event, and not finishing whatever costume or recipe I'd been working on, and pulling out something wearable from the costume closet, or something ordinary from the pantry, and going with that.  I'm hoping that this year will be different, since -- at the request of one of the guild members -- we are having a potluck picnic, and at least I don't have to make all the sandwiches.  I have decided to bring dessert -- a cake and some strawberries that I got at the farmer's market yesterday -- as well as the iced tea.  Then there's my costume; I could wear the 1920s frock that I've worn before, but I don't have a hat to go with it, or I could wear one of my Edwardian skirts, although I don't really have a good blouse to wear with them, or a proper hat, either -- just a modern straw hat with a ribbon on it.  I have all these plans to make blouses, and even some fabric to do it, and I want to make a tailor-made suit, and - and - and ... 

Anyway, while I decide, and work on my things, here are some suggestions from the readers of the _Woman's Home Companion_ magazine from 1916, so you can put together your own "motor picnic" in the next month or so: 

the crowd in 2012.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
"Motor Picnics—Prize-winning suggestions from readers:
            Homemade Luncheon Hamper: We never have the dreaded harum-scarum scramble for lunch and containers, when starting on an outing, for this reason: the lunch kit is always kept in readiness and its contents never used for anything else.  I found a square basket required too much floor space in the machine, so I purchased for one dollar a fiber matting suit case which, when packed, could stand upright, requiring a floor space only six inches wide. (See illustration on page 40).  This case I fitted up inexpensively, first pasting in a lining of white rubber cloth to be prepared for "spills." (Oilcloth would do as well.)
            A box for sandwiches, a coffee pot, thermos bottle and a cake or salad box occupy most of the space in the body of the suit case, while knives, forks, spoons, paper plates, dishes and napkins are held in place by tape in the shallow lid.
Assembling a Model T Ford in 2012.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
            The nicest part of our auto hamper is the folding camp stove which fits in on top of the lunch boxes, for a picnic is not a picnic without coffee.  The stove (?) [sic] consists of a top 10 by 14 inches, made of nickeled rods placed two inches apart and having a pointed rod at each corner for a leg.  These legs are pushed into the ground as far as desired and the fire built directly under the top.  This little device has paid for itself many times.
            Upon returning home we immediately wash the knives and forks and return them to their places, adding a fresh supply of cups, plates, etc., in readiness for the next "hurry call."
            Our auto lunch hamper fills every need as satisfactorily as a twenty-five dollar one. –A. H., California.
            Building the Camp Fire:  If you add the contents of a small bag of charcoal to your wood fire as soon as it has a good start, the fire burns with a steady glow conducive to culinary success.
            We have a way of building a fire which has proved most satisfactory: With a stick or flat stone dig a trench about eighteen inches long and four inches in depth and width.  Build the fire in this, placing two flat stones across the top, one for the frying pan and the other for the kettle.  Bacon can be broiled by holding it on the ends of green pointed sticks.  Potatoes, corn and apples can be roasted in the same way. –A. L. J., New York. 

One of the members of my costume group (left),
with some guys in vintage police uniforms and their
vintage police car.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
            Crisp Lettuce for Sandwiches: Nearly all sandwiches are improved by the addition of a crisp leaf of lettuce, but if the lettuce is placed in the sandwiches in the early morning, by noon it will be withered and unappetizing.  My method is this: I wash a head of lettuce thoroughly and select the choice leaves, which I place in cold water while I prepare the rest of the lunch.  When all is ready I line an empty coffee tin with a damp napkin, shake the water lightly from the lettuce and lay it in the can, fold napkin over, close the lid and place the can in lunch basket. –Mrs. W. P., California." 

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)