Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Vintage Picnics: An Art Deco Guide

I know. It's been an age. Several, in fact--I haven't posted in more than a year.

However...we've had a lovely time in the past year or so, vintage-wise. We are now firmly part of the Greater Boston Vintage Society (GVBS), after meeting up for the first time for a Tweed Ramble, last October.

One of the nicest things about our this group is the predilection we have for picnics. We have them in the spring, summer, and fall. So far...who knows, maybe a winter picnic is next! (Though you probably won't catch me ice skating or skiing.)

My husband and I love this kind of thing. We've been collecting wicker baskets and the proper fittings, recipes to fill them, and the clothing to wear for years...this year we've been to Gatsby picnics, mostly, because of the summer, but I enjoy the fall outings, too.

Some of these photos will give you an idea of what sorts of things we drag along to have these events. Oddly, I can't find any from our Gatsby event at the Crane Estate, but I suppose they're all on Facebook.
What kinds of things do we bring to eat and drink? Well, if it's a private area, alcohol is fine; in that case, Champagne trumps the rest, and a flask or two is usually around, to add to lemonade or punch.
We also like soda water, sparkling fruit juices, and good old water. (It's often a good idea to put a bottle of frozen water in your basket, to keep things cool. When it thaws you have a bottle of chilled water.)
For food, I often make hand pies, either savory or sweet. Examples: cheese and ham; apple; spicy pork and apple; get the idea. My favorite pasty is cream cheese pastry--it's very easy to work, it's good cold, it's rich and also flaky and tender.
We usually bring some kind of fresh fruit, whatever happens to be in season.

I make cookies (or, if you're British, biscuits). Lavender shortbread, rose biscuits, molasses cookies; anything that will travel well and doesn't have a sticky topping works well.
Salads can be good, but do stay away from mayonnaise or anything else that must stay cold for safety's sake. A good German coleslaw is wonderful (vinegar dressing).
Yes, we bring tea sandwiches. Some favorites: liverwurst, onion and cream cheese; spicy peanut butter, cream cheese and hot pepper; cucumber/butter; onion; butter/radish.
Cakes are a nice addition. I usually bring something like a chocolate zucchini cake, fruitcake, or a Devonshire cake (like a light fruitcake, but flavored with rosewater rather than vanilla). If it's sturdy and doesn't have a sticky icing it will probably travel well.
There are plenty more things you can bring, but I do suggest you consider how anything you pack will travel.

Collect pretty tins; they are a wonderful way to transport things, and they look good as well. I usually bring a tin of candied orange peel, as it's something I always have on hand, and it travels well. You can find tins in thrift shops (charity shops, op shops), and the wicker as well. Believe it or now, a couple of months ago I found a small Fortnum and Mason picnic hamper! And not in the UK; I found it here, in Rhode Island. Keep your eyes open...I promise you, if you do, you'll find the treasures. They're out there.

We are going on an autumn picnic in about a week and a half; I am thinking of making molasses cookies and savory hand pies...also chili (if I can find enough Thermoses to carry it). Probably hot cider as well, and bread-and-butter sandwiches.

You probably have a good idea now, even if you've never gone on a vintage picnic. A few more notes: you'll need a decently sized blanket (preferably wool); a tarp or other waterproof item to place under your blanket, if you like; parasols or umbrellas for wandering around without acquiring sunburns; knitting or magazines for amusing yourself (or for sharing with others); a camera or the phone app on your camera, because you will want pictures!; and a good weather forecast.
Don't forget to dress for the occasion!

1 comment:

Kellie Kelley said...

Love your blog. Always a pleasure seeing you and Jimmy