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Canned Corn Soup Mashed Sweet Potato Macaroni with Tomato Sauce Canned Wax Beans or Cabbage Salad Steamed Rice Graham Puffs Fruit Bread Toasted Wafers Canned Strawberries Malaga Grapes Loaf Cake with Roasted Almonds Bananas in Syrup
Pea and Tomato Soup Ornamental Potatoes Scalloped Vegetable Oysters Egg and Macaroni Farina with Fig Sauce Sally Lunn Gems Beaten Biscuit Graham Bread Apply Jelly Canned Gooseberries Prune Pie with Granola Crust Citron Apples Pop Corn
[Ill.u.s.tration: A Picnic Dinner]
A picnic, to serve its true end, ought to be a season of healthful recreation; but seemingly, in the general acceptation of the term, a picnic means an occasion for a big dinner composed of sweets and dainties, wines, ices, and other delectable delicacies, which tempt to surfeiting and excess. The preparation necessary for such a dinner usually requires a great amount of extra and wearisome labor, while the eating is very apt to leave results which quite overshadow any benefit derived from the recreative features of the occasion. It is generally supposed that a picnic is something greatly conducive to health; but where everything is thus made subservient to appet.i.te, it is one of the most unhygienic things imaginable.
The lunch basket should contain ample provision for fresh-air-sharpened appet.i.tes, but let the food be as simple as possible, and of not too great variety. Good whole-wheat or Graham bread in some form, with well sterilized milk and cream, or a soup previously prepared from grains or legumes, which can be readily heated with the aid of a small alcohol or kerosene stove, and plenty of fruit of seasonable variety, will const.i.tute a very good bill of fare. If cake is desirable, let it be of a very simple kind, like the buns or raised cake for which directions are given in another chapter. Beaten biscuits, rolls, and crisps are also serviceable for picnic dinners. Fruit sandwiches--made by spreading slices of light whole-wheat or Graham bread with a little whipped cream and then with fresh fruit jam lightly sweetened, with fig sauce or steamed figs chopped, steamed prunes or sliced bananas--are most relishable. These should be made on the ground, just before serving, from material previously prepared. An egg sandwich may be prepared in the same manner by subst.i.tuting for the fruit the hard-boiled yolks of eggs chopped with a very little of the whitest and tenderest celery, and seasoned lightly with salt. Two pleasing and palatable picnic breads may be made as follows:--
PICNIC BISCUIT.--Prepare a dough as for Raised Biscuit, page 145, and when thoroughly kneaded the last time, divide, and roll both portions to about one fourth of an inch in thickness. Spread one portion with stoned dates, or figs that have been chopped or cut fine with scissors, cover with the second portion, and cut into fancy shapes. Let the biscuits rise until very light, and bake. Wash the tops with milk to glace before baking.
FIG WAFERS.--Rub together equal quant.i.ties of Graham meal, and figs that have been chopped very fine. Make into a dough with cold sweet cream. Roll thin, cut in shape, and bake.
If provision can be made for the reheating of foods, a soup, or grain, macaroni with tomato sauce, or with egg or cream sauce, or some similar article which can be cooked at home, transported in sealed fruit cans, and reheated in a few moments on the grounds, is a desirable addition to the picnic bill of fare.
Recipes for suitable beverages for such occasions will be found in the chapter on Beverages.
Mothers whose children are obliged to go long distances to school, are often greatly perplexed to know what to put up for the noonday lunch which shall be both appetizing and wholesome. The conventional school lunch of white bread and b.u.t.ter, sandwiches, pickles, mince or other rich pie, with a variety of cake and cookies, is scarcely better than none at all; since on the one hand there is a deficiency of food material which can be used for the upbuilding of brains, muscles, and nerves; while on the other hand it contains an abundance of material calculated to induce dyspepsia, headache, dullness of intellect, and other morbid conditions. Left in an ante-room, during the school session, until, in cold weather, it becomes nearly frozen, and then partaken of hurriedly, that there may be more time for play, is it to be wondered at that the after-dinner session drags so wearily, and that the pupils feel sleepy, dull, and uninterested? Our brains are nourished by blood made from the food we eat; and if it be formed of improper or unwholesome food, the result will be a disordered organ, incapable of first-cla.s.s work.
Again, the extra work imposed upon the digestive organs and the liver in getting rid of the excess of fats and sugar in rich, unwholesome foods, continually overtaxes these organs.
It can hardly be doubted that a large majority of the cases of so-called overwork from which school children suffer, are caused by violation of hygienic laws regarding food and diet rather than by an excess of brain work; or in other words, had the brain been properly nourished by an abundance of good, wholesome food, the same amount of work could have been easily accomplished with no detriment whatever.
Whenever practicable, children should return to their homes for the midday lunch, since under the oversight of a wise mother there will be fewer violations of hygienic laws, and the walk back to the school room will be far more conducive to good digestion than the violent exercise or the sports so often indulged in directly after eating. When this is impracticable, let the lunch be as simple as possible, and not so ample as to tempt the child to overeat. Good whole-wheat or Graham bread of some kind, rolls, crisps, beaten biscuit, sticks, fruit rolls, and wafers, with a cup of canned fruit or a bottle of rich milk as an accompaniment, with plenty of nice, fresh fruits or almonds or a few stalks of celery, is as tempting a lunch as any child need desire. It would be a good plan to arrange for the heating of a portion of the milk to be sipped as a hot drink. In many school rooms the ordinary heating stove will furnish means for this, or a little alcohol stove or a heating lamp may be used for the purpose, under the supervision of the teacher.
Furnish the children with apples, oranges, bananas, pears, grapes, filberts, and almonds in place of rich pie and cake. They are just as cheap as the material used for making the less wholesome sweets, and far easier of digestion. An occasional plain fruit or grain pudding, cup custard, or molded dessert may be subst.i.tuted for variety. Fruit sandwiches, or a slice of Stewed Fruit Pudding prepared as directed on page 308 are also suitable for this purpose.
Rice prepared as directed below makes a wholesome and appetizing article for the lunch basket:--
CREAMY RICE.--Put a pint of milk, one quarter of a cup of best Carolina rice, a tablespoonful of sugar, and a handful of raisins into an earthen-ware dish, and place on the top of the range where it will heat very slowly to boiling temperature. Stir frequently, so that the rice will not adhere to the bottom of the dish. When boiling, place in the oven, and bake till the rice is tender, which can be ascertained by dipping a spoon into one side and taking out a few grains. Twenty minutes will generally be sufficient.
Much care should be used in putting up the lunch to have it as neat and dainty as possible. A basket of suitable size covered with a clean white napkin is better for use than the conventional dinner pail, in which air-tight receptacle each food is apt to savor of all the others, making the entire contents unappetizing, if not unwholesome.
One of the most needed reforms in domestic life is a change to more simple meals on the Sabbath. In many households the Sabbath is the only day in the week when all the members of the family can dine together, and with an aim to making it the most enjoyable day of all, the good housewife provides the most elaborate dinner of the week, for the preparation of which she must either spend an unusual amount of time and labor the day previous or must encroach upon the sacred rest day to perform the work.
Real enjoyment ought not to be dependent upon feasting and gustatory pleasures. Plain living and high thinking should be the rule at all times, and especially upon the Sabbath day. Nothing could be more conducive to indigestion and dyspepsia than this general custom of feasting on the Sabbath. The extra dishes and especial luxuries tempt to over-indulgence of appet.i.te; while the lack of customary exercise and the gorged condition of the stomach incident upon such hearty meals, fosters headaches and indigestion and renders brain and mind so inactive that the partic.i.p.ants feel too dull for meditation and study, too sleepy to keep awake during service, too languid for anything but dozing and lounging, and the day that should have fostered spiritual growth is worse than thrown away. Nor is this all; the evil effects of the indigestion occasioned are apt to be felt for several succeeding days, making the children irritable and cross, and the older members of the family nervous and impatient,--most certainly an opposite result from that which ought to follow a sacred day of rest.
Physiologically such feasting is wrong. The wear and consequent repair incident upon hard labor, calls for an equivalent in food; but when no labor is performed, a very moderate allowance--is all that is necessary, and it should be of easy digestibility. Let the Sabbath meals be simple, and served with abundant good cheer and intelligent thought as an accompaniment.
Let as much as possible of the food be prepared and the necessary work be done the day previous, so that the cook may have ample opportunity with the other members of the family to enjoy all Sabbath privileges.
This need by no means necessitate the use of cold food nor entail a great amount of added work in preparation. To ill.u.s.trate, take the following--
SABBATH BILL OF FARE.
Fresh Fruit Rolled Wheat with Cream Prune Toast Whole-Wheat Bread Toasted Waters Buns Fresh Strawberries
Canned Green Corn Soup Creamed Potato Green Peas Tomato and Macaroni Rice Toasted Wafers Beaten Biscuit Buns Canned Peaches Fruit and Nuts
Both the rolled wheat and rice may be prepared the day previous, as may also the prune sauce for the toast, the buns, bread, and nearly all the other foods. The potatoes can be boiled and sliced, the corn for the soup rubbed through the colander and placed in the ice chest, the green peas boiled but not seasoned, and the macaroni cooked and added to the tomato but not seasoned. The berries may be hulled, the nuts cracked, and the canned fruit opened. If the table is laid over night and covered with a spread to keep off dust, a very short time will suffice for getting the Sabbath breakfast. Heat the rolled wheat in the inner dish of a double boiler. Meanwhile moisten the toast; and heat the prune sauce.
To prepare the dinner, all that is necessary is to add to the material for soup the requisite amount of milk and seasoning, and heat to boiling; heat and season the peas and macaroni; make a cream sauce and add the potatoes; reheat the rice, which should have been cooked by steaming after the recipe given on page 99.
All may be done in half an hour, while the table is being laid, and with very little labor.
To the days of the aged it addeth length; To the might of the strong it addeth strength; It freshens the heart, it brightens the sight; 'T is like quaffing a goblet of morning light.
It is said that Worcester sauce was first introduced as a medicine, the original formula having been evolved by a noted physician to disguise the a.s.safetida which it contains, for the benefit of a n.o.ble patient whose high living had impaired his digestion.
The turnpike road to people's hearts I find Lies through their mouth, or I mistake mankind.--_Dr. Wolcott._
A good dinner sharpens wit, while it softens the heart.--_Daran._
Small cheer and great welcome make a merry feast.--_Shakespeare._