Culinary History,  Feast,  Food History,  History,  Lunch,  Picnics

Feast of History: A Turn of the Century Millionaire’s Summer Picnic

Picnics are always a fun occasion, but I have always found the descriptions of the picnics of the turn of the century to be particulary enjoyable. Right after the Victorian age and before the free and easy times of the Jazz Age, there were ten years at the turn of the century that found America beginning to transform itself from a rural, farm and frontier land to a land of inventors, authors, businessmen, moviemakers, activists and yes, millionaires.

tea on the roadDuring this time such men as Ford, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Astor and Carnegie grabbed hold of the true American dream and opportunity that was before them, They built vast wealth on oil, railroads and steel. All that great wealth lead to a life of luxury. Elaborate homes, dinners and vacations became the way of life for America’s new money.

But even a millionaire can get tired of the hustle and bustle of running a business and attending dinners and long for a simple meal out of doors. Picnics were a very popular activity in the summer months as the millionaires and their families left the heat of the city for their vacation homes and resorts.

Some of the food of those times may seem odd to us. Who wants a lettuce sandwiches or veal loaf now days? But nothing could beat the joy of a pleasant picnic in the woods or on the shores of a lake. If you would like to try having your own turn of the century inspired picnic, here are some wonderful picnic dishes from those times to try out!

  • Roast Beef Sandwiches
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Egg Salad or Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Rolls
  • Crackers
  • Pickles or olives
  • Sugared Strawberries
  • Fresh Fruit (Apples, Peaches, Grapes, Watermelon)
  • Potato Salad
  • Almond or Tea Cakes
  • Rice pudding
  • Cookies
  • Fruit Turnovers
  • Ginger Beer
  • Lemonade

And though this is not turn of the century, here is an adorable video from 1930s England on how to fix a family-friendly picnic lunch!

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