FRESH air is prescribed by doctors for various ailments, but it is not only a cure, it is also a preventive.
Health depends, to a certain extent, on environment. Change of surroundings brings change of thought, and every-day worries are left behind – at any rate, for the time being.
Picnics are regarded by some people as rather a bother, and though they would really like to spend a day out of doors, the preparation of the necessary sandwiches lemonade, tea, etc., makes them think that the preliminaries are not worth the trouble. So they leave the matter to chance, trusting that they may come across an hotel or restaurant – where they can have their meal indoors!
Preparing the Food
The actual food needed for a picnic is not difficult to prepare. It is more trouble, of course, than entering a restaurant and ordering just what you feel inclined, but it sometimes happens that you may go for several miles before finding a place jou fancy. This especially applies to Sundays, when many of the cafes are closed, and those open are apt to be overcrowded.
The summer is usually chosen for picnicking, though there is nothing nicer than a bright spring day. When the air is warm and fresh without being too hot. The countryside is at its best in spring, when the leaves are just out and have not had time to lose their colour by donning an involuntary dust coat. Spring flowers always seem more beautiful than others, Xrobably because their appearance marks the end of a drab season. Autumn is very lovely, with its magnificent colour-scheme supplied by the changing tints of the trees, and that wonderful carpet of fallen leaves of varying tones which covers the hard earth, parched by the rays of the hot summers sun.
The Charm of Spring Picnics
Spring, a contrast to autumn, does not offer so much variety of colour, but the different shades of green are innumerable. Autumn, though very beautiful, seems a sad season, for everything is dying, and winter, with its dull, cheerless days, is preparing to take over its duties. Spring, on the other hand, marks the coming of brighter days, and there is surely nothing more enjoyable than a picnic in the woods, with streams of golden light shining through the wonderful sunshade of leaf-green on to the new carpet which has replaced the old.
To a certain extent, catering varies according to the time of the year. For luncheon, sandwiches are the easiest things to manipulate.
For a spread, veal and ham pie, with tomatoes and cucumber, is really quite easy, though bread and butter, knives and forks, and extra plates must be taken. Papier mache plates will be quite sufficient for sandwiches.
Ham and tongue and hard-boiled-egg sandwiches are nice at any time of the year, and fillings of cucumber, egg and cress, tomato and mayonnaise and lettuce are cooling and refreshing for the hotter days.
Sandwiches should be wrapped in a cloth which is slightly damp, covered with a dry one. Apples, bananas, oranges, pineapples, cherries, or any fruit not too soft and liable to squash are always enjoyed.
Lemonade and orangeade, not too sweet, are refreshing drinks. Tea should be put into a thermos flask and the milk in a bottle, unless a kettle and Primus or other stove are taken for the making of fresh tea, which is preferable. In the latter case, do not rely on being able to get water, but take it with you in a large bottle. Paper serviettes should not be omitted.
A picnic basket, fitted with sandwich tins, flasks, knives, forks and spoons, a jar for sugar, and cups, saucers, and plates, is the easiest to pack, but, failing this, an ordinary attache case will answer the purpose. Care must be taken to pack it carefully, and see that bottles are securely corked, and food well wrapped in greaseproof paper, because grease will penetrate almost anything.
For tea, paste, cucumber, cress or tomato sandwiches and cakes will be sufficient.
A waterproof sheet is invaluable for spreading over the ground in case of dampness. A rug opened over this will make it comfortable for sitting on. If the picnic is to be set out, a table-cloth will be needed.
When Fashion is Unfashionable
Clothing should be simple. Fashion is unfashionable at picnics, to use an apparent Irishism. The following is a list of articles likely to be forgotten:
The childrens milk, plates, cups, saucers, glasses, salt, corkscrew, bottle opener, tin opener, knives, forks, spoons, serviettes, matches, kettle, oil for the stove, and fresh water. A bottle of lotion for midge bites is invaluable. 5
AFTER a long set of tennis in the broiling sun, tea is most acceptable. Lemonade and ices are cooler, but nothing is more refreshing than tea.
Sandwiches of tomato, lettuce, cress and cucumber are without doubt the most popular. Buttered scones and bridge rolls filled with paste and cress or lettuce should also find a place among the eatables. Cakes and fancy biscuits are always included in the menu. Remember that after playing, one is bound to feel hungry, and is expected to eat more than in the ordinary wa r.
Tea is usually served out of doors, where there is plenty of shade, otherwise it is better to have it in the lounge, or the dining-room if this is cooler. But do not expect people to sit round the table; leave them to laze in the easy chairs and on the chesterfield. It is most unpleasant to have to sit round the table as for other meals, and the majority of people dislike it intensely.
Iced lemonade and ices, if procurable, should be handed round at frequent intervals during the evening. Fruit, such as strawberries or raspberries and cream, may also be passed round.
If the tennis party is to last until dark, your visitors will need more than tea. It is not necessary to provide a sit-down meal, and people do not expect it. Ham and tongue sandwiches, sausage rolls, fruit salad served in individual glasses, biscuits, lemonade and coffee are all that is necessary.