The picnic lunch affords an opportunity for much thought and display in one's ability to prepare an appetizing cold meal. The fact that the food must be in such form that it may be easily carried limits the variety.
Sandwiches play the most important part on the picnic menu.
Everyone is hungry, and while fruit is refreshing and sweets are relished, after all it is the sandwich which makes the lunch, and there should be several varieties.
Bread is better which is a day old. The dark breads, such as graham, rye, Boston brown bread, and the various nut breads made with baking powder, all offer variety. Always cream butter well before putting upon the bread. It will spread evenly and there will be no waste. It is easier to spread butter on the bread before cutting each slice. But if the sandwiches are to be cut in various fancy shapes do not butter the bread until after it is cut, otherwise there will be a waste of butter.
Cut bread very thin and try to put the slices together in pairs if the filling is not added at once. If sandwiches are to be cut in various fancy shapes, do not butter the bread until after it has been cut or there will be a waste of butter. Wrap sandwiches in waxed paper or wring a napkin out of hot water and wrap around the prepared sandwiches; then pack in a box closely covered and keep in as cool a place as possible. If the crusts of bread are to be removed set aside and later dry them out in a moderate oven, roll and put in covered jars to be used for breading croquettes, fish, etc., or for scalloped dishes. To make rolled sandwiches remove all the crust from a fresh loaf of white bread and wrap the loaf in a damp cloth for several hours, keeping in a cool place.
Cut in thin slices lengthwise, spread with creamed butter and whatever filling desired and roll as for a jelly roll, fastening together with a toothpick. If the loaf of bread is large, 1 slice will make 2 sandwich rolls. Wrap it in a waxed paper. If sliced, cooked meat is to be used as a filling, it should be very tender and be sliced as thin as possible, and then each slice of meat should be cut in several pieces. However, finely chopped meat is the best, put through a food chopper or chopped in a chopping bowl. All meat sandwich fillings should be well seasoned. For corned beef use prepared mustard; for roast beef, either Worcestershire sauce or horseradish; for tongue, a thick mayonnaise and finely chopped pickles; for mutton or lamb, add tomato catsup and chopped capers; for chopped ham, a thick mayonnaise well seasoned with mustard.
The different relishes make excellent seasoning for meat sandwiches. Picalilli, chow-chow, chopped olives, walnut catsup, etc., all add flavor and variety. For salad sandwiches make a very thick well-seasoned mayonnaise and have the salad ingredients cut fine. Lettuce should be very crisp and each leaf well dried before placing on the bread. Relishes such as olives, pickles, radishes, celery or salted nuts are very easy to carry. Sweets may be provided in cake, cookies, doughnuts or sweet sandwiches.
If the sandwiches are to be kept several hours before serving, wrap them in oiled paper, or wring a napkin as dry as possible out of hot water and wrap about the prepared sandwiches, keeping them as cool as possible.
Coffee is easily managed by using the powdered, prepared type which needs only hot water to make. Sugar and powdered or canned milk are easily carried. If lemonade is to be used, extract the lemon juice, make a syrup of sugar and water, allowing 1/4 cup of sugar for each lemon and enough hot water to dissolve it; boil 1 minute and add lemon juice, bottle. Add cold water when wanted. Never pack fish sandwiches near other food, and be sure each article of food is well wrapped or packed so that it will not come in contact with other foods. Much of the success of the picnic lunch depends upon the appearance of the food, so careful packing is a necessity.