Late Summer Picnic

As you might have figured out by now, I collect all kinds of old household management books – books on cooking, sewing, cleaning, entertaining, and etiquette.  One of my favorite finds (for which I paid a whole dollar!) is the 1941 America’s Housekeeping Book by the New York Herald Tribune Home Institute.

It is full of tips for reconditioning the leather bindings on your books, making tufted rugs out of loops of twine, and matching the stripes on your homemade slip covers.  But what caught my eye on this particular reading was this picture:

picnic scene from 1941

In a 607-page book, this was the ONLY reference to having fun.

As I looked at it, I realized, “Hey!  We still have some of this stuff!”  That’s what comes of not moving around too much.

vintage thermos, coffee pot, serving dishes

Pulled from the family cupboards – a Thermos closed with a cork, early Pyrex, and some enamel ware.

vintage table cloths

Three more of my favorite table cloths – it makes me happy just to look at them.

And just in case the pictures inspire you to really go on a picnic, here is my favorite easy recipe for a tea cake.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of butter
  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 5 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a tube or Bundt pan.

Mix the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.  Cream the butter and cream cheese together, then add the honey and sugar and mix.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat after each egg.  Mix in the dry ingredients.

Pour into pan, bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 300, and bake an additional 40 – 50 minutes.

Options:  If you have some flavored cream cheese spread, you can use that.  I have used a honey/walnut spread, and added cinnamon and nutmeg.

You could also add lemon, butter, or almond flavoring, or 1/4 cup cocoa powder and some mini-chocolate chips.

Notes:  Since I have chickens, I always have a plethora of eggs, and I am always looking for ways to use them up easily.  I love this recipe because it doesn’t involve any separating of eggs or beating of egg whites, as so many cake recipes do.

The cake has a great consistency, like a pound cake.  You can also make it in a loaf pan but bake it an extra 15 or 20 minutes at 300 degrees.  It freezes beautifully too.