Sunday, 6 July 2008

The Edwardian picnic

Gamage's 1914 catalogue not only offered the superb Adult Trailer with lunch basket, but also provided a range of foods (or in its own words, 'High-class Table Delicacies') for the picnic. One could choose from real turtle, hare or kidney soup in tins or bottles, galantine of boar's head with pistachio kernels, a whole ox tongue in a large-size glass ('An ideal "piece-de-resistance" for Camp Storage'), or the mysterious Camp Pie (filling unspecified).

Condiments might include Noels' Parmesan Cheese (Grated) in a bottle, 'Specially recommended for Country Use', Royal Naval Chutney, or Salad Cream (Parisian). For the more adventurous palate, a range of foreign foods included 'Gastronomes Specialities ... much sought after, being greatly used in High-class restaurants ... at prices much below the ordinary foreign produce shops.' After all, what gastronome could resist 'Tunny Fish in oil, tomato, herbs or truffle' in a round glass? Alternatively, jars of 'Sardines des Aristocrates' came in 'Truffle, Lemon or Curry'. Yum.

Sadly, desserts were rather limited - but one could have 'Gordon & Dilworth's tart fruits in Vacuum Bottles' or jams prepared from 'rich ripe Fruits and maple Sugar'. And how else to end the meal but with coffee made from Cafe Liqueur, 'a pure rich Coffee with an irresistibly delicate flavour made in liquid form for the sake of convenience', with which 'any maid can make Coffee and Milk (Cafe au Lait) or Black Coffee (Cafe Noir) to perfection in two minutes.' Best make sure to take the 'Camp Kettle. Strong tin.' And the maid.

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