Monday, July 24, 2017

Gina Danna shares a Civil War Picnic

Civil War Era Picnics  - Oh my!

In celebration of my upcoming release, Unconditional Surrender, the 2nd book in Hearts Touched By Fire series on the Civil War, I wanted to share with you how the Victorians entertained during the long, hot days of summer.

Today, summertime usually means more free time, more festivities and get-togethers with people going to fireworks, picnics and concerts to name a few. Back during the 19th century, people did many of the same things, though transportation was not as fast as we are used to, so in order to make events more fun, house parties in the South were big affairs, with people arriving at the host’s house and staying for days, even weeks.

But let us look at an event we do today—picnics. Unlike today, with many serving hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, potato salads and much more, the type for the Victorians were more like a multi-course meals served outside — ‘dinner alfresco.’ The following list contains what was available for a party of forty, according to Isabella Beeton, Book of Household Management, 1861.


Sherry to start
Claret for meats
Champagne for desserts
Brandy to finish
36 quarts of ale
72 bottles of ginger-beer
Water is not taken as it ‘can usually be obtained, so it is useless to take it.’
A joint of cold roast beef
A joint of cold boiled beef
Two ribs of lamb
Two shoulders of lamb
Four roast fowls
Two roast ducks
One ham
One tongue
Two lobsters
One piece of collared calf’s head
Eighteen lettuces
Six baskets of salad
Six cucumbers
Stewed fruit well sweetened
Three or four dozen plain pastry biscuits to eat with the stewed fruit
Two dozen fruit turnovers
Four dozen cheesecakes
Two cold puddings in moulds
Two blanc-manges in moulds
A few jam puffs
One large cold plum pudding
A few baskets of fresh fruit
Three dozen plan biscuits
A piece of cheese
Six pounds of butter
Assorted breads
One half pound of tea
Coffee is not suitable for a picnic, being difficult to make

Things not to be forgotten at a picnic –

A stick of horseradish
Bottles of mint-sauce
Salad dressing
Made mustard
Pepper, salt, good oil and pounded sugar

Beverages  -

3 dozen quart bottles of ale
Lemonade of each two dozen bottles
Six bottles of sherry
Six bottles of claret
Champagne a discretion
Any other light wine that may be preferred
Two bottles of brandy

The above is list is overwhelming. They also took china, crystal and silverware, since paperplates, plastic cups and throw-away forks and spoons do not exist. The weight of all this required wagons and the cost? No doubt exorbitant! 

But collard calf’s head? Tongue? And all that alcohol. Wow!


Blurb -
Unconditional Surrender
Hearts Touched By Fire, Vol 2

Confederate Major Charles Silvers has had enough war. After two years of fighting, his view of a glorious Southern victory over the North has lost its luster and been replaced by a burning desire to return home to Virginia and life as it used to be, before the war. When he meets Sarah Lawrence during the siege on Vicksburg, Mississippi, he is convinced the blond-haired beauty could fill the void in his life—but what he does not know is that this Southern belle isn’t what she appears to be…
Tortured by memories of the night in 1860 when masked bushwackers torched her Mississippi home and killed her father, Sarah escaped the South. Now, however, she’s back and seeking revenge. As one of the best spies in the Union Army, she’s in a unique position to get her wish. For her, a Confederate Major, even a devastatingly handsome one, is just the tool to obtain the information the Union needs—even at the cost of her heart. 

Available August 28, 2017


  1. Glad we settled on a the banner as well!

  2. I can't imagine what it must have cost to have that many people over for a picnic because if they stayed for a week you had to feed them for that time too! I guess this is why the box lunch or church social was begun, everyone could bring one thing and share!

    All the best with your book. Looks wonderful!

  3. Great cover and I love that picnic list. At first it looked like it was going to be a "liquid lunch," but there was also plenty of food to go around. Personally, I love mint sauce on peas. Yum!

    1. Sorry, but Google or Blogger did't ID me. Big waving hand to Gina Danna from Sydney J. Baily known by Bloger apparently as "unknown". :)


Authors love to get comments. It's candy to our souls.
Please take the time to leave one.

After 3 days, comments require moderation.