Grab that picnic basket and let’s head for a memorable time with the family. At least that was how it was when I was growing up. A picnic was about the closest thing to a “real” vacation that we had.
We were blessed however, to have a couple of good places to go for a picnic. One of my favorites was only about 20 miles from home. Cave Spring, Georgia, had icy cold water in which to put a watermelon in and cool it, but I would advise carrying at least two. I can remember being disappointed in cutting into one and it wasn’t good.
No matter what meat you have for your picnic, whether it’s sliders or a grilled meat, potato salad has always been a favorite side dish. However, some people are afraid to eat it in hot weather. My suggestion is to pack your potato salad in a jar with a tight fitting lid and keep it in your ice chest. From time to time, pour off any water that might accumulate in the ice chest and put more ice in it.
In my opinion, there is no better dessert item than Southern tea cakes. It’s like eating cake with a crunch and is good for any occasion, especially a picnic. Just thinking of these items makes me want to plan for a simple picnic.
Southern Potato Salad
• 4 c. cubed, cooked potatoes
• 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
• Salt and black pepper to taste
• 1/4 c. chopped onion
• 1/4 c. sweet pickle relish
• 1/4 c. chopped bell pepper
• 2 Tbsp. chopped pimiento
• 1 1/3 c. mayonnaise
In a large bowl, combine the cooked potatoes, eggs, salt, black pepper, onion, relish, bell pepper and pimiento. Mix well. Add mayonnaise and stir well. Refrigerate.
Old-Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes
• 4 c. self-rising flour
• 1 1/2 c. sugar
• 1 c. shortening
• 1/2 c. milk
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and beat until well mixed. This will be a sticky, thick mixture. It is easier to roll the dough if it is divided into two or three portions. Spoon out each portion of dough and place it on a well-floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough and carefully form it into a disk. Don’t work too much flour into the dough because you want a crisp (short-type) cookie. Roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Cut with a 3-inch cookie cutter. Place the cookies on as many ungreased cookie sheets as are available, or line the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart. Don’t worry If the cookies are not exactly round because tea cakes don’t have to be uniform in shape. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned on top. These cookies will be slightly darker around the edge. Remove to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.
— Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont, Alabama, has won more than 30 national cooking awards and written several cookbooks, including, “Simply Southern and More.” Write her at email@example.com or visit www.prudencehilburn.com.