1. Deviled egg carrier: Deviled eggs make picnics; truly, these are the details that make the al fresco repast (as in “the devil is in the details!” Or, in this case, the Paleo mayonnaise)! Tupperware’s classic deviled egg carrier is a must for any vintage picnic brought to us by the people who put the ‘P’ in “picnic!” Don’t forget the tiny retro salt and pepper shakers. In fact, any vintage Tupperware used for picnic goodies is very necessary. Here’s a yummy recipe for Classic Deviled Eggs!
2. Vintage Picnic Basket: Windsor Antiques of Ruby Lane offers the Rolls Royce of picnic baskets, c. 1940s-50s. No mere hotdogs would grace this wicker miracle; its menu would involve strictly lobster rolls and caviar. It is only missing one burner but has gold edged milk glass dishes, and Bakelite handled silverware, with a complete set of utensils.
There are complete, miniature child’s picnic baskets, and lithographed tin examples as well as the traditional woven baskets with wooden tops so popular for so many summer gatherings. There are also great antique hampers with handles, mini woven and ceramic baskets fit for dolls and curio shelves, and for those who want a literary atmosphere, many Little Red Riding Hood dolls and figurines carrying picnic baskets for Grandma. Teddy Bear Picnic, anyone?
3. Vintage Thermos: In the old days, picnickers filled their thermoses with iced tea or fresh squeezed lemonade to go with sandwiches, hot dogs, potato salad, and fried chicken. Canned soda just didn’t exist, and bottles were too cumbersome. A great choice would be Aladdin’s Vintage Stanley Thermos by My Grandmother Had One on Ruby Lane. An American Thermos Bottle Co. Carafe might lend a little elegance to an outdoor picnic on a cool, Sunny spring day. For those who love whimsy, there is the Aladdin Paris and Poodles pink thermos, or an assortment of Barbie and other character thermoses made for children’s lunch boxes.
4. A Great Vintage Tablecloth: Whether spread on the grass or on a picnic table, a great table cloth sets the tone for a great picnic. Red French damask, red gingham, vintage floral patterns or fun novelty prints, all of them add to the ambiance. For elegant breakfasts that require sumptuous splendor in the grass, old lace, hand embroidered, or crocheted cloths are tops. For collecting, there are many printed, themed paper tablecloths produced by Hallmark and American Greetings.
5. Vintage Plastic Picnic Plates, Cups, and Utensils: Colorful Melamine and plastic tableware somehow make the food taste better outdoors. Potato salad just doesn’t taste the same on porcelain plates! Time Machine Collectibles offers 1940s multicolored Gotham plastic picnic ware that fairly glows in the sunlight. Kitsch and Couture offers a perfect set of white Melamine stackable cups. Prairieland Antiques has a great red check Thermo-serve ice bucket that would go great with the aforementioned red check table cloth! With a little imagination, one could repurpose a vintage chocolate confetti Melmac school lunch tray as a picnic dish. If you’re looking, Copperton Lane Antiques and Collectibles has one.
Of course, there are many things that can make a vintage picnic like Pyrex containers and Dixie cups, silk and fresh flower bouquets, Coleman camp stoves, and long wooden sticks for roasting marshmallows and making S’mores. The list seems endless, endless as the long, hot days of summer that beg for picnics and long, cool drinks!
About the author: Ellen Tsagaris has collected dolls since she was three years old. She has made dolls, priced dolls, repaired, dressed, and studied dolls. She has set up at craft shows and presented papers on dolls and their history at the Midwest Modern Language Association. She is the author of several articles on dolls that have appeared in Doll Reader, National Doll World, Doll Designs, International Doll World, Hope and Glory, Doll News, Adventures, and The Western Doll Collector. She is the author of two books about dolls, Bibliography of Doll and Toy Sources and With Love from Tin Lizzie; A History of Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls, and Automatons. An active blogger, she features two blogs about dolls, Dr. E’s Doll Museum, and Doll Museum. She lectures on dolls for various organizations and has displayed part of her collection in museums.
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