June 2, 2016

Civil War Era Egg Sandwich: A Picnic Recipe

"My fellow-passengers were two pleasant, elderly ladies, who pressed egg sandwiches upon me."
-Bentley's Miscellany, 1857

This recipe was cooked for the Historical Food Fortnightly. A yearly challenge that encourages bloggers to cook a historical food every two weeks. It was difficult finding foods expressly for picnics, which was the challenge for this week. Bread and chicken were mentioned in many accounts as well as fresh fruit and tea. Alansa Rounds Sterrett in her wartime diary recounts a picnic in May:
"Very warm. I sewed at 0. F. Hall all day. Excellent picnic dinner down stairs, -- chicken sandwiches, pickles, pies, cakes, &c. and coffee. Henry Seig brought up to the sewing room 4 long strips. I basted, Aunt S. did machine work. Done and sent away before six. Evening, rested."
I feel silly that this recipe is so simple but I thought it was redundant to post how to make bread or hard boiled eggs.

The Challenge: Picnic Foods (May 20 - June 2) Some foods are just meant to be eaten in the outdoors! Concoct a dish that is documented for al fresco dining, or foods that might particularly lend themselves to eating at a picnic. Bonus points for putting it to the test!

The Recipe:

The Date/Year and Region:
1860s US or England

- 2 Slices of Bread
- Butter
- Pepper
- Salt
- Nutmeg
- 2 Eggs, Hard Boiled

How Did You Make It: 

I made my own bread but for a quick event, store bought bread would be fine. I only boiled my eggs for about 6 minutes as I thought the less chalky yolk would taste better. I peeled my eggs and sliced them. Buttered the bread and sprinkled a bit of salt, pepper and nutmeg then laid my slices of egg on.

Time to Complete: 10 minutes after the bread was baked.

Total Cost: I had everything on hand but imagine it would be less than $5 of actual ingredients.

How Successful Was It?: Surprisingly not bad. I was a little put off by the lack of mayonnaise and thought the addition of nutmeg would be odd. It's not bad as long as you aren't expecting an egg salad sandwich and the nutmeg was a surprising, tangy addition I never would have thought of.

How Accurate Is It?: Followed the recipe as close as possible.

Henry O'Neil. A Picnic, 1857 Civil War Era Picnic

Henry O'Neil. A Picnic, 1857

Independence Day Picnic 1862

The Picnic on a Clifftop, Frederick James Shields

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