1920 Tip: Use Paper Cups to Hold Picnic Salads

potato salad in a paper cupCooks have shared tips across the years. A hundred years ago Good Housekeeping magazine had a tips column called Discoveries. Readers could submit tips, and were paid one dollar for each tip that was used.

Here’s a tip for how to serve salads at a picnic:

Picnic Salad

When going on little picnic suppers – especially in a machine, where one eats by the roadside or in the car seat – individual paper drinking cups are most satisfactory as containers for salads. The salad may be packed in the individual paper cups and garnished attractively with a sprig of parsley in one side. They always call forth favorable comments and are not messy to handle and each person has his own portion easily handed out.  – Mrs. R.H., D.C.

Good Housekeeping (June, 1920)

29 thoughts on “1920 Tip: Use Paper Cups to Hold Picnic Salads

  1. Still a good idea but we’ve come full circle and are now using (re-using) seal-able plastic or glass containers! I imagine the paper cup was a luxury item as was the “machine”!

    1. It’s fascinating how this has come full circle. I hadn’t thought about it before, but I bet you are right that paper cups were luxury items a hundred years ago.

    1. Good point – I wonder how the paper cups filled with salad were transported. I’m thinking that maybe the filled paper cups were put in a box (maybe a shoe box -since people reused boxes back then), and some crumpled paper was used to keep the cups upright. I’m not sure how the cups would have been covered since plastic wrap wasn’t around a hundred years ago. Maybe the filled cups were just covered with a towel or the box lid. The box could then be put in a picnic basket.

        1. I hadn’t even thought about that – but keeping it cold also would have been very important – especially if the salad had a mayonnaise-based dressing. Back then mayonnaise spoiled quickly if not kept cold because of the egg in it. At family reunions when I was a child, I remember people always worrying about whether salads with mayonnaise in them were okay to eat.

    1. Yes, it would work well. There are some really fun paper cups in the paper party goods section at stores. I thought about buying a pack of them to use for when I did this post – but ended up just using a paper cup that I had on hand.

    1. I’m going to have to pay attention when I read other articles in old magazines. Male prounouns may have sometimes been used generically to refer to everyone a hundred years ago.

    1. Your list looks pretty complete. There were motorcycles a hundred years ago, but I can’t picture going on a picnic that includes a salad on a motorcycle.

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