Historical Produce

From Gazette editions of August, 1935:

There is a certain citizen whose name must remain unknown, who will not clamor for cakes made with ducks’ eggs in the future. For lo these many years he has preached the doctrine of a cake flavored with the eggs of the domestic black, the Muscovy and the snowy Pekin, but never again. A day or so since, his good wife decided to humor him, and mixed up a cake with great care, meanwhile sending the man of the house to hunt up a fresh-laid duck egg with which to add the crowning touch to the pastry. At the crucial moment, he returned with the egg, which the lady took, held over the batter and carefully broke. The afore-mentioned citizen started for the hazy distance when he beheld a duckling drop out of the shell, and he speaks no more about ducks’ eggs at home.

We know of a number of Vineyarders who looked with unusual interest at Mrs. Emily Post’s recent discussion of picnics in her weekly newspaper series, Good Taste Today. In view of Mrs. Post’s summer vacations on the Vineyard, it seemed likely that the subject of picnics would be brought closely home. The article turned out to be no prescription of etiquette for the picnicker — such as instructions how to eat clams, or how to get the last two olives out of the bottle without seeming to be unduly concerned — but an application of common sense. To some of us, picnics and common sense seem irreconcilable. Indeed, there are outspoken vacationists who insist that if one has sense he will take his meals entirely without sand, mosquitoes, ants or ivy poisoning, which is to say at home or in a restaurant.

We have no such prejudice against the picnic, knowing how inspiring beach parties and suppers in moonlit groves can be. But it must be granted that the picnic is a mixed up affair, all too likely to end in fatigue and ill temper. Think of a picnic and you visualize sticky things with sand in them, unequal combat with nature’s principal annoyances, and extremely dirty and shrill children. Or don’t you? Perhaps you have already applied Mrs. Post’s principles of simplicity. If the picnic as an institution is to be preserved these principles are most necessary. Begin a picnic emotionally and you are undone. The intellect must be busy from the outset.

Mrs. Post, we gather, would not shut down absolutely on sand and mosquitoes, which shows she knows what she is about. But she would institute rational foresight and a limiting of the picnic to its proper scope. As one detail, for instance, she understands that individual picnickers are not to be trusted to make their own sandwiches. What grief would be avoided if everyone knew that.

Just a few weeks ago some anonymous enemy of man uttered again the advice that steamed clams should be eaten with a fork. This is the last word in one school of picnic, beach party and clambake doctrine. We are glad that Mrs. Post is on the other side.

Friday will be the Vineyard’s first Market Day — a demonstration and test of a cooperative system which may restore Island agriculture to a place of greater importance in the support of its people — and the fair grounds in West Tisbury will be well stocked with everything which is produced here. Produce of farm, orchard and garden will be brought and the public may come at will. The widest participation is desired to make it a success.

Other Vineyard products are to be on view and on sale. Ship models, weather vanes are to be included. The Art Workers’ Guild will have a counter inside the hall for the display of needlework, rugs and Island-made things. There will be displays of cakes and pastry, pies, preserves and rolls.

With a prosperous basic industry and money passing into the hands of producers, it is felt the Island will have a backlog against hard times and unpaid bills.

Chappaquiddick, home of independence and oppressed minorities, is again showing signs of unrest. The Chappaquiddick Associates, an unpretentious organization with no elected officers or long list of enrolled members, is meeting to consider improvements on the island. The group is made up of taxpayers for the most part, although by no means entirely summer residents. The group will meet tomorrow at the schoolhouse to discuss questions of parking, fire control and roads. The following communication has been sent to the Gazette:

“The summer residents and taxpayers of Chappaquiddick have borne with much amiability and patience the indifference of Edgartown proper to their comfort and safety, but even as the worm will turn, so the Chappaquiddick Association has held several meetings to formulate a statement of the necessities they wish to bring to the attention of the Edgartown authorities. A committee has been appointed to draft a statement for presentation of essential needs.”

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner