Dinners on the Square

hat do you take for your Concerts on the Square MEAL?

As we celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of this beloved community event, it seems only appropriate to talk about one of the best parts about it—the food.

I recently sat down with Carolyn White, who along with the late Patsy Kabaker chaired the committee that put together the Picnics on the Square cookbook in 1995. We chatted about Concerts on the Square, and like many longtime Madison residents, we have an abundance of memories of soft summer evenings on the lawn of the Capitol listening to the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra with friends and food.

Carolyn shared several recipes from the cookbook. I thought the tenderloin and mock Baby Ruth bars would be appealing, and that both would be easy additions to many a concert supper this season. Whatever you take for your Wednesday-night repast, reflect for just a minute on the thousands of meals eaten in the shadow of the Capitol accompanied by beautiful music. Aren’t we lucky?  


1 beef tenderloin4 tablespoons butter, softened1/2 cup green onions, sliced4 tablespoons soy sauce2 teaspoons Dijon mustardDash fresh ground pepper1 cup dry sherry


Spread tenderloin with 2 tablespoons butter. Put on rack in shallow pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees, for 20 minutes. Cook green onions in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add soy sauce, mustard, pepper and sherry. Heat just to boiling. Pour over tenderloin. Bake another 20–25 minutes for rare. Baste frequently. For sandwiches, chill. Slice thin. Serve with condiments on hard rolls.


2/3 cup margarine1 cup brown sugar1/4 cup corn syrup1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter1 teaspoon vanilla4 cups oatmeal2 cups chocolate chips1 cup butterscotch chips2/3 cup peanut butter1 cup salted peanuts 


Melt first three ingredients. Add 1/4 cup peanut butter and vanilla. Pour over oatmeal. Mix well. Press into greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 14 minutes (until just starts to turn color.) Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips. Add peanut butter, blend and add peanuts. Pour over baked crust. Cool and cut. Yield: 4 dozen

Nancy Lynch is a self-taught cook from a family of foodies. E-mail your questions, comments or recipe requests to .