Dinners and Luncheons: Novel Suggestions for Social Occasions by Pierce, Paul
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Dinners and Luncheons
Dinners and Luncheons
NOVEL SUGGESTIONS FOR SOCIAL OCCASIONS.
Compiled by PAUL PIERCE
Editor and Publisher of _What To Eat_, the National Food Magazine. Superintendent of Food Exhibits at the St. Louis World's Fair. Honorary Commissioner of Foods at the Jamestown Exposition.
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BREWER, BARSE & COMPANY CHICAGO
Copyrighted 1907 by PAUL PIERCE.
_Respectfully dedicated to the overworked, perturbed American hostess in the sincere hope that the suggestions herein may lighten her perplexities and transform her work of entertaining from a task of dread to one of delight._
This little book is the first of a series containing suggestions for entertaining, which will give the hostess novel and practical ideas on the manner of preparing and conducting various social affairs. There is also another volume on Parties and Entertainments, one on Suppers, and another on Breakfasts and Teas and a fifth on Weddings and Wedding Celebrations. These volumes, it should be remembered, have been compiled by the publisher of What To Eat, The National Food Magazine, America's leading publication upon entertainments, dinners, menus, recipes and the other subjects of importance to the hostess.
With the exercise of a little ingenuity and originality, the directions may be varied--added to or altered--to suit all needs. This first book is designed especially to describe those dinners and luncheons which, while complete in themselves, also afford the best suggestions for others.
CHAPTER I. Dinner Giving for the Convenience of Busy Housewives--Upon the Serving of Wines.
CHAPTER II. How to Send the Invitation--How to Serve in Proper Form Dinners and Luncheons With Menus and Recipes--The Invitation--Dinner Menus--Simple Menu--More Elaborate Menu--A Full Course Dinner--The Ease of a Course Dinner--A Fine Menu--A Mid-Summer Dinner--Luncheon Menus--Simple Luncheon--More Elaborate Luncheon--A Berry Luncheon--Mid-Summer Luncheon--A Rural Luncheon--Buffet Luncheon for Sixty.
CHAPTER III. Dinners and Entertainments for Patriotic, Holiday and Special Occasions--Valentine Luncheon--A Lincoln Dinner--For St. Patrick's Day--Attractive Easter Luncheon--Cap and Bells Luncheon for April First--Decoration Day Luncheon--For a Hallowe'en Dinner--A Fourth of July Dinner--A Luncheon for Thanksgiving--Thanksgiving Dinner--A Christmas Dinner--An unusually Original Dinner--A Spring Dinner--College Dinners.
CHAPTER IV. "Ice Breakers," Suggestions for Dinner, Menu and Place Cards, Table Stories, Toasts, Table Decorations.
CHAPTER V. Helps Over Hard Places--Hints to the Hostess--Don'ts for the Table--The Emergency Mistress--Passing the Loving Cup.
DINNER-GIVING FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF BUSY HOUSEWIVES.
Three things are required to give an enjoyable dinner party; good taste, good judgment and an intuitive sense of harmony. Good taste suggests the proper thing in table dressing, in menu cards, in viands and beverages. Good judgment dictates the fortunate time, the appropriate guests, the seasonable dishes and topics; and last, a sense of harmony is the quality that throws a glamour over all, combining pleasant parts in one symmetrical whole, making a picture "distinct like the billows, but one like the sea." This sense of harmony never yokes uncongenial persons at table, except through unavoidable necessity. It is on the alert to suggest congenial topics and deftly turn the conversation away from disputed or disagreeable ones. It will often succeed in putting a garrulous and self-assertive man who likes to talk all the time, beside a mild and inoffensive woman who is content if she has naught to do but listen and--eat. It will swell the heart of a silent man with gratitude by reversing this action and placing beside him a woman who chatters like a magpie. It will often turn the stupid guest, who for various reasons will, in spite of all, occasionally appear at the best of tables, over to an intimate friend to whom a sacrifice for the sake of the host or hostess is a pleasure thus saving the formal guest and maintaining the reputation of the household for excellent management. In fact this sense of harmony is the essence that permeates and vitalizes the entire proceedings and assures success to the hostess, because it guarantees pleasure to the guests.
Nervousness, annoyance, anxiety on the part of the host or hostess during the serving of dinner are the deadly foes of enjoyment. If you feel these, therefore avoid showing them as you would avoid doing any other act sure to bring discomfort to those you are entertaining. Nothing conduces more to the enjoyment of guests than the fact that the host is sharing the enjoyment. What if some servant blunders or some dish is spoiled! It is aggravating, of course, but in most cases it will afford amusement if the host regards the blunder good naturedly. Of course no lady or gentleman will lose temper under such circumstances. Such an exhibition would be unspeakably vulgar; but there ought not to be even a display of irritation or a pursuing of the subject beyond a passing and good natured remark.
There is, however, a tendency on the part of too many hosts to fix their thoughts intently on the dinner and the way it is served. They try to show an interest in the conversation, while throwing furtive glances at the servants and taking occasion to communicate orders or complaints in asides. It is far better to say, "John, give Mr. Black some wine," than to communicate the order by nods and winks as if you were secretly ashamed to have Black know that you were observing his consumption of fluids, or were trying to get him intoxicated surreptitiously. Really, of the two evils, it is better to be too inattentive--to let a course wait even--than to be on the alert, watching the dilatory eater and summoning the servant the moment he lays down his knife.
A young housekeeper in medium circumstances should never attempt too much, too large a number of guests or too many courses. It is always best to practice the dishes before, in fact, if exquisite cooking and cooking even on the smallest scale, is the daily habit, no company, however large, can upset the hostess or her domestics.
And a woman who cultivates the art of little dinners soon becomes famous; men admire her and envy her husband, women dote on her, for an invitation means brightness and merriment as well as a congenial companion. The young married woman who is expert in blending sauces, is just as clever in mixing the human elements of attraction and amalgamation.
Refreshments, daintily served, stimulate conversation; ice cream breaks the ice, so to speak, and warms the company. Serving food is a visible demonstration of hospitality which all the philosophy in the world cannot cover.
Gorgeous ornamentation of dinner table is conceded to be bad form. The embellishment--the ornate, if you will--has been overdone, and now there is a reaction which tends to simplicity extreme expressed by a handsome centerpiece and a moderate exposition of not common flowers.
A different kind and color of china with every course is affected by those whose cabinet is crowded and who are proud of it, but this pride has its limitations among people of refinement and culture. This class does not give dinners simply to exhibit earthly treasure and create envy, and, perhaps, covetousness, too.
The larger the table napkin the better. A yard square is none too big, and pleasantly recalls the Parisians, whose liberality in damask is proverbial but not a characteristic in anything else. The material should be the best obtainable, and the design the most beautiful. Any lace edging or embroidery, plain or colored, is just as bad taste as quinine.
Knives, forks and spoons now-a-days, for almost everything, are somewhat confusing to those who do not dine out with sufficient frequency to keep up with the continually advancing procession. Some of these knives, forks and spoons are quite unnecessary, not to say silly, but the business of the silversmith must be considered.
Place cards at dinners should be retained because the host or hostess has had them prepared in expectation of their being retained and preserved as _souvenirs_. Ignoring them would be disrespect, and such disrespect, under the social circumstances, would be unpardonable.
In planning a regular dinner the fact should always be remembered, that a heavy soup will so far cloy the appetite as to render one indifferent to the rest of the dinner, while a clear soup refreshes, and prepares one for the enjoyment of the succeeding solids. The fish and entrees should not be substantial enough to satisfy hunger entirely; the relishes will then stimulate the appetite for the heavier dishes. The service of Roman Punch before the roast refreshes the palate, and prepares it for the more perfect enjoyment of the succeeding dishes; it is as necessary to the service of a good dinner as cheese is with plain salad. When olives are on the table, they go well with _entrees_ of game; French chestnuts boiled, are excellent with poultry; and almonds, blanched and roasted with salt, are enjoyable with Madeira or Sherry before the sweet _entrements_. Only a plain vegetable salad should accompany the roast or game; and a bit of any old cheese may be passed with the salad. Cheese straws or cheese crusts may be served with the salad. Although the cheese belongs with the salad, it enters into some delicate dishes, such as _fondus and souffles_, which may come to the table either after the oysters or soup, as relishes, or before the large sweets at dessert, previous to the service of the nuts and fruit. Then comes the dessert. If the dinner is a small one it is perfectly permissible for the hostess to make the coffee at the table, or it may be served in the drawing-room later. Even with the best chosen _menu_, the success of a dinner depends on the skill of the cook. A good cook appreciates the value of sauces, and will give much care to their preparation, and, above all, will endeavor to preserve the natural flavors of the different dishes. All mingling of flavors is objectionable, except in sauces and salads.
First Course Dishes.--Following are the names of the different courses which make up the detail of the regular dinner, both the English and French names being given. The complete detail of service is indicated, so that the most inexperienced can succeed. THE SHELLFISH (_Huitres_), includes small raw oysters, and little neck or hard-shell clams on the half-shell at the same time, brown bread, cut very thin and buttered, and cut lemons, salt, cayenne, and some sharp table-sauces are placed upon the table in the original bottles. THE SOUP (_Potage_) is varied according to the character of the dinner, either a perfectly clear soup, or _consomme_, and the other a rich thick one, such as a _bisque_ or cream. A thick cut of bread, or a roll with crisp crust, is placed upon the napkin when the cover, or place, is laid; this is not eaten with the soup usually, but is generally used after it with the shell-fish, hot _entree_, or at any time during dinner. THE FISH (_Poisson_) may be of any large kind, boiled or baked, and served with a good sauce and plain boiled potatoes. If shell-fish is used at this point of the dinner, this dish should be large and hot, like broiled lobster. THE RELISHES (_Hors d'oeuvre_), which are placed upon the table as part of the decoration in the American dinner and the service _a la Russe_, include all kinds of table-sauces and catsups, salted almonds, pickles, olives, caviare, _vinaigrettes_, small cold _entrees_, such as _bouchees_ and _pate-de-foie-gras_, pickled fish and small tongues, and individual escalops; all these are arranged on the table in little dishes. THE REMOVES (_Releves_) consist of boiled, baked and braised meats, poultry and large game, large veal, ham, game and cold ornamental fish pies and large cold joints, such as boiled tongue and ham, generally served with a garnish of vegetables; the remove at a small dinner may consist of an elaborately dressed cold fish, if the regular fish service has been omitted. THE SIDE-DISHES (_Entrees_) are the small hot meats garnished, such as cutlets, chops breaded or larded, sweetbreads garnished, _fricandeaux_, _fricassees_, _ragouts_ and _escalopes_, all hot; hot raised pies, _patés_, and _rissoles_, combination salads of vegetables, salads with _mayonnaise_, such as chicken and lobster; in brief, any dish in size less than a joint or a roast. ROMAN PUNCH (_Sorbet_). There are many delicious ices served under the general name of Roman Punch, all having a combination of frozen fruit-sherbet and some fine _liqueur_, cordial, wine or spirit; served in the midst of the dinner, when the palate needs the sense of refreshment they impart to it; they prepare it for renewed enjoyment, and render it capable of appreciating the intense flavor of the roast and the _bouquet_ of the Burgundy or Champagne that follow these. THE ROAST (_Roti_). For family dinners the roast may be a joint of any meat preferred; but for special occasions it should be of venison, larded hare, or some large game bird. If wild duck is served, there should be more than one, because only the breast is carved; when canvas-backs are used, half a breast cut in one piece is helped to each guest. Smaller birds, either roasted or broiled, may be served in this course. All game should be underdone. A garnish of watercress or celery is used with birds, and always currant-jelly and special sauces should come to the table with venison and hare. SALAD (_Salade_). A green salad is the proper accompaniment of the roast; it may be watercress, lettuce, celery, chiccory, _escarole_, burnet, nasturtium (leaves, fruit and flowers), corn-salad, dandelion, tarragon, fennel, mint, young onions and any of the green sweet herbs; the five first named varieties are the most generally used. Sometimes tomatoes and cucumbers are served here in this, although they more properly belong, the cucumbers with the fish; and the tomatoes with a _mayonnaise_ among the cold _entrees_. The best dressing for a green salad is of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; a salad with _mayonnaise_ belongs among the cold _entrees_, as do the salads of cold cooked vegetables. A little old, rich cheese may be served with the green salad if desired.
DESSERT (_Dessert_). The dessert consists of the small cold sweets, such as _eclairs_, fancy cakes called _petits-fours_, confectionery, candied fruits, nuts, individual moulded jellies, ices and creams, _glaces_ and _cafe noir_. When the dessert is divided in two parts, the dishes called _glaces_ or ices are served first; these include every sweet which can be crystalized, frozen or iced; after them comes the dessert proper, composed of candied and dry fruits, nuts, bonbons and little fancy cakes, or _petit-fours_, with the cheese and coffee at the last.
In preparing the various dishes for the dinner which can be made ready in advance, either uncooked or for cold service, the oysters or clams on the half-shell are to be kept on the ice until just before the dinner is announced; they are then to be arranged on appropriate plates and set at each cover, the oyster-plate being placed on a large dinner plate, which is to be removed with it when the hot plate is placed for the soup or fish. A bit of lemon is to be put in the center of the oyster plate, six half-shells with oysters being served on each plate (except in California, where one can consume at least a dozen of the small delicious native bivalves). The small oyster-fork is laid either upon the plate or beside it on the table. After the shell-fish are eaten, the guest leaves the fork upon the plate so that it can be removed with it. Plates of brown bread, cut very thin and buttered, are placed upon the table with the shell-fish, and removed with them. If this bread is intended for use with the salad, it should be served in one compartment of a fancy basket or dish; the other divisions containing biscuit, crackers, old cheese, olives and small relishes. The basket containing the bread, etc., should be removed from the table with the salad. All plates are removed from and the various dishes passed at the guest's left hand; the wine is poured at the right. Hot plates are served with all the dishes except _foie-gras_, caviare, salads, and the cold sweets. Great care should be exercised in preparing the dishes in the kitchen, and in bringing them to the table in a perfectly neat condition. The soup should not fill the tureen so far as to endanger spilling. The dishes for fish should be suited in size and shape to the contents. If the fish is boiled, it should be served unbroken, on a napkin laid in the appropriate platter, and garnished with a few sprigs of fresh parsley or slices of lemon, the sauce being served in a sauce-boat; if sauce is served on the dish with the fish, only enough to cover the center of the dish should be used, and the fish laid on it; the rest is served in a sauce-boat. _Entrees_ should be very neatly arranged with the proper garnishes, with only sauce enough to surround them, but not to reach the edge of the dish. Very little gravy, or none at all, should be on the dish with joints, as it is likely to be spilled in carrying; and the dish should be deep enough to contain all that may flow from the cut meat.
UPON THE SERVING OF WINES.
If only two kinds of wine are served, sherry should accompany the soup and fish courses, and either claret or champagne brought on with the roast, and served throughout the remainder of the dinner.
For the ten course dinner, cut glass goblets filled with water and crushed ice are placed at the right of each plate, about ten or twelve inches from the edge of the table. With these are grouped sauterne, sherry, rhinewine, claret, champagne, burgundy and liqueur glasses. The goblet of water remains in place throughout the dinner, being refilled at intervals.
First Course. With the oysters, a glass of sauterne is the most appropriate accompaniment. This should be served in light green glasses, poured from native bottles, which have been cooled to 52 degrees Fahrenheit, but never iced. When the oyster plates are taken away, the sauterne glasses should also be removed.
Second Course. With the soup, sherry, slightly cooled, should be served from a decanter, and poured into small white stem glasses, flaring slightly at the top. The sherry glasses should be removed after this course.
Third Course. With the hors d'oeuvres, which may consist of cold side dishes, such as canapés, caviar, or anchovies, or of hot dishes, such as timbales, croustades or bouchees; and
Fourth Course. Of fish, rhine wine is served from original bottles cooled to 52 degrees, and poured into long stemmed, light green glasses.
Fifth Course. With the entree, claret is served from a decanter having a handle and poured into pure white glasses, never colored. The temperature of the claret should be from 65 to 75 degrees, at least thirteen degrees warmer than other wines.
Sixth Course. With the roast, champagne is served from native bottles, as cold as possible, but not iced. The usual champagne glasses are saucer-shaped stem glasses, although some prefer a goblet shape, one size larger than a claret glass.
Seventh Course. A sherbet. With this cooling refreshment, regular sherbet glasses (small glass cups with handles) are necessary.
Eighth Course. Game with salad should be accompanied with burgundy, slightly warm, at 65 or 70 degrees, served from native bottles in wicker basket, poured into plain crystal glasses. After the eighth course the table is cleared for the first time of all plates, knives and forks, leaving only the water goblets, champagne and liqueur glasses before the guests. All crumbs are carefully swept away, and dessert spoons and forks laid for the
Ninth Course. With this course champagne is the favorite beverage in every country. After the dessert plates, forks and spoons are removed, a finger-bowl partly filled with water is placed before each guest, on plate having upon it a doily, a fruit knife and a nut pick (if fruits and nuts are to be served). After the fruits, cognac and liqueurs, such as annisette, benedictine, chartreuse or kummel, are served in miniature decanters, without handles, and poured into tiny thimble-shaped glasses, which should match the decanters, either plain or colored, cut or in striking gold effects. Creme de menthe is served on shaved ice in a special bowl-shaped glass, from a highly decorated small decanter either of white or colored glass without a handle.
Sherry, port and madeira are improved by being decantered several hours before using. In winter, the decanters should be dipped in warm water or otherwise warmed.
All possible care should be taken in handling and decanting wines in order not to disturb the deposit which may exist in the bottle. Nearly all wines precipitate a sediment which sometimes resembles sand or white crystals. Its presence is rather a mark of superiority than inferiority in the quality of the wine. This deposit, however, if shaken, destroys the brilliancy of the wine, and impairs its flavor and bouquet.
Lighter wines, such as bordeaux and most Italian wines, should be decanted only an hour before dinner, and brought into the dining room as late as possible before using. Sauterne, rhine wine, burgundy and champagne should be served from the original bottles, which should be stood up on end at least twenty-four hours before serving, to give the sediment time to settle at the bottom. The cork should be very carefully drawn without shaking the bottle, the bottle slowly tilted, and the clear wine gently poured out. A small quantity of wine containing the sediment should be left in the bottle. Putting ice in the wine glass will spoil the flavor of any fine wine.
A few drops of wine should first be poured into the host's glass, before serving the guests. If a toast to the health of any one present be proposed, the guest in whose honor the toast is given, must not drink, but should acknowledge the compliment with a smile and bow of thanks. The etiquette in regard to the German custom of clinking glasses is very well defined. One must hold the wine glass by the stem, being careful not to touch the bowl with the fingers. Convention also requires that one must look the person with whom one clinks glasses in the eye, and not at the wine, as one unfamiliar with this custom is very apt to do.
HOW TO SEND THE INVITATION--HOW TO SERVE IN PROPER FORM DINNERS AND LUNCHEONS WITH MENUS AND RECIPES.
Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Brown request the pleasure of Mr and Mrs. Jones' company at Dinner, on Wednesday, January 17, at seven o'clock.
16 Overton Street, January 2.
The invitation should be addressed to the lady invited as "Mrs. George W. Jones."
Mr. and Mr. George W. Jones accept with pleasure Mr. and Mrs. Brown's kind invitation to Dinner, on Wednesday, January 17, at seven o'clock.
268 West Avenue, January 3.
Address envelope to "Mrs. Reuben Brown."
These are for formal dinners. If the dinner is an informal affair, a simple note addressed to the wife, asking her and her husband to dine is sufficient.
When the guests have arrived the servant in charge should announce the dinner to the lady of the house.
The host takes the lady who is to sit at his right, and leads the way. The hostess brings up the rear with the guest who is to occupy the same position at her right.
Cards, with the name of the guest are usually placed at each place.
The custom now is for the servant to pass the dishes to each guest, the meats, etc., being carved into convenient size for the purpose. They are passed to the left side of the guests. All dishes, glasses, etc., not again required on the table, should be removed when the dessert is served.
The forks, knives and glasses to be used, should be placed on the table at the first setting. For formal dinners usually three or four forks, including an oyster fork, and three knives, including a silver one for the fish course, if fish is served.
A napkin is neatly folded and placed on the plate with a small piece of bread partly folded within it, if soup is served.
_Sardine Canapés,_ _Cream of Asparagus, Croutons, Celery,_ _Pimolas, Salted Pecans, Deviled Crabs in Shell,_ _Fried Sweetbread, Macaroni, Tomato Sauce,_ _Cheese Ramakins, French Rolls, Cabbage and Celery Salad,_ _Chocolate Loaf, Charlotte Russe Filling,_ _Coffee._
MENU II. MORE ELABORATE.
_Oyster Cocktails, Potage á la Reine,_ _Celery, Pimolas, Salted Almonds, Pickles,_ _Creamed Fish in Scallop Shell, Toast Sticks,_ _Fillet of Beef, Mushroom Sauce,_ _French Rolls, Potato Balls, Asparagus,_ _Orange Frappe, Chicken Croquettes, Green Peas,_ _Shrimp Salad, Wafers, Almond Meringues, Maple Parfait,_ _Crackers, Cheese, Café Noir._
MENU III. A FULL COURSE DINNER.
_Blue Points, Brownbread Sandwiches,_ _Cream of Tomato, Wafers, Olives, Celery, Salted Almonds,_ _Timbales of Halibut, Bechamel Sauce,_ _Sweetbread and Mushroom Patties, Green Peas,_ _Roast Turkey, Chestnut Stuffing, Potato Balls,_ _Parker House Rolls, Tutti Frutti in Apple Cups,_ _Asparagus, Melted Butter, Maraschino Punch,_ _Quail on Toast, Rice Croquettes, Current Jelly,_ _Tomato Jelly Cups filled with Celery and Nut Salad,_ _Fruit, Nuts, Bon Bons, Almond Cake,_ _Vanilla Ice Cream, Claret Sauce, Crackers, Cheese,_ _Café Noir, Creme de Menthe._
The sardine canapés, given as a first course in Menu I, is a dainty appetizer made of sardines, boned, rubbed to a paste with a little creamed butter and seasoned to taste with Worcestershire and a few grains of cayenne. Spread small thin rounds of toast with the mixture, cover with white of hard boiled egg rubbed through a sieve and place an olive in the center of each. Cream soups are considered especially dainty. The deviled crabs are easily prepared. Pick the meat from the shells, mix with a cream sauce and season highly with mustard, cayenne and lemon juice. Wash and trim the shells, fill rounding with the mixture, cover with buttered crumbs and bake until brown. Parboil the sweetbreads, split and cut in pieces about the size of a large oyster. Egg and bread crumb them, fry, arrange on nests of boiled macaroni and pour the tomato sauce over them. Serve the cheese ramakins, which is cheese souffle baked in ramequin dishes, with this course.
The chocolate loaf is made of a sponge cake, hollowed out, covered inside and out with a plain chocolate icing. Fill shortly before serving with cream, whipped, sweetened and flavored, and serve very cold.
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The first course in Menu II, is oyster cocktails, which are now in high favor. Serve either in sherry glasses, lemon, orange or grapefruit shells. Choose small, firm oysters of fine flavor and allow six to a person. Cover with a sauce made of a tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon each of vinegar and catsup, a fourth of a teaspoon of Worcestershire, an eighth of a teaspoon of grated horseradish, two drops Tobasco sauce and a few grains of salt. The Potage á la Reine is easily made and very excellent. Mash fine the yolks of three hard boiled eggs and mix with them a half a cup of bread crumbs, soaked until soft, in half a cup of rich milk. Stir into this gradually the cooked breast of a chicken chopped fine as meal and a pint of hot cream. Boil two minutes, then add a quart of clear chicken broth, salt, pepper and celery salt to season. To prepare the following course mix some flaked fish with a rich cream sauce, fill into scallop shells, cover with buttered crumbs and bake. Serve with the fillet of beef as a single course the mushrooms, rolls, potatoes and asparagus. The hot rolls given throughout the menus are made with yeast according to any favorite rule, the different names only indicating a difference in shape. Orange frappe is simply an orange water ice frozen to a mush and served in frappe glasses. The rules for croquettes and salad are too familiar to need special repetition. Add some chopped almonds to the usual recipe for meringues and bake in a slow oven. When done, press in the bottoms. Fill with the parfait before serving. To make the parfait, beat the yolks of four eggs until light, add three-quarters of a cup of maple syrup and cook over hot water until it thickens. Beat until cold, then stir into a pint of cream whipped until stiff. Fill into a mould and let stand about four hours well packed in ice and salt.
A favorite first course in season is blue points on the half shell, as given in Menu III. Allow six to a person, and arrange in a circle on a bed of cracked ice with a quarter of lemon in the center of the plate. Cut the bread for sandwiches very thin, butter it, place two pieces together and stamp in rounds. Serve the cream of tomato in bouillon cups with a spoonful of whipped cream floating on the surface. To make the Timbales, cook a pound of fresh halibut in boiling salted water, drain and force through a fine meat chopper. Add to this pulp three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, a few grains of cayenne, a third of a cup of cream whipped until stiff, and the stiffly beaten whites of three eggs. Fill small, buttered timbale moulds with the mixture, half surround with hot water and bake twenty minutes in a moderate oven. Serve with a white sauce, to which add the beaten yolks of eggs and, if liked, a little minced parsley and lemon juice. Instead of serving the usual cranberry sauce with the turkey, scoop out the inner pulp of some small red apples and fill them with a mixture made, during the summer, of the various fruits in season, almost their weight in sugar and preserved. Maraschino punch is simply a strong lemon ice as a foundation, flavored highly with maraschino. Serve in punch glasses with a maraschino cherry in the center of each. Make some tomato jelly with gelatine and mould it in small cups. Unmould on shredded lettuce, hollow out each one and fill with a mixture of diced celery, chopped English walnuts and rich mayonnaise. The almond cake is made of the plain white cake foundation, baked in two layers. Spread thickly between the layers and on top of the cake an abundance of boiled icing made very rich with a quantity of blanched almonds chopped very fine. Serve with each portion of plain vanilla ice cream a spoonful or more of sauce made of a cup of sugar and half a cup of water boiled to a thick syrup, and to which is added, when cool, four tablespoons of claret. Chill on ice.
THE EASE OF A COURSE DINNER.
Many of our housewives who want the elegance of a course dinner, yet who are limited to the services of one maid, would be much amazed at the ease with which they can both cook and serve if a little forethought be used in the menu.
COCKTAIL.--A preliminary cocktail, prepared beforehand from a bottled sauce or catsup and marinated oysters or clams, makes a good beginning and can be made ready in the early morning and placed on ice to great advantage.
SOUP.--A clear soup with vermicelli or noodles can be cooked the day before and may simmer quietly for half an hour before serving time without further care.
FISH.--Fish is well represented by deviled crabs, seasoned and turned into little mounds in the center of cockle shells. This may be done any time several hours previous to the feast and all they need at meal time is a simple browning in the oven.
MEAT.--Large and substantial roasts are not only hard to prepare and serve but also fill the oven to the exclusion of everything else, so why not have delicious little steaks, fillet of beef, with canned French peas, and pomme de terre au gratin, served in ramekins and prepared early in the day from mashed potato and a sprinkling of grated cheese.
SALAD.--Most salads may, without serious injury, be mixed several hours before using and placed in a large bowl in the refrigerator, placing it on the lettuce leaves at serving time. Cheese balls are better made early and iced.
DESSERT.--Certainly for dessert nothing could be more delicious, more appetizing or more decorative than individual Charlotte Russe, more popular than ice cream with hot maple or chocolate sauce and stuffed wafers, or more soul satisfying than a tutti frutti French cream, all of which may be either ordered from the caterer or made at home early.
With bonbons, coffee, cigars and liqueurs (if used) this provides for a really elaborate dinner of eight courses, which could be prepared for that matter by the housewife herself in the forenoon, inasmuch as the only thing which must be actually cooked at mealtime is the steak. Almost any maid could be trusted to do the rest.
A FINE MENU.
_Shell Fish,_ _Bread and Butter Sandwiches,_ _White Bouillon, Creme de Marron,_ _Wafers, Maraschino Cherry,_ _Pate Franciere, Tarragon Eggs,_ _Salmon Creams, Green Dressing,_ _Whole Small Yellow Tomatoes, French Dressing,_ _Roast of Sirloin, Pickled Walnuts,_ _Stewed Brussels Sprouts, Creamed Mashed Potatoes,_ _White Sherry Sherbet,_ _Broiled Quail, Green Grape Jelly,_ _Salade Mignon, Salade de Cherry,_ _Cheese Cakes,_ _Roses Glace Daintee, Petite Fours,_ _Salon Refreshment,_ _Glaces de Fruits, Confections,_ _Nuts,_ _Café, Cordials._
"CREME DE MARRON"--(Nut Soup.)--One quart of chestnut meats which have been skinned, then stew tender in enough water to a little more than cover. Press through a fine sieve into the cooking pot, then add one quart of white stock. Heat to boiling point, then add ample pinch of salt and dash of white pepper, few drops of nutmeg, onion and celery essence. Lastly one pint of beaten cream. Color a rich green with a few drops of spinach extract.
SALADE MIGNON.--Two medium sized white potatoes pared and steamed tender, then cooled and cut into neat dice. One cup of solid cooked peas, one cup of small button mushrooms, one cup of finely minced celery, one cup of small pickled white onions cut into halves. Mix the vegetables lightly with a good white mayonnaise, then fashion in pyramid form on salad plate, and garnish with lettuce hearts and a few pink geranium blossoms.
PATE FRANCIERE.--Line eight fluted pate tins with a delicate pastry crust, then fill with rice and bake a dainty brown in moderate oven. Remove the rice and fill them with the following force meat: Two pairs of chicken livers, steamed tender then minced fine, four steamed cocks combs, one cup of fried scallops. Moisten the ingredients with a brown gravy highly seasoned with paprika and truffle, and fill neatly into the crusts. Put on a perforated top previously baked, and serve on a folded napkin.
ROSES GLACE DAINTEE.--One half package of gelatine soaked in one and a half cups of white wine for thirty minutes, then set the bowl into boiling water, until the gelatine is dissolved. Add one half cup of sugar, a few drops of orange flower water to flavor, a few drops of spinach extract to color a delicate green. Strain and set away to cool.
When it begins to thicken beat in one pint of whipped cream. Add two ounces of candied rose petals, turn into square mold and when set turn out on lace paper mat on crystal dessert platter. Garnish with roses.
Here are three more menus:
_Watermelon Cut in Dice Shape Piled on Plate with_ _Wreath of Cress,_ _Broiled Spring Chicken, Strips of Bacon,_ _New Potatoes Creamed, Broiled Tomatoes,_ _French Rolls, Spiced Peaches,_ _Pineapple Mousse,_ _Coffee._
Out of the beaten track:
Little Neck Clams on the Half Shell, and without the customary slices of lemon and various sauces and horseradish. It is a mistake to spoil the flavor of any food with highly-seasoned sauces.
Next, Chicken Okra Soup, into which, just before serving, is poured a small pitcher of plain cream.
For the fish course, instead of the usual small separate portions, have a Planked Whitefish served from the plank, with Plain Butter Sauce. Accompanying this have small Baked Potatoes, cut open in the center and with a small piece of butter placed in each one.
Instead of the hereditary Cucumber Salad, have young cucumbers quartered lengthwise, not sliced. Cucumbers prepared in this way are much more delicious, because the knife cuts through most of the seeds. They should be pared so that a great deal of the outside is taken off. The best dressing is about three parts olive oil and one part vinegar, with a little pepper and salt, poured over the cucumbers just before serving. Cucumbers allowed to stand in dressing for any length of time become rubbery and indigestible.
Here serve for each guest half a small Broiled Chicken on Toast, with Potatoes au Gratin, and large delicious young Marrowfat Peas.
Serve as a separate course, Lettuce cut in thin strips, over which is sprinkled powdered sugar and a plentiful amount of plain cream is poured.
For dessert have a large dish of delicious ripe strawberries.
Following this have plain unsweetened wafers buttered with Roquefort Paste (which is made of Roquefort cheese and butter in equal quantities) and dusted with cinnamon. Then serve Turkish coffee.
A MID-SUMMER DINNER.
Have table prettily decorated with a centerpiece of ice and ferns. The ice frozen in a miniature iceberg, and encircled by low, spreading maidenhair ferns and gleaming tiny opalescent lamps. Keep the candles for the lamps in the ice chest all day and they will burn slowly and steadily through the evening. Let cut glass canoes hold the nuts, olives and bonbons. The meat courses should be served in thin white Japanese porcelain, but the other viands are to be served in cut glass dishes. The name cards are made of squares of gray paper simply lettered with the guests' names and the date--the letters formed by icicles. The menu is as follows:
_Clams,_ _Cold Bouillon,_ _Soft Crabs,_ _Mushrooms, Fillets of Beef,_ _Beets, Potato Straws,_ _Tomatoes, Sweetbreads,_ _Chicken Salad a la Prince,_ _Peach Ice,_ _Curacoa Cream,_ _Frozen Melon, Coffee._
The clams are served in ice shells, lying on beds of crisp cress, and the bouillon, strong and highly seasoned, served in little cut glass bowls. With the fricasseed crabs serve a smooth cool sauce, having lemon and mustard as its predominating flavor. Juicy little fillets of beef, that melt in the mouth, are next brought on lettuce leaves, with fricasseed mushrooms on toast, frozen pickled beets and potato straws. The sweetbreads are parboiled, chopped up with asparagus tips and truffles, and formed into cones with white chaudfroid sauce, then chilled to the freezing point. With them are served tomatoes filled with shaved ice, chopped cress and tartare sauce. But the triumph of cookery is the salad, each ingredient proportioned and blended into a pleasing whole. The white meat of two chickens, cut into small fillets and each dipped into a semi-fluid jelly made as follows: Three hard boiled eggs, an anchovy, one tablespoonful of minced capers, two tablespoonfuls of grated ham, one teaspoonful of chopped parsley and a pinch of chili pepper rubbed through a sieve and mixed well with two tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise and three of semi-fluid aspic. Then small molds are lined with aspic and a fillet--ornamented with strips of beets and cucumbers--put in each; enough aspic to cover poured in and the molds set on ice.
A rich mayonnaise is made, and peas, cut up cucumbers and string beans stirred through it. When the time comes to serve the salad, the molds are turned out on leaves of crinkly white lettuce, with a border of mayonnaise around them. The peach sherbet is served in little fluted cups of ice, set in a circle of fern fronds and pink carnations on cut glass plates. Three drops of cochineal are added to the ice just before freezing to give it a delicate pink hue. After the gelatine is dissolved in a rich custard and begins to thicken, the curacoa and the whipped cream are added, and stirred together very lightly. Individual orange-shaped molds are filled with the cream and put on ice to harden. When turned out of the molds, a little twig and leaves of crystalized ginger are inserted in each orange. Sherry wine is poured in the heart of the melon, and, after it has ripened on ice for two hours, the melon is cut open and the seeds removed. Cut out oval-shaped pieces with a big spoon and set back on the ice till wanted. Take to the table in a deep glass bowl, splints of ice shining among its juicy pink morsels. Then the coffee, the toasted crackers and blocks of frozen cheese.
There are but few particulars in which a formal luncheon differs materially from a dinner. Fruit or a fruit salpicon is usually preferred to oysters as a first course. The soup or bouillon is served in cups rather than soup plates, and entrees or chops take the place of heavy joints or roasts. The usual hour for a luncheon is between one and two o'clock, and artificial light is considered inappropriate for such an occasion. If the table used is a handsome and highly polished one, the cloth may be dispensed with, if desired. Instead use a handsome center piece with small doilies under the plates and other dishes to protect the table. If there are a large number of guests, they are usually served at small tables, prettily decorated with a few flowers.
If the luncheon is to be a formal affair word your invitation thus: "Mrs. Harris requests the pleasure of Mrs. Brown's company at luncheon, Tuesday, September twenty-seventh, at one o'clock." If it is an informal affair simply write a little note on this order:
Dear Mrs. Brown,
Will you not join us at luncheon Tuesday at one o'clock? My friend, Mrs. Black, is with me and I should like to have you meet her.
Sincerely yours, Date.
Put your street and number at the head of the note. Invitations to informal luncheons are also permissible by telephone or verbally.
_White Grapes on Mat of Natural Leaf,_ _Creamed Oysters in Swedish Timbale Cases,_ _Saratoga Potatoes, Twin Biscuits, Pickles, Olives,_ _Moulded Chicken in Aspic, Mayonnaise Wafers,_ _Marshmallow Cake, Orange Jelly, Whipped Cream,_ _Chocolate._
Have the fruit at each place when the guests are assembled. Garnish with any preferred flowers, which should serve also as a souvenir of the occasion. Substitute other fruit if grapes are not seasonable. Both timbale cases and Saratoga potatoes given in the next course, may be prepared early. The potatoes, of course, must be reheated. Fill the creamed oysters into the cases, surround with the potatoes and serve the biscuits, olives and pickles on the same plate. Make the biscuits with baking powder, roll out the dough half the usual thickness, cut out and put two rounds together, brushing first the lower round with melted butter. To make the moulded chicken, separate some stewed chicken into small pieces. Fill loosely into small buttered moulds with a slice of hard boiled egg in the bottom of each. Cover with the strained and clarified chicken broth, to which sufficient gelatine has been added to stiffen it, and stand aside to harden. Turn out on shredded lettuce and serve surrounded with mayonnaise. Bake a sponge cake in a large sheet, cover thickly with boiled icing and decorate with marshmallows cut in halves, and placed on the top at regular distances. Cut in squares, with a marshmellow in the center of each. The orange jelly may be made more elegant if candied fruit and nuts are added to it.
MORE ELABORATE LUNCHEON.
_Salpicon of Fruit,_ _Sweet Wafers, Cream of Celery, Crisp Crackers,_ _Olives, Pickles, Salted Almonds,_ _Lobster á la Newburg, Puff Paste Points,_ _Fried Chicken, Vermicelli Toast, Shredded Potatoes,_ _Oyster Patties, Mushrooms, Waldorf Salad,_ _Popcorn, Bon Bons, Nuts, Figs and Raisins, Macaroons,_ _Frozen Pudding, Cream Mints, Coffee._
For the salpicon of fruit, make a foundation of three-quarter orange juice, one-quarter lemon juice, and powdered sugar to sweeten. Add sliced bananas and other fruit in season. Serve very cold in punch glasses. Serve the cream of celery in bouillon cups with whipped cream on top. The puff paste points and patty shells may be made of the same paste. Serve the fried chicken, vermicelli toast and potatoes on one plate. If very young spring chickens are used, cut in halves or quarters; larger chickens may be cut in smaller pieces. It is nice, only rather expensive, to use the breasts only, cut in two or three pieces. To make the vermicelli toast, cut the bread in rounds and toast it, cover with a rich, thick cream sauce, to which add the chopped whites of several eggs, and sprinkle thickly over all the yolks rubbed through a ricer. A pretty way of serving the Waldorf salad is in apple cups. Cut off the tops and hollow out some large red apples, fill with a mixture of the scraped apple, celery, nuts and mayonnaise, replace the top and insert a celery plume for the stem. Serve surrounded with hot buttered popcorn. A plain, but very elegant frozen pudding is easily made of whipped cream, sweetened and flavored. Pack in a mold in layers, dot each layer liberally with candied fruit, nuts and grated chocolate. Pack in ice and salt for at least four hours.
Of course these dishes can be varied to suit the season and the occasion. The main thing is to be prepared for your company by being at home yourself, and in this way you will make everybody else at home.
A BERRY LUNCHEON.
For table decorations, ribbons and candle shades use crushed strawberry tints; flowers to correspond. Primroses in a pinky purple are good. Blossoms tied with white satin ribbon make pretty decorations.
Instead of an oyster course, have strawberries served European fashion, with their hulls on, sprinkled with powdered sugar. At the end of the meal serve strawberry shortcake, the real Southern article.
Fill the rolled French omlette with strawberry jam.
The bonbons are strawberries dipped in white fondant.
For a small luncheon have on the table four cut glass bowls filled with waterlilies, resting on the lily pads set on chop plates filled with water. In the center of the table three tall cathedral candles rising from a mass of asparagus fern. Have the bonbons in green and white and the pistachio nuts in bohemian glass bowls of pink, gold, violet and green. Make the place cards of waterlilies cut out of water-color paper and painted. The menu is red and white raspberries, iced clam bouillon, lamb chops, peas, potato roses, cucumber and nut salad served in green peppers cut to imitate lily buds, ice cream of pistachio and lemon ice molded in pond lily forms, cakes iced in green and white and coffee.
A RURAL LUNCHEON.
For the main course prepare young chickens cut in halves and fried Southern style. Serve with hot cream gravy and corn fritters. On the side of the plate put potato croquettes and two slices of thin, crisp bacon. A crisp salad of sliced tomatoes or stuffed tomatoes and strawberries and cream would make this a simple appetizing meal which you need not hesitate to serve your city friends. A delicious dish is macaroni Milanaise. Cook spaghetti well, fry it in butter and serve with mushrooms. Also serve small bits of tongue, grated Swiss cheese and a tomato sauce. Morning glories make a pretty table decoration. Place them on the vines in a cut glass bowl in the center of the table and let them run riot over the cloth. Paint morning glories in the corner of the name card. Serve the strawberries from a china platter wreathed in the morning glories.
BUFFET LUNCHEON FOR SIXTY.
For the first course have luscious fresh strawberries served on strawberry leaves dotted with tiny wild flowers and on flowered plates. With the strawberries the sugar is served in tiny paper cups. The second course is puree of corn served in odd Egyptian cups with whipped cream on top. The chicken croquettes are molded in form of tiny chickens with cloves for the eyes, and bits of celery tops for wings. The chicken rests on a nest of fried shoestring potatoes. With this is served a round of toast with first a slice of fried tomato and on top of that creamed asparagus tips. On the same plate are hot rolls and tiny pickles. Salted pecans and almonds should be passed during the entire luncheon. The salad course is a head of lettuce for each one. The heart of the lettuce is removed and filled with cucumber salad. Cheese straws are served with this. The ice cream is served in the form of strawberries and rests on a paper doily resembling Mexican drawnwork. The cake is a tiny white column, iced, with two candy strawberries on the side. The candies are peppermints in form of strawberries. Coffee served as a last course.
DINNERS AND ENTERTAINMENTS FOR PATRIOTIC, HOLIDAY AND SPECIAL OCCASIONS.
Here is a Valentine luncheon for young girls suggesting the "Sweet Sixteen" idea in a novel and beautiful manner. Spun sugar should be used exclusively in most of the table decorations. Have a round table set in pure white and crystal, the latest fad. At each girl's plate have a flower done in candy in a realistic manner.
On each side of the table have small, red heart-shaped candy baskets filled with red candy hearts. Imitation baskets of rock candy tied with bows of candy ribbons holding preserved citron, ginger and nuts glacé. The fruit salad should be served in paper cases imitating pink roses. Over the salad have a white mayonnaise dotted with pink rose petals. The crackers heart shaped. The ice cream should be served in white candy baskets with tall handles. For place cards use pink hearts.
A LINCOLN DINNER.
As most of the evening is spent in the dining-room, particular attention is given to the decoration of it, and the appointments of the table, to make them original and attractive. The national colors prevail in the use of bunting and flowers, and none save those peculiar to February should be utilized; tropical foliage is dispensed with, and, inasmuch as Kentucky was Mr. Lincoln's native state, only such evergreens as are native to that commonwealth--as holly, cedar, laurel, etc.,--should be used to supply the necessary greenery disposed about the room, the particular arrangement of which must be decided by the furnishings therein and by individual taste.
The table is laid in the regulation white, dotted over with American Beauty petals and violets, the edge being draped in laurel tied with tri-colored ribbon. In the middle is laid a round mat of woodland moss to simulate bluegrass, and on it rests a miniature log cabin, around which is built a fancy rail fence made of chocolate sticks; a number of little pickaninnies are seen playing about the house, and grin out at the guests, which renders the effect very realistic and interesting. Little jugs tied with blue ribbon are also prominent features. In front of each cover stands a diminutive barrel labeled "Old Bourbon," but in reality holding nothing more harmful than delicious bon bons, unless it happens to be a stag affair, when the genuine article would be preferable. Ices are presented in fancy moulds decorated with small darkies, and in the form of the dome of the Capitol, or any other suggestive figure that one prefers.
In issuing the invitations the guests are informed that one and all will be expected to contribute to the general enjoyment by relating some story or anecdote of Lincoln.
FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY.
Menu for Irish Luncheon:
_Cream of Potato Soup with Powdered Parsley,_ _Celery Curls (Pigtails),_ _Salted Almonds,_ _Pigs in Blankets,_ _(Oysters skewered in slices of bacon and broiled),_ _Coldslaw,_ _Croquettes shaped like Potatoes, resting in Beds of Cress,_ _Stuffed Baked Potatoes (Fixed with tiny wooden skewers to resemble Pigs),_ _Spinach served in Shamrock Decorated Cases,_ _Shamrock-shaped Bread and Butter Sandwiches,_ _Sweet Watermelon Pickle or Spiced Peach, decorated with Angelica Shamrocks,_ _Salad of French Beans, Peas and Pearl Onions in Lettuce Leaf,_ _Ice Cream in Slices decorated with Green Sugar Shamrocks,_ _or Pistachio Ice Cream,_ _Small Cakes decorated with Harps of Gold Candies,_ _Coffee, Buttermilk._
For favors there are Irish hats, clay pipes, Irish flags, harps, shamrocks, bon bon boxes, green snakes, etc. Oxalis answers for shamrock and pots of this arranged in a "fairy ring" with fairy lamps or green-shaded candles make a pretty, inexpensive centerpiece.
ATTRACTIVE EASTER LUNCHEON.
An extremely attractive Easter luncheon is as follows: The table is round, covered with a snowy damask cloth, exquisite china, sparkling glass and silver. The center piece, a small gilded cart, wreathed in violets and smilax, holds decorated eggs colored in tints of yellow and purple, while mingling with them are clusters of violets tied with lavender ribbons, one end extending to the front of each cover and there attached to wee yellow chickens resting in nests of violets, in whose beaks are tiny cards with name in gold.
Have also nests of spun sugar containing candy eggs, wax tapers burning under creamy lace shades. At each end of the table tall vases filled with ferns and garlanded with vines and at every plate daffodils growing in pots covered with green tissue paper.
This is the menu:
_Clear Tomato Soup,_ _Baked Shad, Bermuda Potatoes,_ _Roast Spring Lamb, Creamed Onions,_ _Orange Halves,_ _Chicken Croquettes, Celery Salad,_ _Neapolitan Ice Cream, Sponge Cake,_ _Chocolate._
CAP AND BELLS LUNCHEON FOR APRIL FIRST.
For an April fool luncheon write your invitations in red ink on dunce caps, cut out of yellow paper and seal with red seal. Call your luncheon a "Cap and Bells" or "Harlequin" luncheon, as you prefer. Use bowls of red and yellow tulips, or red carnations, in yellow bowls. Rustic wall pockets with pussy willows, tied with pale green ribbon, are delightful April decorations. When the guests assemble give them snapping bon bons which make paper caps. Let them wear these caps to the dining-room. Do not put names on the guest cards; let each draw a card from a dunce cap. Have the card clowns cut from water-color paper and a suitable quotation and a number on each one. This number marks the order of procedure to the dining-room and the privilege of choosing seats. In this way no one can regard the card quotation as offensively personal. If you wish an "April Fool" menu, serve it as a buffet luncheon before going to the table. You can find imitation dishes of every sort at the caterer's.
Over the round dining table suspend a hoop wound with smilax or red and yellow ribbon. From this hoop hang tiny bells by invisible wires. A Japanese "windbell" is especially suitable. It consists of pieces of metal of odd shapes so suspended that they strike in the wind. Light your table by red candles with yellow dunce cap shades. In the center of the table have a clown or "Pierrot" in costume of red with large yellow dots, driving toy geese by red and yellow ribbons. These geese may be made of water-color paper and filled with salted almonds and bon bons. At each plate have a "fool's stick" or wand. This is made by winding a short stick with red and yellow ribbon, the ends of which are fastened at the top with a gilt-headed tack, and tiny bells are fastened to the ends of the ribbons. Use maidenhair ferns at the base of the center piece and the candlesticks to give a touch of green. Serve:
_Clam Bouillon with Alphabet Crackers,_ _Celery Curls, Radishes,_ _Salted Almonds, Lobster Patties,_ _Bread and Butter Sandwiches,_ _Cucumber Jelly, Creamed Peas,_ _Squab on Squares of Hominy in Wreath of Cress,_ _New Potatoes with Parsley,_ _Wild Grape Jelly, Mint Ice,_ _Spring Salad of Sliced Cucumbers,_ _Tomatoes, Radishes in Lettuce Cups,_ _Cheese Straws,_ _Vanilla Ice Cream in Cone Shape with Large Strawberry_ _Tipped with Whipped Cream on Top and Ring_ _of Fresh Strawberries at the Base._
DECORATION DAY LUNCHEON.
This pretty luncheon combines two features--it can be given on Decoration Day, and also as a bon voyage luncheon. Have bands of red, white and blue ribbon radiate from the center of the table to each plate, and a large cutglass bowl filled with white flowers, roses, hyacinths and narcissi and ferns stand in the center. Before each plate have a tiny ship in full sail, the name of the guest written in gilt on the silk sail. The favor for the guest of honor might be a bon bon box made in imitation of a shawl strap. Inside have a tiny silk flag.
Red and white should be carried out in the menu. Have a white soup with whipped cream. The salmon salad served in white paper boats with tiny American flags sticking in the prow. The ices frozen in form of flags. The cakes red, white and violet icing.
FOR A HALLOWE'EN DINNER.
Have a big pumpkin filled with yellow chrysanthemums for the center of the table and at each place a tiny pumpkin made into a candle with a green pumpkin leaf shade. Light the room with jack o' lanterns or yellow Chinese lanterns. For the menu serve cream of corn soup in yellow bowls. Serve turkey, cranberry jelly, mashed turnips, baked sweet potatoes, on yellow plates. Serve fruit salad in the red apple cups, with pumpkin pie and yellow ice cream frozen in shape of pumpkins, for dessert. Serve coffee in yellow cups.
FOURTH OF JULY DINNER.
A beautiful summer dinner for July Fourth is as follows: On the table have a centerpiece of pineapple cloth over pale green satin, on which place a flat willow basket of green and white striped grasses that border the garden flower beds. From this basket have wavy lines of pale green gauze ribbon reaching to each corner of the table, the ribbons ending in flat bouquets of daisies tied with grasses. The dinner cards should be cut out of water-color paper in the shape of long, narrow spikes of lilies and fastened to the glasses by flaps on the backs. The menu is clam bisque; lobster cutlets with egg sauce; timbales of sweetbreads; new carrots with fine herbs; crown of lamb with mint sauce; potato croquettes and salsify; peach ice; truffle-stuffed squab, cress; asparagus and lettuce salad; green cornucopiae of ice cream filled with lemon ice; white cake with green icing; coffee, nuts glace.
A LUNCHEON FOR THANKSGIVING.
Have this sentiment painted on a white or dark gray background framed in cedar boughs and placed over your mantel:
The waning year grows brown and gray and dull, And poets sing November, bleak and sere; But from the bounteous garnered harvest store, With grateful hearts we draw Thanksgiving cheer.
Place a row of white candles in pewter candlesticks across the mantel and display all the old china, pewter, brass and copper about the dining-room. Use cedar boughs to decorate the chandelier and plate rail. In the center of the bare table have a miniature stack of wheat (the florist can furnish this). Peeping out of the wheat have toy turkey candy boxes filled with almonds or hickory nut meats and raisins. Have the candles on the table set in flat cedar wreaths and scatter pine needles over the surface of the table. At each plate have a little doll dressed in Puritan costume with the name card tied around her neck. If one wishes to add a bit of color to the table use old-fashioned blue and white or colored bowls, in one pile glossy red apples, in another purple and white grapes, in another oranges. Here are some suitable Colonial dishes: Brown bread, roasted fowl, oysters in every style, cakes of Indian meal called bannocks which are spread before the fire on large tins and baked before the fire, brown sugar and molasses for sweetening; fruit cake, molasses cake, pumpkin, apple and mince pie; jellies, jams and conserves (a sweet mixture of fruits). Use all the old-fashioned china and silver possible.
First an old-fashioned oyster stew served in old white, gold-banded tureen.
Next fish-balls--not great, soggy old-fashioned fish cakes, but the daintiest little golden-brown balls, fried in a basket in hot fat, and not more than an inch in diameter, just a good mouthful. Have them served individually, smoking hot, heaped up in the daintiest little piles, with a few tiny sprigs of baby parsley for garnish.
Next will come the turkey, a monster bird, "with stuffing" made of Italian chestnuts.
It goes without saying that with this will be served the historic cranberry jelly, which may be moulded in a square tin and served in tiny cubical blocks. After the sweet potatoes are baked the contents will be removed, whipped light as a feather with two well-beaten eggs, a little milk, pepper, salt and butter, the skins refilled, stood on end in a pan and the tops browned in the oven.
Then Roman punch.
Then two good old-fashioned pies, one pumpkin, the other mince, each about two inches thick.
A CHRISTMAS DINNER.
If one wishes to develop the idea of Santa and his sleigh, buy a doll and dress as Santa and fashion a sleigh out of cardboard and color red. About Santa and his sleigh, which may be filled with bonbons or tiny gifts like animals from Noah's ark, etc., for the guests, have imitation snow of coarse salt or sugar, or cotton sprinkled with diamond dust. Have tiny sprigs of evergreen standing upright for trees. At each plate have a tiny sleigh filled with red and green candies and light the table with red candles and shades in shape of Christmas bells. Have the dinner cards ornamented with little water-color Santa Claus' heads or little trees. If one uses the Christmas bell idea have the bells covered with scarlet crape tissue and swung from the chandelier. One can have the letters on them spell "Merry Christmas." In the center of the table place a mound of holly with bright red berries; have red candles arranged in any design one chooses, and far enough away so their heat will not ignite the tissue paper bells. White paper shades with sprays of holly painted or tied on make pretty Christmas shades. Have the bonbons, nuts, salads and ice cream served in cases in shape of bells, or have the ice cream frozen in bell shape. If one wishes to decorate with the tiny trees, fasten them upright in flower pots and cover the pots with red paper. Hang bonbons or sparkling objects and tinsel or little favors of bells for the guests from the branches of the trees. The holly wreaths may be used in any way the fancy dictates--a large center wreath and if the table is round, a second larger one near the edge of the table, leaving room for the plates or single candlesticks set in tiny wreaths at intervals between the larger wreaths. A wreath dinner is very pretty and easy to plan, for the different dishes may be garnished with wreaths of parsley, radishes, endive, cress, or the sweets with rings of kisses, macaroons, whipped cream roses, candies, etc.
Here is a suitable menu. Oyster or clam cocktail, wafers, consomme, bouillon or cream of celery soup, celery, radishes, small square crackers. If one wishes a fish course, creamed lobster or salmon with potato balls. Roast Turkey or game of any sort, glazed sweet potatoes, corn fritters, creamed peas, peach, currant or grape jelly, hot rolls. Cranberry sherbet; nut salad with plain bread and butter sandwiches, individual plum puddings with burning brandy, ice cream in any desired shape, white cake or fruit cake if one does not have the plum pudding, cheese, crackers, coffee.
AN UNUSUALLY ORIGINAL DINNER.
A quail dinner given recently will furnish ideas for others who wish to give a dinner out of the ordinary. Let the oblong table on which the dinner is served represent a field with miniature shocks of grain and stubble in which are quail, pheasants' and other birds' nests. A border of toy guns stacked mark the edge of the field. At each man's place have a toy figure of a hunter with some toy fastened to the back telling some joke on the diner. The women can have birds' nest candy boxes surmounted by birds. The name cards can be English hunting scene postals.
This is the menu:
_Blue Points,_ _Celery Hearts, Olives, Stuffed Olives,_ _Cream of Asparagus with Asparagus Points, Crackers,_ _Broiled Fresh Spanish Mackerel served on Lettuce Ribbons,_ _Cucumbers, Cannon Ball Potatoes,_ _Sherry, Champagne Punch,_ _Quail on Toast, French Peas, Stewed Mushrooms on_ _Toast, Hot Rolls,_ _Champagne,_ _(Salad, Head Lettuce, French Beans, Ring of Chopped_ _Whites of Eggs, Ring of Powdered Yolks_ _of Eggs, French Dressing,)_ _Crackers and Melted Cheese,_ _Chestnut Ice Cream molded in Form of Broiled Quail and_ _Asparagus Tips, Eggnog Sauce,_ _Coffee and Liqueurs in the Drawingroom._
A SPRING DINNER.
To secure a pretty effect pull the extension table apart and fill in the center space with palms and ferns, keeping the foliage low enough not to interfere with the vision of the guests. Across each end of the table lay a pale green satin and lace cover on which place French baskets filled with yellow daffodils and pink tulips. Before each place set tall stem vases filled with yellow daffodils resting on wreaths of pink begonias. Have the pink and yellow candies in French baskets tied with the same colors. Use monograms of the guests on plain white cards with tiny silver boots tied to a corner for favors. Serve:
_Green Grapes Dipped in Sugar,_ _Cream Salsify Soup in Bouillon Cups,_ _Bread Sticks,_ _Deviled Lobster in Shell,_ _Cucumber Mayonnaise,_ _Squab on Toast, Creamed Potatoes,_ _Ice Cream in Form of Fruits,_ _White Cake, Coffee._
To those who may have the planning of college dinners, the description of this Harvard dinner may not come amiss.
In the center of the table have a large bowl of red tulips; red shades on the candles standing at either end of the table. The favors can be small boxes in the shape of foot-balls filled with red candies. The place-cards in the shape of foot-balls, cut out of red cardboard, and painted in black and white; by each plate a roll with a small Harvard flag, of silk. Place the olives, nuts and red candies in small paper cases covered with tissue paper, which match in shape as well as in color, the central bouquet of tulips.
Even in the menu the color scheme may be carried out as far as possible with tomato bisque, deviled crabs served in the shells, chicken croquettes, fillet of beef, garnished with cress and radishes, beet salad and ice cream baskets filled with strawberries. The croquettes can be made in the shape of foot-balls. The beets for the salad are boiled until tender, and when cold scooped out and filled with dressed celery. A few curved cuts made around the sides of the beets give the effect of flower petals. The little cakes, served with the ice-cream, are covered with red frosting.
If Princeton be the Alma Mater in whose honor the feast is spread, tiger-lilies should be the flowers used on the center of the table, and the menu would of course, differ much from the one already given. Instead might be substituted black bean soup with slices of hard boiled egg; fried scallops and Saratoga potatoes; sweet bread patés; chicken with sweet potatoes; and carrots cut with a vegetable cutter into what are called shoestrings; lobster salad served in paper boxes, having around the outside, ruffles of orange crépe paper; and orange ice served in the natural oranges. If one prefers a change from the wishbone creation, Noah's Ark tigers may stand guard over the patés.
A Yale dinner would be the most difficult to arrange as there are no fruits or vegetables that could rightly be called blue, unless some varieties of grapes and plums might be considered as coming under that head. But with a large central bouquet of cornflowers, with blue ribbons extending from this to each cover, where under the bow or rosette will be laid the corn-cob pipe or other souvenir, and with blue crépe paper used to decorate some of the dishes, the table will present quite as attractive an appearance as either of the other dinners; while the genial guests will probably enjoy the feast fully as well, and be quite as loyal, even if the roast and salad do not show the college colors.
"ICE BREAKERS," SUGGESTIONS FOR DINNER, MENU AND PLACE CARDS, TABLE STORIES, TOASTS, TABLE DECORATIONS.
A dinner always stands a better chance of being a success if there is some little thing to break the ice at the start. A little verse might be placed on the card bearing the name of each guest. A particularly lively and cheerful young woman might have a verse something like this:--
"Fevers are contagious, But they're not by half As quickly, surely catching As Mrs. Thompson's laugh."
A lady who gives much thought and attention to political reforms might have the following:--
"Dogs have their days, so political parties Pass through their seasons of sunshine and storm, While longing eyes see the time that is coming, When women shall work a more lasting reform."
An attractive young married woman might find this parody at her place:--
"How doth the dainty matron fair Improve each shining hour, And work on men both old and young, Her fascinating power."
The wife of a distinguished landscape painter could get these lines:--
"Why should one desire to travel, And in distant climes to roam, When she has the fairest landscapes Always hanging in her home."
When the oyster plates are removed, a letter might be found under each one, addressed to the person sitting at the place.
A man who is a well known promoter might receive this:--
"Dear Mr. J.--
"Is it true that you are interested in a project for connecting New York with the infernal regions by telephone? If so, as soon as the wires are in operation, I should like to call up Henry the Eighth, and find out what excuse he really made for getting rid of his wives. The demands upon me have been so great during this past year, that my stock of defenses has given out.
Here place the name of some prominent criminal lawyer.
A lady whose first baby is only a few months old, might have the following in the envelope bearing her name:--
"Stick to the old reliable. There is only one perfectly pure and harmless soothing syrup, and that is made by yours,
"Respectfully, "MRS. WINSLOW."
An artist with a considerable reputation for painting sheep, might enjoy the following:--
"Do you care to buy the small, stuffed lamb that has been in our window for several years past? It looks very natural, and would be much more quiet for a model than a live one.
"Respectfully, "BECK, Butcher." Washington Market.
DINNER, MENU AND PLACE CARDS.
The place card may be plain white edged with gold, and the monogram or crest in gold with the guest's name written plainly across it. However, handsome cards as souvenirs of a dinner are much prized by travelers and the younger set and are especially in favor for breakfasts, luncheons, bridal affairs and college dinners and spreads.
At the present moment there is the greatest diversity in guest cards. You may use a plain heavy visiting card with flowers stuck through the upper left corner, or decorated cards of every style, pen and ink, water-colors, etc. Cards for stag affairs have Old English pictures on a soft gray background; souvenir postals make interesting guest cards; tiny fans, playing cards, ribbons, cards cut out of water-color paper imitating flower pots with flowers in bloom, cards decorated with sketches of brides and bridegrooms, kodak pictures of familiar scenes, boats, different sports--you can scarcely go amiss on your cards--the more original they are the better. The card is laid on the napkin at dinner or luncheon, or if it has an easel-like back is fastened to the wineglass.
Graphology cards are an idea of the moment, and seem likely to prove more than a passing fad. Before ordering a set of these, the hostess obtains from each guest a line in his or her own handwriting; the note of acceptance received can be used, if one is sure that a secretary has not been employed. These specimens are turned over to the stationer, who, in turn, places them in the hands of an expert graphologist. When the occasion arrives for which the writing was obtained, each guest finds at his cover a card bearing his name and a printed delineation of his character formed from the chirography.
For guest cards at a large dinner have in the center of the table a gridiron of flowers and from it run orange and black ribbons to each plate. Have the guests' names in gilt letters on these ribbons, and each ribbon ends in a favor, which indicates the special fad of the guest. The oarsman finds a scull, the yachtsman a tiny yacht, the football captain a football, the hunter a tiny bear, the bowler ten pins, the poker player a miniature poker table, the glee club leader a tiny mandolin, and the man who wins hearts, a heart-shaped box with the miniature of a Gibson girl on its surface.
The girl who cuts paper dolls may make quaint and unique menu cards by cutting out little pickaninnies from shiny black kindergarten paper, then, little dresses, say of red, since this is the most striking combination, and pasting them on the plain cards.
The way to make them is to place a bit of black and a bit of red paper together, fold them shiny side out, and the red outside the black, cut out the dolls, one black, one red, then snip off heads, hands and legs of the red. This leaves the little dresses all ready to go on.
Before pasting on the dress make eyes and mouth in the little black head, by folding it perpendicularly and cutting out the mouth, then horizontally for the eyes. When the figure is once nicely pasted on the card, it is perfectly smooth, no sign of the various foldings appearing.
A dinner for a mixed company of talented men and women is made attractive by clever little quotations on the place cards. A general quotation in quaint lettering at the top of the card may apply to the feast; one following the name of the guest whose place it marks, may apply to the profession or personality of the guest.
* * * * *
"Who can display such varied art, To suit the taste of saint and sinner, Who go so near to touch their heart, As you, my darling dainty dinner?"
* * * * *
"Who would not give all else for two pennyworth only of beautiful soup?"
* * * * *
"Your dressing, dancing, gadding, where's the good in? Tell me, sweet lady, can you make a pudding?"
* * * * *
"Smoking and tender and juicy, And what better meat can there be?"
* * * * *
"The true essentials of a feast are only fun and feed."--_O. W. Holmes._
* * * * *
"May your appetite keep on good terms with your digestion."
"A good dinner is better than a fine coat."--_Proverb._
* * * * *
"Sit down to that nourishment which is called supper."--_Shakespeare._
* * * * *
"To thee and thy company I bid a hearty welcome."--_Shakespeare._
* * * * *
"No man can be wise on an empty stomach."--_Geo. Elliot._
* * * * *
For the Artist:
"Industry can do anything which genius can do, and very many things which it cannot."--_Henry Ward Beecher._
* * * * *
"He is the greatest artist then, Whether of pencil or of pen, Who follows Nature."
* * * * *
For a Writer:
"Wise poets that wrap truth in tales."--_Carew._
* * * * *
For the Architect:
"He builded better than he knew."--_Emerson._
* * * * *
For the Actor:
"We'll hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to Nature."--_Shakespeare._
* * * * *
"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come."--_Shakespeare._
* * * * *
For the Young Bachelor:
"A weather-beaten lover but once known, Is sport for every girl to practice on."
* * * * *
"He had then the grace too rare in every clime Of being, without alloy of fop or beau, A finished gentleman from top to toe."
* * * * *
"That man that hath a tongue I say is no man If with his tongue he cannot win a woman."
* * * * *
"A sweeter and a lovelier gentleman Fram'd in the prodigality of Nature, Young, valiant, wise and no doubt right royal; The spacious world cannot again afford."
* * * * *
"Oh, he was all made up of love and charms, Whatever maid could wish or man admire."
* * * * *
For the Soldier:
"They never fail who die in a great cause."--_Byron._
* * * * *
"The rascal hath good mettle in him."--_Shakespeare._
* * * * *
For the Young Girl:
"Blessings be about you dear, wherever you may go."--_Allingham._
* * * * *
"The mildest manners and the gentlest heart."--_Shakespeare._
* * * * *
"A Book of Verses underneath the Bough, A jug of Wine, a loaf of bread--and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness. O, Wilderness were Paradise enow."
* * * * *
"Grace was in her steps, heaven in her eyes; In every gesture dignity and love."
* * * * *
"Bright as the sun her eyes the gazers strike, And like the sun they shine on all alike."
* * * * *
"The clear blue eyes, the tender smile, The sovereign sweetness, the gentle grace, The woman's soul and the angel's face."
* * * * *
Apt sentiments in connection with each course add much to the interest or amusement of guests, but they must be chosen intelligently.
If the dinner be to a guest of honor, have something like this at the head of the menu:
"I beseech you all be better known to this gentleman."--_Shakespeare._
"Come, gentlemen!! Here's sauce for the gods." "Let hunger move thy appetite, not savory sauce."
"A man can die but once."--_Henry IV._
"Cowards die many times--the truly valiant never taste death but once."--_Shakespeare._
"England's darling."--_Alfred Austin._
"Cut and come again."--_Crabbe._
"Our old and faithful friend, we're glad to see you."--_Shakespeare._
WITH THE OYSTER COURSE
"All the world is my oyster."--_Anon._
"Fruit of the wave, all dainty and delicious."--_Croffut._
"If you can't speak, sing; if you can't sing, imitate the clam."--_Six Dinners._
SOUP--CONSOMME AND MOCK TURTLE
"Of two evils, choose the least."--_Thomas A. Kempis._
"It's the rules of the house, sir; you must take soup."--_Mark L. Demotte._
"'Tis sweet and fresh--'twas caught this night."--_Beaumont & Fletcher._
"Now bring along your liars, and let the biggest one take the cake."--_Six Dinners._
"A dish that I do love to feed upon."--_Shakespeare._
"On eight long feet these wondrous warriors tread And either end alike supplies the head."
"Old Ocean, envious of my ladies crimps, Tried hard to copy them, and--presto! Shrimps!"
FOR ENTRIES OF VARIOUS KINDS
"Take every creature in of every kind."--_Pope._
"When I have tasted of this sacred dish, then shall my bones rest in my father's tomb in peace."--_Beaumont & Fletcher._
"Not to know me argues yourselves unknown."--_Milton._
FOR A SPECIAL OR NOVEL DISH
"It's better to be out of the world than out of the fashion."--_Swift._
"We sport in water or we dance on land."--_Homer._
"Though this be fun for you, 'Tis death to us."--_Fables._
"Pray you, who does the wolf love?"--_Shakespeare._
"Ah, gentle lamb! 'Tis better that you be roasted and served to sympathizing human folk than be devoured ungracefully by ravenous beasts."--_Six Dinners._
"See him in the dish, his second cradle!"--_Charles Lamb._
"He hath a fair sepulchre in the grateful stomach of the judicious epicure, and for such a tomb might be content to die."--_Charles Lamb._
"We'll not eat crow, but him that crow'd."--_Anon._
"Nothing in his life Became him like the leaving of it."--_Macbeth._
"What's sauce for the goose Is sauce for the gander."--_Old Rhymes._
"These be the great twin brethren."--_Macauley._
"Some Jay of Italy."--_Cymbeline._
"So near will I be that your best friends shall wish I had been further."--_Julius Caesar._
"How green you are and fresh."--_King John._
"Here's a pigeon so finely roasted it cries, 'Come eat me.'"--_Swift._
"I warrant there is vinegar and pepper in't."--_Twelfth Night._
"'Tis the dessert that graces all the feast, for an ill end disparages the rest."--_Art of Cookery._
"I can teach sugar to slip down your throat a million of ways."--_Dekker._
"Feel, masters, how I shake."--_2nd Henry IV._
"My morning incense and my evening meal the sweets of hasty pudding."--_Barlow._
"I always thought cold victuals nice; My choice would be vanilla ice."
"How gladly then he plucks the grafted pear, Or grape that dims the purple tyrants wear."
"In the name of the prophet, figs!"--_Horace Smith._
"Pray, does anybody here hate cheese? I would be glad of a bit."--_Swift._
"At which my nose is in great indignation."--_Tempest._
"A last course at dinner without cheese," says Savarin, "is like a pretty woman with only one eye."
"One sip of this Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight."--_Milton._
"By Hercules! I do hold it and will affirm it to be the most sovereign and precious herb that ever the earth tendered to the use of man.--_B. Jonson._
"The man who smokes thinks like a sage and acts like a Samaritan."--_Bulwer Lytton._
"I never knew tobacco taken as a parenthesis before."--_B. Jonson._
"Good, my Lord, you are full of heavenly stuff."--_Henry VIII._
"I feel the old convivial glow (unaided) o'er me stealing, The warm champagny, old particular, brandy, punchy feeling."
"Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used; exclaim no more against it."--_Othello._
"I pray thee, take the cork out of thy mouth that I may drink."--_As You Like It._
"This wine should be eaten, it's too good to be drunk.--_Swift._
"Fill the goblets again, Cnacias. Let us drink the last cup to the manes of famous Lysander, and then, though unwillingly, I must warn you of the approach of day. The host who loves his guests rises from the table when the joy reaches its climax. The pleasant memory of this untroubled evening will soon bring you back to this house, whereas you would be less willing to return if you were forced to think of the hours of depression which followed your enjoyment."--_From "An Egyptian Princess."_
"If you would know the flavor of a pie, The juicy sweet, the spice and tart, you must Be patient till the fiery core is cool, And bite a little deeper than the crust.
"If you would know the flavor of a man,-- God's mud pie, made of Eden's dew and dust,-- Be patient till love's fire has warmed him through, And look a little deeper than the crust."
* * * * *
Upon one occasion when six fair women and half a dozen brave men, gathered round a hospitable board, had fallen into that state of "innocuous desuetude" from which nothing but heroic measures would relieve them, a still small voice was heard asking if any one present could tell why the "Athenasian creed is like a tiger?" It chanced that no one present could guess, and when the propounder, a delicate, spirituelle looking woman declared that it was "because of its damnation clause," there was a roar of laughter that successfully put to flight all stiffness and formality.
* * * * *
A well-known gentleman gained quite a reputation among his set by propounding a French riddle, which is sometimes called Voltaire's riddle, because no one ever answered it. He wrote on the back of a card the following: "Ga" and asked if anyone could make it out, saying the answer was what every one had or should have had when he sat down to dinner. The card went round the table and made conversation for some time. After fruitless efforts, all gave it up, and he wrote underneath the "Ga" as follows:
Capital G. Small a. G. grande. a petite. J'ai grande apetite. I have a good appetite. See?
* * * * *
There is only one thing which is said to be worse than being called upon unexpectedly to make an after dinner speech--that is to prepare an after dinner speech and not be asked to deliver it.
* * * * *
Over the teacups: "Do you believe that awful story they are telling about Miss Prim?"
Ladies in Chorus--"Yes. What is it?"
* * * * *
"Say, mister," said the little fresh air child as she watched the cattle enjoying their cud, "do you have to buy gum for all of them cows to chew?"
* * * * *
I remember the Colonel from Missouri who forgot the name of the suburb he wanted to go to near Boston. "It runs in my head," said he to the hotel clerk, "its name is something like whisky straight, though that is not it exactly." "Oh," said the clerk, "I know; you mean Jamaica Plain." "Yes, yes, that's it," said the Colonel, and he immediately ordered two whisky straights.--Henry C. Caldwell.
* * * * *
"These Americanos," cries the affrighted Tagal, "are cannibals."
"What ever gave you such an idea?" asks the Moro.
"I just heard one of those soldiers ask that pretty school teacher to come and eat a Filipino with him!"
* * * * *
Lady--"Little boy, are you sure this butter is clean?"
Boy from the Country--"I low as how it ought to be. Ma and Sis set up half the night picking the specks out of it."
* * * * *
Squire's daughter--"Do you think it is quite healthy to keep your pigs so close to the cottage?"
Hodge--"I dunno, Miss. Noan of ther pigs ain't ever been ill."
* * * * *
Emaciated Invalid (just arrived at the springs)--"Is it true that drinking these waters produces fat?"
Native (weight 250)--"Produces fat? Why, stranger, when I came here I only weighed eight pounds, and look at me now!"
* * * * *
At a "literary dinner" in London, Mr. Zangwell told a story of a fat lady of his acquaintance. Her corpulence had so grown upon her that she resolved to consult a physician about it. She had had no previous experience with "banting" of any sort.
The doctor drew up a careful dietary for her. She must eat dry toast, plain boiled beef, and a few other things of the same lean sort, and in a month return and report the result to the doctor.
At the end of the time the lady came, and was so stout that she could hardly get through the door. The doctor was aghast.
"Did you eat what I told you?" he asked.
"Religiously," she answered.
His brow wrinkled in perplexity. Suddenly he had a flash of inspiration.
"Did you eat anything else?" he asked.
"Why, I ate my ordinary meals," said the lady.
* * * * *
Considerate Little Girl--"Please, Mr. Keeper, will it hurt the elephant if I give him a currant out of my bun?"--Leisure Hours.
* * * * *
Howard Paul is responsible for this anecdote of Lillian Russell. The fair vocalist was lunching at a restaurant and ordered "floating island"--a popular _entremet_. In due course it arrived, and on its snowy surface three little red ants were having a cheap picnic and wriggling about in ecstatic contortions on the banquet they were enjoying. "Waiter," said Miss Russell, "I asked you for an island, but I expressed no desire to have it inhabited--take it away and bring me a _dessert_ island."
* * * * *
A lank, awkward countryman presented himself at the clerk's desk in an American hotel, and, after having a room assigned to him, inquired at what hours meals were served.
"Breakfast from seven to eleven, luncheon from eleven to three, dinner from three to eight, supper from eight to twelve," recited the hotel clerk glibly.
"Jerushy!" ejaculated the country man, with bulging eyes, "When am I going to get time to see the town?"
* * * * *
A waiter in a restaurant once entered the room where a lady and gentleman were dining--they were just finishing their soup--without any preliminary knock. What he saw led him to stammer: "A thousand pardons, Monsieur; I was too precipitate." "Why, you idiot," said the gentleman, "what are you standing there for, with your head under the tray? Did you never see a gentleman kiss a lady before in this restaurant?" "Oui, Monsieur, but nevaire before ze feesh--nevaire!"
* * * * *
"It ain't any trouble to get along in Europe, whether you know the language or not," said the man who had been on a "personally conducted." "Take Germany, for instance. One day I wanted a drink, and I went into one of the gardens and said to the waiter: 'Look here, old man, I'm dry; do you understand? Dry!' and the next minute he came back with three beers."
* * * * *
Mrs. Smith--"I'm afraid you'll have to look for a new place the first of the month, Bridget." Fat Bridget--"What fur, Ma'am?" Mrs. Smith--"Mr. Smith objects to so much waste in the kitchen." Fat Bridget--"Lor, Ma'am, if that's all, I'll lace mesilf widin an inch of my life."
* * * * *
"I want you to come and dine with me," said John to Pat, "though I can only offer you a nice piece of beef and boiled potatoes." "Don't make the laist apology about the dinner," said Pat, "it's the very same I should have had at home, barrin' the bafe."
* * * * *
"You must find that impediment in your speech rather inconvenient at times, Mr. Brown."
"Oh, n-o--everyb-body has his little p-peculiarity. Stammering is m-m-mine; what is y-yours?"
"Well, really, Mr. Brown, I am not aware that I have any."
"W-which hand d-do you stir y-your tea with?"
"The right hand, of course."
"W-well, that is y-your p-peculiarity; most p-people u-use a t-teaspoon."
* * * * *
The second course of the table d'hote was being served.
"What is this leathery stuff?" demanded the corpulent diner.
"That, sir, is filet of sole," replied the waiter.
"Take it away," said the corpulent diner, "and see if you can't get me a nice, tender piece of the upper, with the buttons removed."
* * * * *
"Gracious," exclaimed Mr. Swellman, "The baby has eaten a lot of that dog biscuit."
"Never mind, dear," replied Mrs. Swellman. "It just serves Fido right, for he's often stolen the baby's food--haven't you, Fido? 'Oo naughty 'ittle rogue, 'oo!"
* * * * *
Once upon a time there was a young man who felt sure that within his bosom burned the incandescent light of dramatic fire. To assure the world of this fact he secured a position as supernumerary in a theatrical combination which was presenting a repertoire of classical tragedies.
Of course, all great careers have an humble start; so had his. All that was required of him was to come on R. U. E., when the lordly baron was about to take his regal bride to his proud ancestral halls, and inform him, and the audience:
"My lord, the carriage waits."
The leading lady, who played the fair young bride, was rather inclined to embonpoint, as we say when we wish to insinuate as delicately as possible that some one is fat.
The budding genius had rehearsed his lines--or line--until he felt that he was letter perfect. He haunted the wings all evening until he heard his cue. Then he strutted onto the scene, struck a tragic pose, and announced excitedly:
"My Lord! She carries weights!"
* * * * *
Frank Stockton tells a fish story. A gentleman asked a question of a boy who was fishing. The boy mumbled an indistinct response. "Why don't you speak plainly?" said the gentleman. "What have you in your mouth?"
"Wums--wums for bait," answered the boy.
"That was the first instance I ever knew," remarked Mr. Stockton in telling the story, "of anybody really speaking with baited breath."
* * * * *
Smith--"Did you ever see a woman trying to pull a cork out of a bottle, colonel?"
Col. Drinker--"No, suh; and no gentleman will stand idly by and see a lady struggling to take a cork out of a bottle. It takes her too long, suh?"
* * * * *
Wife--"We have been married twelve years, and not once during that time have I missed baking you a cake for your birthday. Have I dear?"
Hubby--"No, my pet I look back upon those cakes as milestones in my life."
* * * * *
Jones--"You don't usually say grace at meals?"
Bones--"No; only when the minister is present."
Jones--"Ah, I see. He not alone graces the occasion, but he occasions the grace."
* * * * *
Doctor--"My dear young lady, you are drinking unfiltered water, which swarms with animal organisms. You should have it boiled; that will kill them."
Patient--"Well, doctor, I think I'd sooner be an aquarium than a cemetery."
* * * * *
A tiny girl of seven gave a dinner party the other day, for which twelve covers were laid, and that number of small maidens sat down to dine. It was a real little girl's dinner, and the little hostess herself presided, sitting at the head of the table. She had been very anxious, in looking forward to it, to do everything as it should be done.
"Mamma," she asked, "shall we say grace?"
"No," said mamma, "it will be a very informal dinner, and I think you need not do that."
That meant one less ceremony to be gone through, and was a relief, but the little lady was anxious to have all her small guests understand it. So, as they were gathered about the table, she explained:
"Mamma says this is such an infernal dinner that we need not have grace today."
* * * * *
Three different waiters at a hotel asked a prim, precise little man at dinner if he would have soup. A little annoyed, he said to the last waiter who asked the question:
"Is it compulsory?"
"No, sir," said the waiter. "I think it's mock turtle."
* * * * *
Mistress--"Now, remember, Bridget, the Joneses are coming for dinner tonight."
Cook--"Leave it to me, mum. I'll do me worst! They'll never trouble yez again!"
* * * * *
Murphy--"Oi tell yez, Flaherty, th' saloon is th' poor mon's cloob. Troth, Oi don't see how he could git on widout it."
Flaherty--"He couldn't. Iv there wor no saloons there'd be no poor min."
* * * * *
A member of the police force came across a boy the other day who was wheeling home a load of oyster cans and bottles, and, curious to know what use the lad could put them to, he made a direct inquiry.
"Going to throw them into our back yard," replied the boy. "I took two loads home yesterday."
"But what do you use them for?"
"I'd just as lief tell," continued the boy, as he spit on his hands to resume hold on the barrow. "We are going to have some relashuns come in from the country. We may not have much to eat, but if they see these cans and bottles and boxes they'll think we've had isters, champagne, figs and nuts till we've got tired of 'em, and are living on bread and taters for a healthy change."
* * * * *
Col. Sam Reed was breakfasting at Delmonico's. After looking over the French menu he said to the waiter:
"You may bring me some eggs blushing like Aurora, and some breeches in the royal fashion, with velvet sauce; and for dessert be sure you bring a stew of good christians, and a mouthful of ladies."
The astonished waiter said:
"Sir, we don't serve such dishes."
"Yes, you do," said the guest, pointing to the bill of fare--"Oeufs a la Aurore--culottes a la royale sacque veloute--compote de bon cretiens--bouchee de dames."
"All right," said the waiter--"ready in two minutes, sir."
* * * * *
"Patrick, you were on a bad spree yesterday."
"Yis, Mr. Ellis, I was. Bless me if I weren't a-layin' in the gutter wid a pig. Father Ryan came along, looked at me, and says says he 'One is known by the company he kapes."
"And did you get up, Patrick?"
"No, but the pig did."
* * * * *
Gladstone was a marvelous conversationalist and particularly alive at dinner parties, where, by the way, in his more vigorous days, he came rightly near monopolizing the conversation. Two well-known men about town who prided themselves on their ability to be interesting at the dinner table were invariably eclipsed when Gladstone was present. No matter what the subject broached, before it had proceeded far, the G. O. M. forged to the front, and by his familiarity with the question, became the focus of all eyes and ears. Tired of being thus overshadowed, the gentlemen referred to hit upon a plan for getting even, at least for the once. Selecting an abstruse and very unfamiliar subject, they delved into the Encyclopædia Britannica and thoroughly posted themselves. The question was one on which scientists differed and so the conspirators took opposite sides, each prepared to maintain his view. At a convenient moment during the next dinner when they met Mr. Gladstone, the subject was sprung and immediately the two _disputants_ went at it, hammer and tongs. For some time the fight raged hotly, no one else venturing to take part in the discussion. The trick was working capitally and the triumphant pair cast congratulating looks at one another. Mr. Gladstone hadn't spoken a word. Finally the hostess, in a momentary lull in the conflict, said: "What are your views about this matter, Mr. Gladstone; which do you think right now?" "There is very little choice," returned the sly old fox, turning with a good natured smile to the disputants, "I made up my mind as to that when I wrote the article on the subject in the Encyclopædia Britannica, which, by the way, gentlemen, I see you have been studying very carefully." There was a moment of embarassing silence and then a roar. The conspirators acknowledged themselves fairly beaten and since then they allow Mr. Gladstone the floor whenever he signifies a wish to occupy it.
POINTS ON TOASTS.
The dinner in private house or club where the ladies are at table during the toasts, is perhaps the most trying of all ordeals to the man not blessed with nerve.
Toasts at dinner which are given in honor of some special guest are necessarily of the most informal kind. A bit of interesting personal reminiscence, with as much of the ego eliminated as possible, a good story (always and always the good story) a compliment to the guest of honor a few well chosen words (never fulsome) of praise for host and hostess, and in closing a few lines complimentary to the ladies. This pre-supposes one is expected to give a somewhat extended toast. Ordinarily a story is sufficient. On one point never make a mistake--sit down before your friends have had quite enough of you, never keep on talking until the ladies vote you a bore and the men something more decided.
The host should be the real toastmaster, though his formidable title is concealed under the informal manner in which he draws out his guests. At such a dinner the talks are very short; and generally between courses, as no one can enter on a long dissertation and eat his dinner. Later when the dessert is removed, and the coffee, cigars and liqueurs brought in, the toasts come. If the guest of honor is a traveler the host may start him on his favorite topic by asking: "What do you consider the most dangerous journey you ever took?" Then naturally will follow tales of wrecks, floods, hold-ups, trains missed, traveling in different countries, etc. If the host knows that Jones has the star story and is too modest to assert himself, it is his duty to call on Jones, not in a marked way, but easily, gracefully, helping him along by well-put questions until Jones forgets his embarassment and that he is telling a story.
A man at a formal dinner assigned to "take in" a lady whom he has never met before, should take his conversational cue from her--no Chinese desecration, of course--and thereby avoid pitfalls to which the diffident and embarrassed are often led. Besides, it is woman's admitted privilege to "do all the talking," and she best gives the key note at dinners.
For the informal dinner, be natural, good-natured and jolly. As ready to listen and to laugh heartily at the jokes of others as to talk.
Do not keep silent because you have no spread eagle oration at command, your friends do not expect it. Tell your own interesting experiences, always remembering how tiresome the repetition of the capital "I" becomes.
Avoid telling jokes at the expense of another guest present. This may do at a stag supper, but an enemy may be made by making a friend ridiculous before the ladies.
Make your talk very brief and in telling a story get to the point quickly without dragging in an endless number of uninteresting details.
After you have told your story and made your hit, be content to give others a chance even if you have a host of good stories at command.
If Brown is present do not steal his best story and tell it in his presence; he will not thank you if you do.
Good topics to avoid at a dinner where one does not know the personal history of each guest present, are divorces, jokes on foreigners of any nationality, mixed marriages, politics, religion, in fact anything that could be taken as a personal attack by another guest.
ORIGIN OF TOASTS.
The proposal of a health in an after-dinner speech dates back to mediæval times. At that time the loving cup was used at every banquet. It was filled to the brim with wine and in the center was placed a piece of toasted bread. The cup circulated the table, each one present taking a sip of the wine. When it came back to the host he drained the remaining wine and ate the piece of toast in honor of all the friends assembled at his table.
The ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Assyrians and the Egyptians drank each other's health at dinner, but post-prandial oratory was not adopted until modern times. The Greek toast was, "I salute you, be happy;" that of the Romans, "I drink your health."
ETIQUETTE OF TOASTS.
It is highly improper for a person to drink to his own health, hence the only thing to do when one's health is being drunk by his friends is for the individual honored to leave his glass alone, and bow his thanks in a dignified manner, rising to talk only when he is called on for a speech.
Perhaps one of the wittiest toasts on record is that of Franklin. After the victories of Washington had made his name well known throughout Europe, Franklin chanced to dine with the French and English ambassadors, when these toasts were drunk. The son of Britain rose and proudly remarked: "England--the sun whose beams enlighten and fructify the remotest corners of the earth."
The Frenchman, glowing with national pride, drunk: "France--the moon whose mild, steady, cheering rays are the delight of all nations; consoling them in darkness and making their dreariness beautiful."
This furnished Franklin with a fine opening and his quaint humor bubbled over in his retort: "George Washington--the Joshua, who commanded the sun and the moon to stand still, and they obeyed him."
OLD NEGRO SOL'S TOAST.
Little ter-day and little ter-morrer, Out o' meal and boun' ter borrer; Hoe cake an' dab o' dough, Dash her down an' say no mo'! Peace at home and pleasure abroad, Please your neighbor an' serve de Lord. God bless you.
* * * * *
Well may we ever be, Ill may we never be; Here's to the President And good company.
* * * * *
May health and happiness both be yours, And fortune smile on all you do; And we hope you feel like wishing us The same good things we're wishing you!
--_From Royal Blue._
* * * * *
God made man Frail as a bubble; God made love, Love made trouble. God made the vine, Was it a sin That man made wine To drown trouble in?
* * * * *
May love, like wine, improve as Time advances, May we always have old wines, old friends and young cares.
* * * * *
'Twas nectar fed Of old, 'tis said, Their Junos, Joves, Apollos; And man may brew His nectar too, The rich receipts as follows: Take wine like this, Let looks of bliss Around it well be blended; Then bring wit's beam To warm the stream, And there's your nectar, splendid! So, wreathe the bowl With flowers of soul The brightest wit can find us; We'll take a flight Towards heaven tonight, And leave dull earth behind us!
* * * * *
May every joy the traveler knows, Be yours upon the trip, May favoring winds fill out your sails And safely speed your ship.
May rest and recreation bring Their meed of health and strength While under alien skies you roam, Then homeward turn at length.
* * * * *
To those who have passed me on the highway and gave greeting, To the possible friends who have come my way, whose eyes lingered as they fell on mine, May they ever be eager with youth, and strong with fellowship May they never miss a welcome or want a comrade.
* * * * *
Here's to man, God's first thought. Here's to woman, God's second thought As second thoughts are best-- Here's to woman. Drink, for you know not Whence you came nor why; Drink, for you know not why You go, nor whence.
* * * * *
Here's to the press, the pulpit and the petticoat, the three ruling powers of the day. The first spreads knowledge, the second spreads morals, and the third spreads considerably.
* * * * *
The Lord gave teeth to men, that they might eat, And then, to use them on, he gave us meat; But here's a health to that great man who took And brought the two together--to the cook!
* * * * *
FAMILY DINNER TOAST.
Here's a toast to the host who carved the roast; And a toast to the hostess--may none ever "roast" us.
* * * * *
The soldiers of America. Their arms our defense, our arms their reward; Fall in, men, fall in.
* * * * *
TO A CHAPERONE.
Here's to the chaperone, May she learn from Cupid Just enough blindness To be sweetly stupid.
* * * * *
FOR A PATRIOTIC DINNER.
If we drink to China, we drink the poison of the "Sick Man of the East;" if we drink to Italy, we put "The Boot" on the wrong foot; if we drink to Peru, we burn our lips on the equator; so let us drink to him who hath not harm in his heart, venom in his veins, nor flaw in his flag--Uncle Sam.
* * * * *
Let us toast our huddled little brothers of the frigid North--the Esquimaux. They need it.
* * * * *
Far renowned for larnin' and piety, Still I'd advance ye widout impropriety, Father O'Flynn as the flower of them all. Here's a health to you, Father O'Flynn, Slainte and slainte and slainte agin. Pow'rfulest preacher and tenderest teacher And kindliest creature in ould Donegal.
* * * * *
To the stars and the stripes, To the land of our birth, The American girl-- The best things on earth.
* * * * *
Here's to the lying lips we meet, For truthful lips are bores. But lying lips are very sweet When lying close to yours!
* * * * *
Drink to Life and the passing show, And the eyes of the prettiest girl you know!
* * * * *
Drink, Drink, Drink! Drink to the girl of your heart; The wisest, the wittiest, the bravest, the prettiest; May you never be far apart.
* * * * *
Here's to the girl-- With dash and whirl-- Who rides about in an auto; Here's to the man Who'll bridle her To ride about as she "ought to."
* * * * *
Here's to love, the only fire against which there is no insurance.
* * * * *
Here's to the lasses we've loved, my lad, Here's to the lips we've pressed; For of kisses and lasses Like liquor in glasses, The last is always the best.
* * * * *
To Woman--When she is neither too young to be wise, nor too old to be careful.--_Minnie Thomas Antrim._
* * * * *
To Woman--A paradox who puzzles when she pleases and pleases when she puzzles.--_Minnie Thomas Antrim._
* * * * *
TO THE FINEST GIRL I KNOW.
Here's to her whose presence is ever and always near, Here's to her whose large brown eyes make life forever dear; Here's to her whose fair white skin is clear as the whitest snow, Here's to the sweetest of her sex-- The finest girl I know!
* * * * *
Here's to the rim of my lady's glass, But tipped by her beautiful lip, And here's to the thrill that must certainly pass From the rim to the base of that fortunate glass Whenever she takes a sip.
* * * * *
Here's health to you and wealth to you, Honors and gifts a thousand strong; Here's name to you and fame to you, Blessing and joy a whole life long. But, lest bright Fortune's star grow dim, And sometimes cease to move to you, I fill my bumper to the brim And pledge a lot of love to you!
* * * * *
I fill this cup to one made up Of loveliness alone, A woman, of her gentler sex The seeming paragon. Her health! and would on earth there stood Some more of such a frame, That life might be all poetry, And weariness a name.
--_Edward Coate Pinckney._
* * * * *
TO MY LADY FAIR.
To my lady fair I fill my cup! To my lady fair With the cheeks so rare Where the dimples dare To tarry; To her footsteps bright So like the flight Of a swallow light And airy-- To my lady fair I fill my cup, To my lady fair I drink it up!--_Bayard Bacon._
* * * * *
Oh, lovely woman! man's great bane And joy! You ne'er can pall! Source of all pleasure and all pain, And--bless you! worth it all!
* * * * *
Drink to fair woman, who, I think, Is most entitled to it; For if anything could ever drive me to drink, She certainly could do it.--_B. Jabez Jenkins._
* * * * *
Here's to woman, lovely woman-- Gladdest in her gladness when she's glad; Saddest in her sadness when she's sad; But her gladness when she's glad, And her sadness when she's sad, Aren't in it with her badness when she's bad.
* * * * *
I've toasted your eyes of blue, Marie, I've toasted your hair of brown; I've toasted your name with joyous glee To every man in town.
I've done my best, so here's my plea. Fair lady of winsome frown, Could you decide to make for me My toast of golden brown?
* * * * *
A TOAST OVER THE WEDDING CAKE.
A slice of love; a piece of joy; A chunk of adoration; A sliver of unfailing health, And bridal concentration; An atom of the groom's content; The sweetness of the bride-- And may the crumbs of comfort With both of them abide.
* * * * *
WHEN THE BRIDE BECOMES A MOTHER.
She has planted a family tree that branches forever; let us drink to the dew of its roots and sip the April showers on its buds, and the golden sun that shall never cease to shine on its ripening fruit.
* * * * *
TO A BRIDE.
Happy is the bride whom the sun shines on, And happy today are you; May all of the glad dreams you have dreamed In all of your life come true; May every good there is in life Step down from the years to you.
* * * * *
PICTURE OF A STORK.
Here's to the stork, A most valuable bird, That inhabits the residence districts He doesn't sing tunes, Nor yield any plumes, But he helps out the vital statistics.
* * * * *
AT THE CHRISTENING OF A GIRL BABY.
Here's hoping that the little tot We christened at the water May live to take another name And name another daughter.
* * * * *
We haven't all had the good fortune to be ladies; we have not all been generals, or poets, or statesmen; but when the toast works down to babies, we stand on common ground--for we've all been babies.--_Samuel L. Clemens_ (_Mark Twain_).
* * * * *
WHEN THE OLD BACHELOR ANNOUNCES HIS ENGAGEMENT:
To the hour he found his courage; To the smile that won his heart With a little look of sweetness And a dainty Cupid dart; To the bachelor's broken pledges; To the venial little sin That he cannot do without her-- To the girl that took him in.
* * * * *
Bring frost bring snow, Come winter; bring us holly Bring joy at Christmas, Off with melancholy. Sing ho, sing hey For the holiday.
* * * * *
Sing hey for good Christmas cheer But quaff one glass To the days that pass The last of the grand Old Year.
* * * * *
Here's to the old year, drink boys, drink. Here's to the days that have fled. Old friends, old wine, old memories; Drink to the joys that are dead.
Here's to the New Year stretching ahead, To the days that are blithesome and gay, May the joys of the old be the joys of the new, Its sorrows fade gently away.
* * * * *
Here's good-bye to the old year-- Here's regret. It has done the best it could-- Let's not forget.
Here's greeting to the New Year-- Hold out a hand. Let's do the best that we know how-- Make a good stand.
* * * * *
A basket of Parma violets or of valley lilies makes a delightful gift to carry home to the children of the family after it has beautified a woman's luncheon table. Pale daffodils are exquisite in a grass green frame, and so on.
The bottom of each basket is fitted out with a tin plate filling it exactly. Upon this is placed the damp moss which keeps the blossoms fresh throughout the meal. The flowers are arranged in upright position to look exactly as if growing out from the wicker-work receptacle.
* * * * *
Centerpieces are either very low or very high. There seems to be no intermediate stage. A number of fashionable women whose table fashions are watched and copied still cling to the low bed of flowers which allows one to see the face of the vis-a-vis.
A charming centerpiece which smart florists are suggesting is of white hyacinths and violets. The violets used are either of the pale double varieties or the large single flower--usually the latter.
Violets and hyacinths are not mingled. Either one-half of the centerpiece is formed of each with its own foliage, or large clusters of each are massed together. There is no scattering of the single blossoms.
As for the rose basket. It is entirely lovely. It is in use everywhere. It has one fault. It is sure to cut off one side of the table from the eyes of the other half. Women who must have what is newest use it for every kind of social entertaining--dinners, luncheons--wherever a table is used. More conservative hostesses have one for a wedding breakfast or other affair where there is no question of cutting off the view of any guest.
These baskets are really among the daintiest bits of table furniture that the florists have yet devised. Usually the body of the basket is more or less shallow. The handle curving over it is very high and carried out in some artistic design of wicker-work.
Long rose sprays are loveliest for filling these baskets. When well arranged the sprays appear to spring from the body of the basket, to climb wildly upward along the handle and to meet at the top in a mad tangle of spicy blossoms.
For decorations for a summer luncheon have a large gilt basket of white sweet peas in the center of the table and tiny baskets of gilt wicker filled with white sweet peas at each plate. For ice cream have a boat of plain vanilla filled with luscious fresh strawberries. Red raspberries, ripe peaches or any desired fruit can be used to fill the boat. A pretty conceit would be to have the lower part of the boat of pistachio to represent the sea and the upper part vanilla.
A very effective centerpiece consists of a swinging basket supported by ribbons attached to the chandelier or the ceiling. The baskets, which are filled with cut flowers, are sometimes made of birch bark, and can be made without resorting to the aid of a professional. A square, shallow birch bark basket filled with pansies and suspended by means of yellow, violet or green ribbons is exquisite.
The smartest down-town flower shops are offering pussy willow boughs for table decoration. The soft, downy brown of the buds is often chosen for an entire luncheon decorative scheme, and nothing could be more delicious to the eye. The branches are cut long and are massed together in tall vases. Glass does nicely for this purpose, but porcelain--especially gray, blue or buff-colored porcelain--is ideal.
A masterpiece for the table is a combination of white sweet peas, and the feathery white gypsophilum. All decorations are made low, springing from almost invisible foundations, every leaf and every bloom asserting its individuality, and never were orchids more in demand. For those who cannot afford to invest in them the long iris intermixed with grasses will serve.
A unique and effective decoration for a luncheon table is made of long, narrow bouquets of white carnations, tied with bows of yellow satin ribbon and arranged so that the ribbons all meet in the center of the table, while the points are directed toward the guests. The effect is of a great golden-hearted daisy.
Violets, lovely as they are, do not make a pretty table decoration, being too dull in color. A few scattered in the finger bowls give an air of daintiness and bring with them a delicate fragrance.
For the centerpiece for the Thanksgiving dinner table, this day of days, take a toy wagon, the kind which represents a farm wagon is best, and place it in the center of the table on a mat of wild grasses and berries and fill it to overflowing with luscious fruits, peaches, grapes, oranges, lemons, apples, whatever your larder affords. Entwine the wheels and tongue with smilax or grape leaves. If one is in a city and can afford the expense one can buy one of the larger toy turkey candy boxes and harness it to the cart with red ribbons, or another pretty way is to buy a different sort of animal, or bird candy box for each guest and fasten it with gay ribbons to the front of the toy wagon. A doll dressed as a farmer in blue overalls and big straw hat can be placed on the seat for driver and hold the ribbons.
Another pretty centerpiece is a massive silver bowl, or a fancy Indian basket piled high with pretty fruits, nuts, nut burrs and the vine and berries of the bittersweet. If the dinner is to be late in the afternoon use Colonial candlesticks of brass or glass without shades. At each plate have a toy garden implement tied with a ribbon, the guests' names written on the ribbons.
The Colonial colors, blue and buff, can be used in the celebration of Washington's Birthday. The floors in drawing-room, hall and dining-room are given an extra polish, and only candlelight from wax tapers in sconces, candelabra and Colonial candlesticks of brass allowed. For the table decorations take a long, narrow pasteboard box, round the ends, cover it smoothly with buff satin, and make a boat. Fill this with violets and yellow jonquils, resting on a sea of ferns in the center of the table. A tiny reproduction of the original Stars and Stripes made of silk and fastened to a gilded standard place in the prow of the boat. In one corner of the table have a miniature cherry tree with artificial cherries from the milliner's carefully wired on. On the opposite corner, diagonally, have an imitation stump with hatchet sticking in the wood. In the corresponding corners have white candles with shades in form of yellow jonquils.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY.
Have simply a green plant in the center of the table, the pot being covered with a ruffle of green tissue paper tied with ribbon to match. Ferns or green leaves may be laid on the cloth around the little dishes holding nuts, olives and green candies.
FOURTH OF JULY.
Have a centerpiece of scarlet geraniums, poppies or nasturtiums, white geraniums, daisies, sweet peas and blue cornflowers. Or have a center basket of ferns, the handle tied with red, white and blue ribbons and tiny flags stuck in the ferns. Red and white and blue satin ribbons crossed on the tablecloth or a border of flags crossed in two's make a pretty table decoration. Or for the centerpiece use a large toy cannon decorated with flags. By the side of the cannon stack air guns or any sort of toy guns in stacks of three.
To decorate for Hallowe'en have in the center of the dining table a green jardiniere filled with red and yellow "button" chrysanthemums. Radiating from this have red and yellow ears of corn with green leaves between. At each corner of the table a jack-o-lantern and towards the center, baskets made of pumpkins full of red, green and yellow fruit. Cabbages and turnips hollowed out filled with chestnuts, and carrots used for candlesticks. All set upon mats of autumn leaves on a bare table. The effect is surprisingly artistic.
The centerpiece may consist of three wreaths joined together and laid along the "backbone" of the table. The central wreath must be considerably larger than the other two. All three may be of holly, or prettier still, the larger wreath of holly, the other two of some decorative ferns. In the center of each wreath is arranged a low flower bowl containing rich red carnations or roses.
HELPS OVER HARD PLACES--HINTS TO THE HOSTESS--DON'TS FOR THE TABLE--THE EMERGENCY MISTRESS--PASSING THE LOVING CUP.
One's dinner should be distinguished by that elusive element of informality, which tactfully introduced, is the making of a dinner, in quite the same proportion that its ineffectual simulation is the marring of the feast.
The housewife has many emergencies to face. How to work out of difficulties never met with before taxes all of her ingenuity. She must not allow her perplexity to appear if she is dealing with children or servants, as that would cause them to lose faith in her infallible wisdom.
Does company come in without warning and the sense of hospitality constrain one to invite them to lunch or dinner, the careful Martha is ready for the emergency, and if too late to send to market and what is prepared must be supplemented with something else, she has plenty of canned goods in her storeroom and improvises some dainty dish without a suggestion of flurry. If not so thoughtful she graciously serves her guest with what she has, and never by word or look implies that the call is inopportune.
The true "emergency mistress" is the quiet woman whose friends characterize her as having "plenty of common sense." She stores her mind with useful knowledge and her pantry shelves with abundance of supplies; her work basket always has thread of all colors and needles of every size therein. She has patches to match every garment worn by her children.
The American eatertainer is prone to excess in the quantity which he offers to his guests. He does this out of a mistaken idea of hospitality, not from any fear of being called mean if he should give only a small repast.
As a rule a dinner should consist of not more than five or six chief courses, i. e., soup, fish, _entree_, roast and vegetable, each one served separately, followed by an _entremet_ of some sort, and fruit.
The art of dinner-giving consists in properly combining such dishes as are appropriate to follow each other on the same evening. I have seen a _menu_ composed of turtle soup, salmon, venison and woodcocks, all excellent things in their way, but when brought together only leaving a sense of excessive oiliness and richness.
As an _entree_ the _roti_ should consist of game, and vice-versa. The salad served with poultry and game should be green salad with a simple dressing of oil and vinegar. No set rules can be laid down.
It is true the caterer is an important element in the modern art of dinner-giving--he "saves all the trouble;" but he is a stereotyped quantity. You know just what he will serve, just how he will serve it, and how enthusiastically grateful you would be if he would occasionally leave out croquettes, for instance, and surprise you with a less hackneyed delicacy.
Make no attempt to vary your usual bill of fare. Your guest will infinitely prefer the newness of your dishes to an imitation of her own. If you live in the country, the home-made bacon and ham will be a real treat; and a bass, fresh from the river, will be a revelation to one who has only eaten fish after it has been packed in ice. If you live in the city do not attempt to serve spring chicken to your country guest. It is impossible for a town chicken ever to become the tender, toothsome morsel she is used to at home. But the juicy steaks and roasts you are so tired of, are a treat she can seldom enjoy at her distance from markets.
Oriental sweetmeats have become so popular for afternoon tea tables in New York that many shops keep an extensive selection of these piquant novelties. Among the first favorites are candied Chinese oranges; dates, plums and other stone fruit crystallized by foreign processes and stuffed with nut mixtures; Turkish pastes and East Indian goodies of unpronouncable names.
When a plate is taken to be replenished always leave the knife and fork on it.
Don't drink green chartreuse. Take the yellow. Also beware of the man who takes sweet soda with his brandy, and a man who wants claret from the ice box.
Use your napkin with a finger behind it, drawing it around or across the mouth. Don't use it like a mop and your mouth as if it were the deck of a fishing sloop.
When two or more forks are at your plate, use the smaller one for fish, or whatever the first course may be. The steel knife is for meat. When you have finished, place the knife and fork on your plate crossing each other. Any good servant will know that you have finished.
Don't fold your napkin unless you are dining at home and intend using it again. And if you are entertaining guests, do not do it then, as you thus indicate that you are determined to save the washing of at least one bit of linen.
Tucking a napkin under the chin as if the user was now to be stuffed like a turkey, is in very bad taste. Lay your napkin across your lap. If it falls to the floor, quietly beckon the servant at a convenient time to restore it.
It is no longer the thing to perfume the water in finger glasses, or to offer the _bowls_ with slices of lemon in them. So many people have a positive objection to perfume of any kind that its use in this way is discontinued. The pretty Japanese custom of dropping a flower or flower petals in the glass is, however, growing in favor. Usually the flower chosen corresponds with those used in the centerpiece. A few rose petals floating in the clear water are most attractive. Two or three scented violets are charming. At a little luncheon given in honor of an English woman visiting in this country, each bowl contained a water lily.
Some time ago it was necessary to eat asparagus with one's fingers, while to do so today would be to commit an unpardonable sin in the eyes of society.
Don't decorate with strong scented flowers.
Don't serve boiled fish without potatoes.
Don't serve hot _entrees_ on cold plates.
Don't serve more than two vegetables with meat.
Don't serve asparagus with meat.
Don't force a guest to eat more than he wishes.
Don't apologize for the cook.
Don't make excuses for anything.
Don't mention the cost of any dish.
Don't talk politics or religion at dinner, where guests are of miscellaneous beliefs.
Don't pronounce _menu_ "may-nu," but "men-ue."
Don't pronounce the a long in "a la."
Don't decorate the table with too many flowers.
Don't place more than one plate at each place.
Don't use individual butter dishes.
Don't use the same knife for more than one course.
Don't use the same fork for more than one course.
Don't use a spoon for ices or ice-cream.
Don't serve peas, beans, cauliflower, etc., with meat.
Don't eat too much.
Don't eat too fast.
Don't eat too soon after exercise.
Don't eat much for breakfast.
Don't eat much when traveling.
Don't eat between meals.
Don't eat after 10 o'clock P. M.
Don't eat fish with a knife.
Don't eat ices with a spoon.
Don't eat boiled eggs from a tumbler.
Don't eat everything that you like.
Don't eat anything that you don't like.
Don't eat to please anyone but yourself.
Don't drink when over-heated.
Don't always drink when thirsty.
Don't drink ice-water with hot food.
Don't drink water from a city river.
Don't drink tea with meat.
Don't drink _cafe-au-lait_ for dinner.
Don't drink beer after wine.
Don't drink wine after beer.
Don't drink much at meals.
Don't drink much between meals.
Don't serve oysters after fish.
Don't serve soup twice to any guest.
Don't use a knife for green salads.
Don't overload either the table or the guest with food.
Don't bite off a piece of bread.
Don't scold the servant at the table.
PASSING THE LOVING CUP.
The host and hostess drink first from the loving cup, then the guest of honor drinks and then the others. The cup is passed around the table and each takes a sip and gives a sentiment or toast. If it is an affair given for a guest and not a wedding anniversary, the guest of honor drinks first and christens the cup, then the host and hostess and the guests drink. It is passed at the close of the dinner and may be wine, cider, claret cup or fruit punch.