We are suffering from a mini heatwave at the moment. You know it’s hot when your candles melt before you even light them!
It’s far too hot to turn on the stove, the oven, the toaster or even to move to the phone to order a pizza. So, instead of cooking this week, I thought I might take a little stroll through Anne Marshall and Elizabeth Sewell’s 1971 work “The Party Cookbook.” And why not? If there is a hell, I’m already well on my way there, so what’s the harm in setting my dial to mock and taking a few steps closer to the flames….
I don’t even know where to start in this feast of rich pickings. So I’m just going to let this picture speak for itself…because nothing screams party like this good time gal!
This is Elah Lowe who wrote the Luncheon Party section of the book. Elah’s menu for lunch consists of Chicken Cacciatore, Noodles, Pears Vinaigrette, Cheese and something called Malakoff which sounds a bit like a tiramisu.
Elah has this to say about her luncheon menu
“The following menu is suitable for a special person one has invited to lunch, for any group with a guest speaker or for a party of friends 1. The luncheon suggested is light2 and interesting and can be prepared in advance, which is essential for the hostess who can then be with her guests. She can be relaxed and entertaining, rather than hot and flustered, in the kitchen.3”
- So….pretty much any reason to hold a lunch then.
- Quiche and salad are light. Chicken cacciatore and noodles? Not so much.
- Elah might be good on lunches. She’s not so good on grammar. My understanding is that if you remove the clause separated by commas the sentence should stand. So, that last sentence would read, “She can be relaxed and entertaining in the kitchen”. Hmm…presumably getting stuck into the cooking sherry and cracking a few gags for the benefit of the vegetables. Meanwhile the guests in the dining room are trying not to reel from the shock of that wallpaper. No wonder Elah’s holding out a chair, she’s probably used to people staggering and feeling faint as they walk into the room. The curtains and matching table-cloth? Are just putting out the fire with gasoline.
Moving on to another party girl, let’s have a look at the Morning Coffee Party. This über babe is Enid Wells.
Enid tells us that the hostess of the Morning Coffee Party needs to:
“Make sure the coffee is piping hot. Percolated coffee is preferred by most people. Instant coffee is preferred by some people because of the short preparation time1. For a Morning Coffee Party, the hostess should be prepared to serve percolated coffee.”
- The shrunken head of the last person who served me instant coffee is now hanging on my wall along with my bow, my arrows and my machete. Be afraid.
Enid also advises that:
“The food should be simple, varied in flavour, attractively presented but never elaborately decorated”
You got it there, sister. Rarely have I seen two more atrociously decorated cakes than the ones in this picture. What is going on with the cinnamon nut bun in the front? Did Enid just throw the icing at it? Also, it’s lopsided to say the least. The icing on the gingerbread in the mid-ground also leaves a lot to be desired….that’s one wobbly line….I dread to think what the other 3 sides look like if that’s the one they chose to show to the camera.
Wow! No sooner than the words “atrociously decorated cake” come out of my mouth than I turn the page and….oh boy….
I have never really understood the penchant for cakes shaped like animals.
“Here you are Grandma, have a bit of Skippy’s arse on a plate. We saved it specially for you….now, who wants an eyeball?”
Why would anyone choose to do that? It’s weird and gross.
That’s enough for today, there will be more, I’m only about a third of the way through the book.
I’m going to practice my newly discovered skill of making things happen just by saying them.
Must go, Ryan Gosling’s at the door… and bless him, he’s brought pizza.
Enjoy your week!
Tagged: 1970's Cookbooks