Menus For Special Occasions
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
For special occasions one need not be so particular about the proper proportion of each food, although it is always well to consider health. A very rich sweet ice cream with a rich cake should not be used as no hostess wishes her guests to be ill after eating the meal she serves.
A pleasing color scheme is attractive, but should not be se-cured by the use of artificial colorings of food. The red of apples, peppers, and tomatoes, the golden hue of cake and rolls, the brown of chocolate, and the brown and cream of candies all are useful. A flower of the desired hue may be placed on each plate.
The Floral Decorations. Flowers add to the beauty and enjoyment of any social occasion ; expensive hothouse varieties, however, are no more beautiful than many wild or garden flowers and fruit blossoms. Such humble flowers as petunias or phlox daintily arranged with a bit of fern are very attractive. The corn flower is one of the few blue flowers to be had, hence it is very useful for patriotic occasions. In the spring, fruit blossoms and in the autumn berries and bright leaves and vines are most appropriate. If the housekeeper has even a small yard she may always have some flowers except during the winter. A small window garden will afford some blossoms even at Christmas; the bulbs are most satisfactory for winter and early spring.
Flowers are not always needed for decoration. At Thanks-giving fruit and autumn leaves seem more appropriate ; for Christmas, holly, mistletoe, or any other attractive green shrubs are more suitable than cut flowers. A sparkling tree or a Santa Claus makes an attractive centerpiece.
The following special menus will suggest some pleasing combinations and color schemes :
Washington's Birthday. Colors, red, white, and blue. Use old blue china, bread and butter rolls tied with red (or red, white, and blue ribbon) ; chicken salad, molded in tomato aspic; small frosted cakes with a cherry on top; lemonade, punch, or coffee.
Valentine Party. I. Frosted heart shaped cakes; fruit punch.
II. Heart shaped chicken sandwiches garnished with olives; sherbet and heart shaped frosted cakes.
Fourth of July. Chicken sandwiches, made of white bread cut in rounds; salad of stuffed tomatoes, served on blue plates; brick ice cream in white plates with tiny flags on each plate.
Halloween Party for Children. Minced chicken sandwiches; ginger bread; lemonade; peanut brittle.
Gold and White Ice Course. (Gold rimmed china.)
I. Caramel ice cream; frosted angel cake; a yellow rose or daisy on each plate.
II. Vanilla cream; unfrosted sponge cake.
3. Sherbet in orange baskets and white cake.
Red, White, and Green Color Scheme for Afternoon Party. Use a salad of green peas with Mayonnaise on lettuce leaf; round sandwich of white bread with filling of cheese and nuts. A bit of bread is removed from one side of the sandwich and a thin crosswise slice of olive stuffed with pimento is laid in so that its surface is just even with the surface of the bread, thus giving the red, white, and green. Following this a white ice, lemon sherbet, or ice cream may be served in a paper case with an outside covering of green crepe paper; a narrow red satin ribbon is tied around the case near the top; accompanying this is a small white frosted cake.
For Afternoon Tea:
I. Nut sandwiches; small cakes; coffee or tea.
II. Sweet sandwiches; hot chocolate with whipped cream.
Chafing Dish Supper:
I. Hot scrambled eggs with grated cheese, or a welsh rarebit; lettuce or tomato sandwiches; bread and butter sandwiches; olives; small cakes; tea or coffee.
II. Creamed oysters or chicken (from cold roast chicken) on toast; celery salad with French dressing; bread and butter sandwiches; small cakes; coffee or tea.
I. Cold chicken (roasted, fried, or in chicken pie); bread and butter sandwiches; olives; celery salad; small cakes; fresh fruit; pecan candy; coffee.
II. Roast beef or ham sandwiches; bread and butter; stuffed eggs;
whole tomatoes served with salt; fresh pineapple or peaches; cookies; lemonade.
III. Lettuce and nut sandwiches; stuffed eggs; Graham biscuits with filling of cottage cheese; fresh fruit; cookies; hot or iced tea.
IV. A menu that may be prepared in the woods--Sandwiches or bread and butter; fruit and small cakes may be brought from home; bacon or meat may be broiled over the coals on a stiff green twig; potatoes, corn, and eggs may be roasted in ashes, and coffee may be made.
SERVING FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
An Afternoon Reception or Tea. Unless one is able to employ a caterer it is best to choose simple dishes, simply prepared.
A tea table should be large; a round one is to be preferred. Its polished surface should be protected by handsome doilies; a low bowl of flowers should be placed in the center, although in autumn fruit and bright leaves would be appropriate. About the centerpiece arrange several shaded candles in silver or crystal holders; if the room is not darkened these will not be needed. Put on the table plates of dainty sandwiches and small cakes, and glass or silver dishes of salted nuts, mints, or other confections (if they are to be used).
If coffee and tea are both served place one service at each end of the table. Put a dish of sliced lemon and one of cut sugar on the tea tray or on the table near the teapot. Place with the coffee a pitcher of hot cream, and sugar and tongs for serving (a spoon or the tips of the fingers may be used). Small flaring cups of the standard tea pattern are used for tea ; after dinner coffee cups are used for coffee. Use small spoons. If a large number are to be served have the tea made in the kitchen and strained into a hot pot so that it will not grow strong with standing; even with this precaution fresh tea should be made several times during a large reception, as it loses its fragrance by standing. Coffee may be made in quantity and the pot re-filled, if one has no coffee urn an electric plate may be used under the pot if the table is protected.
Chocolate, beaten and flavored, is served in the same manner as tea and coffee. Put a spoonful of whipped cream on each cup. Use a glass, silver, or china bowl and a small ladle for the cream. A chocolate service may be used, but a tall china or silver pitcher and coffee or teacups may take its place. Small cakes or sweet sandwiches may be served with chocolate ; never meat or cheese or rich salad dressings, as chocolate contains much fat.
Punch alone or punch with small cakes may be served. A small table will usually suffice for punch. Arrange the glasses and the bowl and place a silver ladle in the bowl. Provide enough glasses to give each guest a clean one. A part of the glasses may be washed while the others are in use.
A Chafing Dish Supper. The chafing dish is a most useful article, not only for the college girl but for the house-keeper. A hot dish prepared on it and served with some cold foods will make a most attractive Sunday night or other supper.
Arrange the table as for afternoon tea, putting on plates of sandwiches, cold meat, and cakes. Put the chafing dish on the tray with the needed spoons or ladles in .the place of the tea service. Put the plates in which the dish is to be served in front of and to the right of the tray; lay the forks or spoons beside it (knives are not usually needed). Oyster stew or hot soup may be served from the chafing dish. If coffee or tea is served, put the service before the person who is to pour it. A creamed dish n toast or crackers accompanied by a salad, sandwiches, small cakes, and a hot beverage makes a pleasing supper.
The Picnic Luncheon. In planning a picnic menu, remember that if full benefit of the outing is to be enjoyed, the food must be wisely selected and prepared in simple ways. Fried foods, such as potato chips and doughnuts, and rich pastries, canned meats, and highly seasoned foods are no more digestible on a picnic than at home. For meats use veal, mutton, beef, or plain boiled ham, roast chicken or turkey. Chicken pie, thin slices of boiled ham with stuffed eggs lightly seasoned, baked beans, and meat sandwiches are all popular. Wrap meats and sandwiches in oiled paper.
Salads must be fresh and crisp ; wrap salad plants in a damp cloth until ready to serve ; it is best to carry the salad dressing in a jar having a screw top and put it on the salad when ready to serve. Carry salmon or potato salad in deep bowls covered with oiled paper:
Fresh fruit is always good on a picnic; fresh pineapple pared, pulled apart, and sprinkled lightly with sugar, then chilled before packing, will be crisp at serving time.
Cookies or small cakes, and loaf or layer cakes that can be carried without being mashed, are all good picnic foods. Some simple home-made candy may be used—peanut brittle, fudge, or divinity.
For beverages lemonade and iced or hot tea, or coffee are suit-able. Tea and coffee should not be habitually used by young people, but when one is in the woods a hot beverage seems most appetizing. Carry lemon juice mixed with sugar or a syrup in jars or bottles and add the required quantity to a glass of cold water when needed. Carry strong tea in the same manner. Coffee for a small party may be carried in a thermos bottle, but the odor of coffee being made seems to give a real picnic atmosphere. Carry the coffee in a can or jar to keep the odor from other foods, and provide a cheesecloth bag for making it. Tea should be made fresh. Take a small teakettle or saucepan for boiling water; the kettle is best. Do not forget tea and coffee pots if needed. One is usually thirsty when outdoors, hence an abundance of the selected beverage should be provided.
Butter should be carried in a can or screw-top jar. A small quantity may be put in a jelly glass wrapped in a wet cloth. Carry sugar and salt in tightly covered jars or cans. Cheese, olives, and pickles also should be put in jars.
The Dishes. Use sterilized pasteboard. or wooden plates. Provide plates, cups or glasses, spoons, knives and forks (if needed) for each person. Take a paper tablecloth or an old linen one, and paper napkins.
Dishes Prepared Out of Doors. In camp cookery, a good bed of coals, not so large that the heat is too great, is essential to success. Meat may be broiled on a strong green twig over the coals. Eggs, potatoes, and unhusked corn may be roasted in the hot ashes with a few coals on top. Remember that the time and temperature for cooking these foods are the same whether out or indoors. Bread may be baked in a Dutch oven or on a hot stone, although the last is a tiresome process. Some most appetizing stews of meat or vegetables may be made.