HOME again after the honeymoon! And now there’s a housewarming in the offing, as befits any hospitable young couple. It may take one of several forms, but my advice is to make it a simple affair until you get your hand in at being both housekeeper and hostess. You can have your big splash later with the easy mind that a little experience gives you.
It’s a nice gesture to invite the home folks and in-laws to be your first guests. How about asking them to dinner and making a real occasion of it? Not a stiff, formal affair, you understand, but with
everything as smart as you can have it— your best china, linen and silver on the table, your house with its best foot forward. and everybody in their best clothes. And. of course, the very best meal you can prepare—simple, but perfect in every detail.
A well-laid plan is the first step if your dinner party is to be a success. You’ll find that there are a lot of things to think about and quite a lot of organization required before you even begin to get down to the actual preparation. Begin by settling on a menu which will do credit to this special occasion but is not too great a
tax on your culinary powers. Consider the cost like any good housewife, and keep within the limits of your budget for entertaining. The abundance of food on the market now will help you serve an economical and at the same time delicious meal, for you won’t need to go in for out - of - season luxuries which run up the price enormously. Then keep in mind color harmony, so that platters and plates will present an attractive appearance when dinner is served. And, of course, the allimportant question of flavor—of each dish and of the whole ensemble.
A lot depends on first impression, so start off the meal smartly with something light and appealing to provoke the appetite and stir up interest. Soup will do it, provided it’s one of the lighter varieties such as a bouillon, a clear tomato broth, or one of the flavorful, not-too-hearty , creamed soups. Tomato juice will make a good beginning, with its refreshing tartness and cheerful color, and so will fruit, either alone or as a delicious medley of flavors to eat from a “cup” or sip from a little glass. As fruit juices are invariably enjoyed and can be prepared ahead of time with almost no fuss at the last moment, suppose you decide on this introduction to your first company dinner. But make it a little out of the ordinary by using two kinds and developing a new flavor not on nature’s list. Grapefruit and rhubarb is one suggestion, and a not too usual one at that. You could buy the grapefruit juice in cans, or squeeze the fruit yourself and supplement it with the distinctive but inexpensive rhubarb flavor. To prepare this, wash and cut the stalks in inch-long sections and put them, skin and all. in a saucepan with enough water almost to cover. Cook until soft-
Maclean's Magazine, July I, 1937
ened, add sugar to sweeten to your taste, then pour into a strainer and let the clear juice drip through, pressing a little to encourage it but not forcing the pulp through the sieve. Then, to serve, combine the two juices in any proportion desired, adding a little sugar syrup if you find it necessary. With this you could have tiny crisp biscuits—another ready-to-use product which requires only the opening of the package but provides a pleasant contrast of texture.
pOR THE main course, how would you like lamb chops and bacon, with fresh string beans and buttered new carrots, as an accompaniment? A pleasant colorgrouping this, as well as a good combination of fine flavors. All easily managed in the kitchen and at the table. Choose the loin chops, which are meaty and generous, cook them under the broiler or in the oven below the top element, and just before they are done lay a slice of bacon over each and cook until crisp and brown at the edges. Or, better still, have the butcher cut each chop round, put a long strip of bacon around the edge and secure with a toothpick. Then all you have to do is to cook the chops as they are, and remove the skewer before serving.
Tender young carrots are attractive cooked whole in very little water with enough salt to bring out their best flavor. Cut the beans in strips lengthwise, and boil the potatoes as they are, dressing them with butter and a sprinkling of chopped parsley afterward.
The simplest kind of a salad—just a bite of crisp freshness— is preferable to a fussy, too substantial one in a dinner menu. You won’t do better than a slice of head lettuce with a piquant French dressing, seasoned with salt, pepper and crumbled Roquefort cheese to give it distinction. Easy to do, too.
From a long list of possibilities for a happy ending to the meal, you’d make no mistake in choosing this lemon cocoanut cream for which the recipe is given. It’s good alone, but is even more delicious when served with crushed strawberry sauce. And if you happen to have blue glass dessert plates, there’s the year’s favorite color scheme for you.
No meal is better than its coffee, so take pains to make a perfect brew and serve it hot at the table if you prefer; in the living room or even on the porch if it’s a balmy summer evening.
For your own peace of mind as well as the smoothness and success of your dinner party, do begin your preparations in plenty of time prior to the great day. Ee sure to see that there are such staples as salt, pepper, sugar, flour and the like on hand, and if you decide on this menu check over the following list of supplies, which is based on amounts necessary for a party of eight—six guests, host and hostess. And get your order in early enough to have all groceries delivered before you need them.
There are other things to be done well in advance if you don’t want the zero hour to find you hectic and flustered. A day ahead, for instance, you can see that the silver is polished till it gleams with a lovely light, the linen pressed to a silky smoothness, and' the house set in order. You can fill the salts and peppers, plan the table decoration, and attend to as many other details as possible. A program of preparation for the day of the party is suggested as a guide to what to attend to early, what to do a short time before the meal, and what requires last-minute attention.
It simplifies service if the fruit juice is in place on service plates when dinner is announced. Its delicate pink color makes the table look gay, and helps to complete an attractive and appetizing picture. Best of all, when you’re your own waitress it starts things off easily and graciously. After removing this course set the platter of chops—garnished but not over-decorated —and one of the vegetables before the host. The other two vegetable dishes go in front of your own place unless there’s a maid to assist, in which case the service could be more formal. Dessert, if molded in a large dish, may be turned out and served at the table, but individual molds n ay be brought from the kitchen on the serving plates. Coffee, that grand climax to a good meal, is poured at the table or later in the living room.
Continued on page 52
Continued from page 50
And so the first dinner comes to a happy ending—and aren’t they proud of you !
Rhubarb and Grapefruit Juice Rolled Lamb Chops with Bacon Radishes Gherkins
Green Beans Buttered Carrots
Lettuce with Roquefort Dressing
Cocoanut Lemon Cream with Crushed Strawberries Coffee
RECIPES Sugar Syrup
2 Cupfuls of granulated sugar 2 Cupfuls of water
Boil the sugar ai d water together for five minutes. Cool and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator. This makes about 2}A, cupfuls of syrup. To substitute syrup for sugar in a recipe, use 1Y tablespoonfuls of syrup for each tablespoon ful of sugar.
Lemon Cocoanut Cream
2 Packages of lemon-flavored jelly powder 4 Cupfuls of hot water 2 Cupfuls of whipping cream 2 Cupfuls of moist shredded cocoanut
Add the hot water to the jelly powder and stir until dissolved. Chill until it begins to thicken. Peat until very light, and fold in the cream which has been whipped until fairly stiff. Fold in the cocoanut, turn into a cold, wet mold, and chill until firm. Serve unmolded with fresh strawberries which have been crushed and sweetened to taste with sugar.
Roquefort Cheese Dressing
2 Teaspoonfuls of salt Yi Teaspoonful of white pepper
4 to 6 Tablespoonfuls of vinegar or lemon juice 1 Cupful of salad oil YÏ Cupful of crumbled Roquefort cheese
Put the salt, pepper, vinegar and salad oil in a jar, cover tightly and shake vigorously until thoroughly mixed. Add the crumbled Roquefort cheese and serve on head lettuce.
1 Can of grapefruit juice 1 Bunch of rhubarb 1 Box of saltines or crisp wafers 8 Chops Pound of bacon
1 Bunch of mint, cress or
parsley (for garnish)
2 Bunches of radishes 1 Bottle of gherkins
1 Measure of potatoes 4 Bunches of carrots
2 Quarts of beans
1 Pound of butter Parsley
1 or \Y> Dozen rolls
2 Firm heads of lettuce 1 Pint of vinegar
1 Small tin of salad oil Y Pound of Roquefort cheese
Maclean's Magczine, July I, 1937
2 Packages of lemon jelly powder
1 Pound of moist shredded cocoanut
1 Pint of whipping cream (for dessert)
Vï Pint of whipping cream (for coffee)
1 Quart box of strawberries YÏ Pound of coffee
Loaf sugar (for coffee)
PROCEDURE The Day Before the Dinner—
Wash the lettuce, leaving the heads whole, drain and place in covered dish in the refrigerator to crisp.
Make the salad dressing.
Remove the leaves from the radishes, wash and cut them, then cover with ice water to crisp and curl.
Prepare the rhubarb juice.
Make the sugar syrup.
Make the dessert. (It may be made early on the day of the party if you have good refrigeration.)
The Day of the Dinner—
“Tidy up’’ the house, dust and air the dining rcom.
Combine the fruit juices and sweeten to taste with sugar syrup.
Wash and remove the skins from the potatoes; leave in cold water until cooking time.
Prepare the beans; remove the ends, cut in halves crosswise and in quarters lengthwise.
Scrape the carrots and leave in a little cold water in a covered dish.
Crush the prepared strawberries and sweeten to taste.
Set the table with cloth, service plates (if used), silver, glass, salt, peppers and serviettes.
Arrange the table decorations.
Chop the parsley, melt the butter for the potatoes and add the parsley, then set aside until required.
Boil the potatoes.
Cook the beans and carrots.
Make the salad. Remove the outer leaves carefully and arrange on salad plates. Cut the remainder of the head into slices and place in the leaves on the plate with two or three wedges of tomato. Place in the refrigerator until serving time. Put the meat to cook and reheat the rolls in the oven in a paper bag at the same time. Heat the plates, platter and vegetable dishes.
Unmold the dessert on a server or individual plates.
Arrange the radishes and gherkins in serving dishes.
Measure the coffee.
Drain the potatoes and add the parsley butter.
Drain the beans and carrots, put in their serving dishes and set in a warm place.
Fill the water glasses with ice cubes and water.
Pour the fruit juice into small chilled glasses and set on the table.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.