Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! With the holiday only two days away, you may have your mind on entertaining–food, guests, activities…But, are you really thinking about the correct things? Undoubtedly. If, however, you’d like to ponder the finer points table setting and silver serving pieces, How to be a Successful Hostess is here to help!
Written by Sandra Bruce and sponsored by/featuring the silver of Reed and Barton (a company still in business today), this is a compact, but thorough, guide to silverware. It starts with information and suggested menus for different types of event: formal and informal dinners, afternoon tea, cocktail parties, special events, etc. Most sections offer general advice, but the section on cocktail parties includes lots of recipes, along with some advice.
Probably the preparation of drinks is in the able hands of the master of the house; but even so, it is essential that every hostess be prepared to put together a really good cocktail in an emergency. With that in mind, we offer here some popular recipes for a number of the drinks most commonly called for.
While the probability of that being the situation today is far lower (I promise you, women make excellent bartenders!), this is followed by a helpful two pages of classic recipes and a page on different types of glassware.
The majority of the booklet, however, is about silver: what to have, how to choose it, how to set it on a table, how to decorate it (seriously, 4 pages on how to choose a monogram), and how to store and clean it. In the end, we might find the title a little misleading–menu planning, table setting, and selecting/keeping silver are a part of etiquette, but perhaps not the most important parts of it. That being said, if you’re interested in the larger “etiquette” picture of our collection, this is an a piece of the puzzle. There are other items in the History of Food and Drink Collection that can give you more information on how to invite guests to dinner, where to seat them, how to write a thank you note after an invitation, and a host of other aspects of entertaining. So, whether you’ve got 4 for a small dinner or 25 for a buffet, we’ve got volumes of advice to share!
Have a happy Thanksgiving and after you’ve recovered from the dinner and the leftovers, we’ll be here. You know, in case you’re ready to start planning table decorations for the next set of holidays. :)