Monday, December 14, 2009

How to Give a Servantless Dinner

December is a busy time for many of us, and I'm guessing that at least some of you will be doing some entertaining over the next several weeks. I think it's also a safe bet that most of Uptown residents don't have servants. If that describes you, you might enjoy some tips from the former Uptown-based Buzza Company, the one-time second largest greeting card company in the United States. With that in mind, here are their top eight tips for a smooth do-it-yourself dinner party:

  1. Do not attempt to serve more than eight persons until you are sure you can do it successfully.

  2. Invite guests who are congenial.

  3. Avoid serving things that are too elaborate and fussy.

  4. Eliminate the necessity of passing things to your guests -- if they are good sports they will enjoy the informality and want to be of assistance.

  5. Have everything piping hot that is supposed to be hot. The same applies to cold dishes.

  6. Iced drinking water, rolls, and butter should be conveniently near at hand.

  7. Never attempt more than three courses, the salad to be served with the dinner.

  8. Table should be faultlessly set, according to directions for the informal dinner. Decorations very simple.

Sounds easy, right? Time to move on to the big decision: what to serve for dinner. Never fear, the party planners at Buzza have advice for that, too. Their suggested menu:

  • Cream of minced clam soup, garnished with wafers, celery, olives, and radishes

  • Crown roast of lamb

  • Peas, sweet potatoes en casserole, pickles, relish, jelly, rolls

  • Asparagus tip salad, mayonnaise

  • Chocolate ice-box pudding, whipped cream

  • Coffee, salted nuts, candy

Worried? Don't be: "There is no reason in the world why the independent women of today [1927]," reassures the author, "young brides and housekeepers (provided they know anything at all about cooking), should hire some Martha-by-the-day to do what they themselves can do with such a degree of satisfaction -- (and incidentally save five dollars or more) !

Just don't forget the place cards.

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