Breakfasts and Teas
NOVEL SUGGESTIONS FOR SOCIAL
Editor and Publisher of What to Eat, the National Food Magazine.
Superintendent of Food Exhibits at the St. Louis Worlds's Fair.
Honorary Commissioner of Foods at the Jamestown Exposition.
BREWER, BARSE & CO.
To Women Editors.
In appreciation of the many favorable press notices and high editorial comment given to my previous efforts in the compilation of books on suggestions for entertaining and in the publication of my magazine, What To Eat, this book on "Breakfasts and Teas," is inscribed. Full well I realize the difficulties under which most Women Editors labor in their duty of suggesting new ideas for entertaining, and I hold a sincere appreciation for the good they perform in elevating the women of our country to a higher plain of civilization. When the woman is done with the school room and finds herself in the social whirl it is then she begins to see that she has another and very important course of learning to acquire and forthwith she submits herself to the tutorage of the editor of the woman's page. No school teacher of the world has such a large class to instruct as this woman editor. Her pupils are numbered by the thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands. The knowledge she must impart is not of the kind that has been set down by past generations and which once learned suffices as a supply for all future dispensations. It is a knowledge of the day, which is constantly changing and which must be gleaned each day for the lessons of the morrow. This little book embraces the latest information on the title it bears, and all herein contained, that may be of help to the woman editor, she is welcome to use if she will comply with the publisher's rule of giving the proper credit to the volume.
"Breakfast and Teas" is a companion book to that most interesting and helpful series of social works compiled by Paul Pierce, publisher of What To Eat, the National Food Magazine, and the world's authority on all problems pertaining to the drawing room and the table. The other books are "Dinners and Luncheons," "Parties and Entertainments," "Suppers," and "Weddings and Wedding Celebrations." The contents of each olume are selected with especial regard for the extent of their helpfulness for the perplexed hostess. The instructions that are given will afford suggestions for all the different kinds of social functions the host or hostess ever will have occasion to give or to attend, and therefore all the volumes combined will furnish a veritable library for the person who entertains or who attends entertainments, and no person with a regard for correct social forms should fail to be supplied with all five of the books. In the directions special attention is given to the suggestions afforded for other kinds of entertainments, so that in each entertainment described the reader will find ideas for a dozen or more entertainments of a similar nature.
Chapter I. Breakfasts at High Noon—Typical Breakfast Menu—Breakfast Decorations—Two Bride-Elect Breakfasts—Silver Wedding Day Breakfast—A Family Breakfast—Light Informal Breakfast.
Chapter II.. Two Bon Voyage Breakfasts—Who Takes the Cake?—Breakfast and Tea for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Chapter III. A Cuban Breakfast.
Chapter IV. Spring and Autumn Breakfasts—April Breakfast—A Maypole Breakfast—May Breakfast—An Autumn Breakfast—A Musical Romance—A Red Rose Breakfast—Chrysanthemum Breakfast—Pond Lily Breakfast—A Tulip Breakfast—A Grape Breakfast—Woman's Club Breakfast—Breakfast al Fresco.
Chapter V. The Modern 'Five O'Clock' Tea—An Afternoon Tea—Telling Fortunes by Teagrounds.
Chapter VI. Scotch Teas—A Gypsy Tea Out of Doors.
Chapter VII. Japanese Teas.
Chapter VIII. Two Valentine Teas.
Chapter IX. A Grandmother's Tea Party—An April Fool Tea—A Colonial Tea—Pretty Rose Tea—Omber Shades of Rose—A Bouquet Tea—Spring Planting—A High Tea—Book-Title Teas—Patriotic Tea—Debut Tea—Yellow Tea—A Candle-Light Tea—A Flower Tea—An Exchange Tea—A Watermelon Tea.
Chapter X. Unique Ideas for Teas—A Chocolatiere—A Kaffee Klatch—A "Rushing" Tea for Sorority—Sandwiches for Teas—Novelties in Tea Serving—Summer Porch Tea Parties.
Breakfasts at High Noon.
A VERY SWELL REPAST FOR A SWAGGER SET.
By the operation of one of those laws of occult force, the power of which we feel while we are totally ignorant of its rules, we fix upon the noonday as the time for some of our chief social functions.
As a matter of fact we are at our best at this time of the day, both physically and mentally; and we naturally choose it for our special entertainments and enjoyments.
One of the chief of these is the noonday breakfast, which meets several social demands. It is the proper service for the return of nearly every obligation in the form of hospitality which may have been received by the giver during the closing season.
This noonday breakfast very much resembles the morning breakfast of the French country-house in the variety of foods. This repast always is most attractive to an American because of its informality, and the viands are enticing. This morning breakfast of the Parisian is really like a little dinner, and that is what we wish to serve to meet all the varied obligations that are to be wiped out by an artistic and choice return entertainment, whether it be called luncheon or noonday breakfast.
When a luncheon or noonday breakfast by formal invitation is given, the service is identical with that of dinner a la Russe, and the bill of fare similar, although[Pg 8] less extended; but the pleasantest repasts are those where perfect service is secured without formality.
First, the table: Lay it as carefully as for dinner and in much the same way, save that an embroidered or delicately colored cloth may replace the white dinner linen; under this cloth lay the usual thick one of felt or Canton flannel. The small dessert and fruit, flowers and relishes, may form a part of the table decoration. Now that castors are seldom used, unless of fine old silver and ornamental form, place conveniently about the table salt, pepper, the oil and vinegar stand, and the table sauces in their original bottles set in silver holders. Olives, salted almonds, cheese-straws and sandwiches may be put upon the table in pretty china, silver and glass ornamental dishes; in short, all save the hot dishes may form part of the ornamentation. Hot plates are required for all the food except the raw shell-fish, salad and dessert, and should be ready for immediate use, together with a reserve of silver, or means for washing it. The coffee service may be laid before the hostess or upon the side table, at convenience; chocolate is similarly served, and is a favorite breakfast beverage, especially when it is made with eggs, after the Mexican method.
Tea is not on the regulation breakfast list, but of course it may be served if it is desired. Cider, malt liquors, the lighter wines, and in summer the various "cups" or fruit punches are in order; the breakfast wines are sherry, hock or Rhine wine, sauterne and champagne; and when a variety is served the preference[Pg 9] of each guest is ascertained by the attendant before filling the glasses.
The following is an excellent bill of fare for a noonday breakfast:
Little Neck Clams
Cold Wine Soup
Angels on Horseback
Green Peas with New Turnips
Grape Fruit Sherbet
Broiled Birds with Orange Salad
Cannelons with Jelly
Strawberries in Cream
For a simple repast for a few persons, two relishes may be omitted, only one entree being served; then the sherbet, the birds, and one desert, with coffee; this combination would make a most acceptable small breakfast.
Blue Point Oysters, as all small oysters are called, may be used in their season, in place of the clams. Both are of much dietetic value, the clams being the most stimulating and nutritious, and the oysters the most tonic and digestible.
The cold wine soup is a valuable tonic nutrient; and each dish possesses some special value of its own.
Cold Wine Soup.
Wash quarter of a pound of fine sago in cold water, put it over the fire in two quarts of cold water, and boil[Pg 10] it gently until the grains are transparent; then dissolve with it half a pound of fine sugar, add a very little grated nutmeg, a dust of cayenne, and an even teaspoonful of salt; when the sugar is melted add a bottle of claret, and as much cold water as is required to make the soup of an agreeable creamy consistency; cool it before serving.
Angels on Horseback.
This is one of the gastronomic inspirations of Urbain Dubois, the chef of the great Emperor of Germany. Remove all bits of shell from fine oysters and lay them upon a clean towel; cut as many slices of thin bacon, about the size of the oysters; run them alternately upon bright metal skewers, dust them with cayenne, lay the skewers between the bars of a double-wire grid-iron, and broil the "angels" over a quick fire until the bacon begins to crisp; then transfer the skewers to a hot dish garnished with lemon and parsley, or with cresses, and send at once to table. In serving, a skewerful of "angels" is laid upon a hot plate, and the eater removes them with a fork. The success of this dish depends upon the rapidity with which it is cooked and served.
The housewife is advised to procure the cooked patty cases at the baker's shops, ready to be heated and filled with the following ragout. For a dozen patties remove the bones and skin from a pint bowlful of the white meat of cold boiled or roasted chicken, and cut[Pg 11] it into one-half inch pieces. Open a can of mushrooms, save the liquor, and cut the mushrooms about the size of the chicken; put over the fire in a saucepan a tablespoonful each of butter and flour, stir them until they are smoothly blended; then gradually stir in the mushroom liquor and enough milk to make a sauce which should be as thick as cream after it has boiled; add the chicken and mushrooms, a palatable seasoning of salt and pepper; place the saucepan in a pan containing boiling salted water and keep hot until it is time to fill the hot patty cases and serve them.
Green Peas with New Turnips.
Peal about a dozen new turnips of medium size, boil them until tender in salted boiling water; meanwhile smoothly mix in a saucepan a tablespoonful each of butter and flour, and gradually stir in a pint of milk. Open a can of French peas, drain them, run cold water through them, draining again, and heat them in the sauce, seasoning them palatably with salt and white pepper. When the turnips are tender scoop a hollow in the center of each, fill it with peas, and arrange them upon the rest of the peas on a hot shallow dish.
Typical Breakfast Menu.
Here is a typical breakfast menu: Grape fruit, plain or prepared by removing the center and putting in it a spoonful of rum and a lump of sugar; some cereal with cream or fruit; a chafing dish preparation, oysters in some way, mushrooms, or eggs, or a mixture on toast;[Pg 12] hot bread of some kind, waffles, corn cakes, pancakes, flannel cakes, etc.; coffee and coffee cake.
The sunburst done in one color is a very popular design for summer hostesses. Suppose one is giving a pond lily breakfast. In the center of the table have a cut glass bowl of the lilies. From beneath the bowl radiate long streamers of pale green ribbon ending at the plates of the guests with name cards decorated with the lilies cut out of watercolor paper. Half way between the bowl and the plate, the ribbon is knotted about a bouquet of the flowers or a bunch of maidenhair ferns which will become the corsage bouquet of the guest. Sometimes several strands of narrower ribbon are used giving more rays; a very pretty effect. Do not have artificial light at a summer breakfast. Garden flowers are all the rage, either one kind or several kinds mixed. Coreopsis, mignonette, featherfew, nasturtiums, lilies, sweet peas, geraniums, all the simple garden flowers are used now in place of the hothouse products.
Breakfast to Bride-Elect.
To a Bride.
Happy is the bride whom the sun shines on,
A breakfast for a bride-elect can be made very dainty and pretty by following out a pink color scheme, unless one prefers the more common scheme of white. Cover the table with the prettiest, whitest damask, and over this lay lace-trimmed or openwork doilies, with a foundation of pink satin underneath. For flowers have pink begonias (very pretty and effective), carnations, roses, azaleas or cyclamens. Arrange the flowers in a center basket with a large pink butterfly bow on the handle. Light the table with pink candles and shades in silver or china candlesticks. Have the place cards in heart shapes with pen and ink sketches or watercolors of brides, or tiny cupids.
Mark the bride-elect's chair by a large bow of ribbon or a bouquet of pink flowers matching those on the table. If white flowers are used, lilies of the valley and hyacinths make a pretty bouquet, tied with white gauze ribbon.
Serve this menu:
Grape Fruit with Rum and Cherries
Stuffed Peppers (Serve on Heart-Shaped Pieces of Bread)
Tiny Heart-Shaped Hot Rolls
Sweetbread Salad in Tomato Cups on Lettuce Leaf
Ice Cream in Shape of Wedding Bells Filled with Candied Fruits
Cocoanut Cake and Angel Food in Heart Shape
A tiny bouquet of violets tied with gauze ribbon at each plate makes the table pretty and is a dainty souvenir for the guest. Sometimes the individual favors are tiny wicker hampers filled with fine flowers tied with white silk cord.
For the Bride-Elect.
A white breakfast is the daintiest and prettiest for the bride-elect. Have the table decorations in white. For the center have a large round basket of bride roses, and at each plate tiny French baskets filled with maidenhair fern and white pansies, or apple blossoms, for individual favors. Tie the handle of each basket with white gauze ribbon, looping the baskets together with the ribbon forming a garland for the table. Serve strawberries in large white tulips or bride roses, and have the ices in form of wedding bells. For name cards have two wedding bells tied with white satin ribbons.
Silver Wedding Day Breakfast.
For the breakfast the table is crossed by a broad band of white carnations, sprinkled with diamond dust. Arranged in billows over the table is silver gauze, silver candelabra, and all the handsome silver, which the hostess possesses. The menu is:
Breast of Turkey, larded and broiled
Pear and Celery Salad, with German Cherries served in Hearts of Lettuce[Pg 15]
Caramel Ice Cream, with Pecan Meringue
Old Madeira is served with the meat course, then Sauterne.
A Family Breakfast.
Grape Fruit with Cherries and Pineapple
New Potatoes with Sauce of Parsley and Drawn Butter
Asparagus on Toast
Waffles and Maple Syrup
Strawberry Shortcake, with Frozen Whipped Cream
Light Informal Breakfast.
First serve a fluffy egg omelet with Saratoga potatoes, and fish and cheese sandwiches cut in hearts and rings. Next cucumber boats filled with cucumber and tomato salad mixed with sour cream dressing, resting on lettuce leaves. With this an innovation in the shape of square ginger wafers. Place by each plate salted almonds and bread and butter on bread and butter plates. The last course is a popular New England combination, warm apple sauce and huckleberry muffins. Tea is the beverage.[Pg 16]
Two Bon Voyage Breakfasts.
"I take my leave of you
Use the national colors for decorations for a bon voyage breakfast. This will remind the guest of honor that "East, West, Hame's Best." Use blue and white hyacinths and red tulips, carnations or roses and tiny silk flags can be used for place cards. Carry out the same idea in the ices, candies, etc. One pretty floral decoration for a bon voyage breakfast is a ship and the place cards can have a tiny ocean steamer for decoration. Ask each guest to bring some little gift. Tie these with tissue paper and baby ribbon, leaving a long end of the ribbon. Make a little bag of flowered chintz or silk and place the gifts inside. Have cards labeled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc., one for each day of the voyage. Slip the end of the ribbon through a card and leave the labeled ends of the ribbons sticking out of the top of the bag. This will give a little remembrance for each day on shipboard, a very pleasant remembrance too. A packet of ship letters each labeled a certain day, is another gift much prized by travelers.
Have three tables, with six guests at a table with La France roses for decorations, and silver for all the courses laid at each cover.[Pg 17]
The guest cards are little circular marine water color sketches, no two alike. The menu is as follows:
Grape Fruit with strawberries
Wafers with Melted Cheese
Molded Cherry Jelly with English Walnuts, served with Whipped Cream
The grape fruit is served in halves with one large strawberry in the center of the fruit. The salmon croquettes are molded in pyramidal form, a bit of cress laid on the top, and the mush which has been made the night before is cut in cubes an inch square, dipped in eggs and cracker dust, then dropped in deep fat, the only way to fry mush a delicate brown and preserve its softness. A spoonful of current jelly completes a color scheme.
Grind with a food chopper the meat of two raw chickens and half a pound of pickled pork. Add a cup of sifted bread crumbs, half a cup of thick sweet cream, half a cup of butter, half a can of chopped mushrooms, a little minced parsley, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with the hands and put into well greased timbale cups and steam three hours.
Make a sauce for this by mixing the liquor of the mushrooms, half a cup of cream, the rest of the mushrooms,[Pg 18] chopped; heat and thicken with half a cup of cracker dust. Serve very hot.
With the smallest sized potato scoop, cut out a pint of potato balls about the size of common marbles and boil in salted water until tender. Let them cool, and add a pint of the largest peas, three stalks of minced celery, a good sized cucumber cut fine, ten drops of onion juice. Salt and pepper any good cooked dressing, to which add two large spoonfuls of thick cream and two of olive oil. Serve on a lettuce leaf, pour over the dressing, and last of all put on the top of the salad three little balls of red pickled beet cut with the potato scoop, and half embedded in the dressing.
Make a gelatine jelly, flavored with juice of two lemons and cherries. Serve with whipped cream, into which beat finely sifted crumbs of three macaroons.
Who Takes the Cake?
"Who takes the cake?" is a most merry-making scheme to assist in entertaining at a breakfast. The hostess provides upon slips of paper, what may be termed cake-conundrums. These are neatly written and wound upon coarse steel knitting needles into little rolls and tied with baby-ribbon to match the color scheme of the table.
These are brought in just after serving the coffee and passed to the guests. The hostess announces that each is to guess the name of the cake suggested on her[Pg 19] slip; adding, the one who gives the most correct answers wins the prize of a delicious cake. This should be exhibited. The hostess has a list of the answers, and when one misses the "hit," she reads it aloud to the merriment of the crowd. For instance, one slip reads: Name the President's cake. The answer is (Election). The parenthesis must not appear on the slips. A list recently used, and very wittily selected, is given for suggestion:
Many others can be added by the clever hostess.
Breakfast and Tea for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Oranges and Grapes
Farina with Dates and Cream and Sugar
Oysters in Potato Balls
Rice Muffins with Maple Syrup
Chocolate with Whipped Cream
Bread and Butter Sandwiches
Gipsy Jelly with Whipped Cream
Lemon Cocoanut Cake
Meringues filled with Preserved Walnuts
Cocoa with Whipped Cream
Oysters in Potato Balls.
Cook the potatoes the day before. While hot mash them, season nicely with salt, paprika and a little celery salt. Add a generous lump of butter, and one or two lightly beaten eggs. Form into little balls with the hands floured. The next morning scoop out a hollow large enough to hold two or three nicely seasoned oysters, press over the part removed, egg and bread-crumb, and fry in a wire basket in deep hot fat. Drain a minute on unglazed paper, and serve at once.
Sift together half a teaspoonful of salt, a heaping teaspoonful of baking powder, and two cupfuls of flour. Add two well-beaten eggs to one cupful of sweet milk, and stir into the flour, with one teaspoonful of melted butter and one cupful of dry boiled rice. Beat thoroughly, and bake in buttered pans for thirty-five minutes. Serve with maple syrup.
Cut the cold turkey meat into dice and mix it with twice the quantity of diced celery and one cupful of[Pg 21] broken walnut meats. Mix all well together and moisten with a good boiled dressing. Serve in a nest of bleached lettuce.
Roll rich pastry out very thin, cut it into circles with a small tumbler, put two teaspoonfuls of grated cheese in the center of each, add a dash of cayenne and a teaspoonful of finely chopped walnut meats, then draw the edges of the paste together over the cheese, pinching it well to form a little ball. Bake in a hot oven to a very pale brown. Before serving reheat in the oven.
Cut one large stale sponge cake in horizontal slices the whole length of the loaf. They should be half an inch thick. Beat the whites of four eggs to a stiff snow, divide it into two portions; into one stir two level tablespoons of powdered sugar and one-half of a grated cocoanut; into the other stir the same amount of powdered sugar and one-half pound of sweet almonds blanched and pounded. Spread the slices of cake with these mixtures, half with the cocoanut and half with the almond, and replace them in their original form. The top crust should be cut off before slicing the cake as it is used for a lid. Hold the sliced cake firmly together and with a sharp knife cut down deep enough to leave only an inch at the bottom, and take out the center, leaving walls only one inch thick. Soak the part removed in a bowl with one cupful of rich custard[Pg 22] flavored with lemon. Rub it to a smooth batter, then whip into it one cupful of cream which has been whipped to a dry stiff froth. Fill the cavity of the cake with alternate layers of this mixture and very rich preserved strawberries. Then put on the lid and ice with a frosting made with the whites of three eggs, one heaping cupful of powdered sugar and the juice of one lemon. Spread it smoothly over the sides and top of the cake, and keep in a very cold place until time to serve. Then place it on a silver or crystal dish, and put alternate spoonfuls of the whipped cream mixture and preserved strawberries around the base.
Meringues Filled with Preserved Walnuts.
Beat the whites of six eggs to a stiff firm snow, stir into it three-fourths of a pound of powdered sugar, flavor with a little lemon or rose water, and continue to beat until very light. Then drop them from a spoon, a little more than an inch apart, on well buttered paper, keeping them as nearly egg-shaped as possible. Place the paper on a half-inch board and bake in a slow oven until well dried out. Remove from the paper, scrape out the soft part from the underside, and before serving fill with preserved walnuts and stick each two together. The preserved walnuts are a very delicious sweet but one rarely met with.[Pg 23]
A Cuban Breakfast.
The palm, of course, is the key note for decoration, as it is the characteristic plant of the tropics. But in order to be true to the scheme in mind, that is, to make your surroundings appear truly southern and create a local atmosphere, a marked difference should be made between the arrangement of our usual American interior and the room which aims at the imitation of a Cuban home. Light and air are most important, the factors sine qua non, and the scene of the Almuerzo (breakfast) should not recall the hot house, the conservatory, nor the dimly lighted, heavily curtained apartment of our northern dwellings. There should be space, plenty of windows, the fewest possible hangings, and these light in weight and color.
For the mantel and table decorations dwarf palms are very effective, while larger ones of many varieties are appropriate for corners and other available places. Very pretty souvenirs can be made of small palm leaf fans. A Cuban landscape and the name of a guest are painted thereon, and tiny Cuban and American flags tied on the handle make a neat finish.
As most of the dishes served will be new to the guests, it is advisable to have at each place a menu card where they may see how the dishes are called, that they may not only relish them knowingly but remember their excellence.[Pg 24]
The hour for breakfast is noon, although it may be taken as late as one o'clock.
Here is a typical breakfast which can be easily reproduced with the material at our command.
Eggs in Revoltillo
Fish in Escabeche
Guava Paste and Fresh Cheese
The olives should be served with cracked ice; the Aeles sausage (imported) in very thin slices.
Eggs in Revoltillo.
Fry in a little butter a good sized onion chopped fine; when brown, add three fresh tomatoes and one sweet green pepper cut into small bits. Salt to taste and let simmer until the tomatoes are quite cooked, then add six eggs which have been beaten. Stir while cooking and serve soft as you would scrambled eggs.
Rice in Cuba is an indispensable article of food, and no meal is complete without it. There is no little art required in its preparation, and it is imperative that it should be dry and tender at once. Like most simple things, it has a certain knack to it. Having thoroughly washed the rice, place it in a saucepan with three or[Pg 25] four times the same quantity of water; salt generously and allow to boil until the grain is soft but not broken; drain off carefully all the water, cover the saucepan tightly and place at the back of the stove, where it will finish cooking slowly and become dry through the action of the steam. A small piece of lard added a few moments before serving glazes the rice and brings out its flavor. Each grain should stand apart from its neighbors. Some Cubans add a single kernel of garlic after removing the water. The quantity is so small that there is but a suspicion of a taste, and it gives this frugal dish a certain cachet.
are essential to every breakfast in the tropics, but they are not always obtainable here. A very good substitute is the ordinary banana. It should not be over ripe. Fry until a rich brown in hot fat. These three dishes should be served at one course.
Fish in Escabeche.
Take three pounds of bonito or halibut in slices, fry and lay for several hours in a sauce made of half a pint of vinegar, in which the following ingredients have boiled for a few minutes: Three or four cloves, a bay leaf, a pinch of thyme, a kernel of garlic, a sliced onion, half a teaspoonful of coloring pepper, three tablespoonfuls of good salad oil and a few capers, olives and pickles. Hard boiled eggs may also be used for garnishing. It is eaten cold, and will keep, well covered in[Pg 26] a stone jar, for weeks. (This dish is invaluable in summer.) Serve with new potatoes, boiled, over which a lump of butter and a tablespoonful of finely chopped parsley have been placed.
The best restaurants in Habana prepare the steak as follows: Take a tender filet of beef, cut in cross sections an inch and a half thick, wrap each piece in greased paper, and broil over a brisk fire. Remove the papers, add butter, salt, pepper and plenty of lemon juice—say the juice of two lemons for a whole filet. In Cuba they use the juice of the sour orange, but that is not to be had here. This is the creole style, and is simply a modification of the French way. If you want the steak a la espanola, it should be fried instead of broiled, and when well done each piece surmounted by a mojo. The mojo is a little mound consisting of onions and green peppers chopped very fine, and lemon juice added to the gravy.
Guava paste is easily obtained from any importer, and it is the proper thing to eat it with fresh cream cheese or sliced Edam cheese.
This is purely a tropical dish, but Americans are very fond of it. Peel and grate a cocoanut; make a syrup out of four cups of sugar and two of water; when the syrup begins to thicken (when it has boiled about five minutes) throw in the grated cocoanut and[Pg 27] cook on a moderate fire half an hour more; stir in the beaten yolks of three eggs and a wine glass full of sherry. Remove from the fire.
The final point of your breakfast is the coffee, and in Cuban eyes the affair will be a success or a failure according to the quality of this supreme nectar. The berry should be the best obtainable; freshly roasted, or at least the flavor refreshened by heating the grain in the oven a few minutes before using. Grind and percolate at the last moment. Serve black and very strong, in very small cups.[Pg 28]
Spring and Autumn Breakfasts.
The centerpiece is of moss and ferns with arbutus blossoms peeping out, with a border of green and white fairy lamps mushroom form. Miniature flower beds, marked off with tiny white shells are in each of the four corners of the table. In one lilies of the valley stand upright, narcissii are in another, white tulips in a third and white lilacs wired on a tiny bush make the fourth. The name cards have tiny photographs of a farm with the name of the guests in gilt script. At each place is a tiny May basket of moss filled with arbutus, spring beauties, and wild violets, for a souvenir. The ice cream in flower forms is brought in in a spun sugar nest resting on twigs of pussy willows. The menu is a very simple one and includes grape fruit, the center cut out and filled with a lump of sugar soaked in rum, cream of clams, shredded whitefish in shells with horseradish and cucumbers, filet of beef with mushrooms, new potatoes, new asparagus, mint ice, squab on toast with shoestring potatoes, current jelly; salad of cucumbers, pecan nuts and lettuce with French dressing; ice cream, white cake, and black cake, coffee and cream de menthe.
April's lady wears the pussywillow for her flower, and this makes a delightful springlike motif for decoration.[Pg 29] For the breakfast have round tables or one long table with twig baskets of pussywillows tied with bows of soft grasses, raffia dyed a silvery grey. The table is set with the old-fashioned willow pattern china, quaint Sheffield silver and is unmarked by any of the small dishes of sweets that fill breakfast tables. The name cards are decorated with sprays of pussywillows in the upper left corner and miniatures of famous women writers of this and the past decade taken from magazines: George Eliot, Miss Austen, Miss Mulock, Jean Ingelow, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Felicia Hemans, Louisa M. Alcott, Mrs. Humphrey Ward, Mrs. Burton Harrison, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Margaret Deland.
The menu is strawberries in little twig baskets with brown paper caps filled with sugar, planked fish with sliced cucumbers, deviled sweetbreads and mushrooms on toast squares, Saratoga potatoes, hot rolls, brandy peaches, waffles and hot syrup, coffee.
A Maypole Breakfast.
This breakfast is given the last week in May and can be copied by the summer hostess substituting different flowers in season. The guests are seated at small tables, each table being decorated with a different kind of flower—the iris, marguerites, sweet peas, roses, mignonette, etc. Before each plate stands a tiny Maypole about the size of a lead pencil, wound with baby ribbon of different colors. These are souvenirs for each guest. For the first course have fresh strawberries served with their leaves and blossoms. Then[Pg 30] a cream of celery soup served in cups. Croutons are served with this. The soft shell crabs are served on a bed of water cress and radishes cut in fancy shapes. With them is served a thick mayonnaise on half a lemon; and cucumbers with French dressing. The brown and white bread sandwiches are cut in the shape of palm leaves. Delicious orange sherbet is served in champagne glasses. Then comes broiled chicken with new potatoes, French peas and hot rolls. The fruit salad is served in head lettuce with square wafers accompanying. The ice cream is molded in the form of red and white apples, with a cluster of real apple blossoms laid on each plate. With this is served a white cake with whipped cream and French coffee.
Carry out the May basket idea for a breakfast. By searching the ten-cent stores one can find little imitation cut glass baskets with handles. Use a large cut glass basket or bowl with wire handle over the top for the center of the table and one of the smaller baskets filled with pansies, valley lilies or May flowers at each place. Or make a pretty crystal wreath a short distance from the center by using crystal candlesticks with white candles and shades of glass beads, alternated by the little glass baskets filled with dainty flowers or maidenhair fern. Or use these baskets for green, white or pink bonbons. Another pretty May basket idea is to suspend little baskets of flowers from the back of each chair and use an immense basket of[Pg 31] flowers for the center of the table. Suitable toasts for the name cards, which should be little flower baskets cut out of water color paper and decorated, would be sentences describing Mayday in various countries. Or, use sentiments of flowers. Here are some:
The red rose: "I love you." The daisy: "There is no hope." Lily of the valley: "My heart withers in secret." The lilac: "You are my first love." Violets: "I am faithful." You will enjoy hunting for flower sentiments.
For the menu serve: Tomato bisque, wafers; sweetbread croquettes, peas, new potatoes, creamed asparagus, lemon sherbet; spring salad (radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, with French dressing on lettuce leaf), strawberries, served with hulls on and around a paper cup or mound of fine sugar; white cake with chocolate icing.
An Autumn Breakfast.
If one loves the reigning color, brown, give a brown breakfast in which all shades from seal to orange are used in pretty combination. A flat wreath of brown foliage extends inside the plate line. In the center of the table is a pyramid made of the tiny artificial oranges, buds and blossoms that are shown in the milliners' windows. From this pyramid radiate streamers of light brown tulle in wavy lines across the table to the wreath at the edge. Yellow candles with autumn leaf shades in yellows and browns are placed inside the space between the center and the wreath.[Pg 32] The name cards are placed inside little boxes decorated with pyrographic work and suitable for jewel boxes. The creamed lobster is served in cups covered with brown tissue paper, the browned chops, browned fried potatoes, and browned rice croquettes are served on plates decorated with a design of brown oak leaves and acorns. The ice cream is chocolate frozen in shape of large English walnuts and the little squares of white cake bear the design of a leaf in tiny chocolate candies.
A Musical Romance.
Have it for entertainment at breakfast with prizes for the one who answers best. Each question is answered by the name of a song.
The answers to the above should not be arbitrary. There are many songs that afford quite as good answers as those given above, and the score should credit anyone that makes a reply which fits the question.
A Red Rose Breakfast.
"I find earth not gray, but rosy,
Here is a pretty breakfast for the month of June.
Have for the centerpiece a huge bowl of jacque-minot roses. Use long sprays of the leaves and arrange the flowers very loosely in the bowl.
Have for the boutonnieres at each cover a bunch of red rose buds tied with scarlet ribbon.
The place cards are also red roses cut to the required shape from rough drawing paper and appropriately colored.
Of course the red touch will be introduced as frequently as possible into the menu. Serve tomato soup, salmon salad and claret water ice. Cakes must be glazed in red, and the ice cream, served in artistic little baskets of spun sugar, to take the form of red roses.
Have side dishes filled with pink coated almonds and candied rose petals.[Pg 35]
Then, during the dessert course, introduce what is called a Rose Shower.
This will be on the order of the literary salads that were so popular some time ago, but it is newer.
The idea is this: Cut from red tissue paper a couple of dozen little leaf shaped pieces to be crimped and creased and coaxed into representing rose petals. On each petal write a familiar quotation relating to the rose.
These leaves are to be passed around the table, each guest taking one, and when done with it, passing it on.
Prizes will be offered to the guests who are able to name the authors of the largest number of quotations.
Here are some of the verses:
That which we call a rose,
These, of course, will be only about half enough, but the hostess can add others to them.
The prize for the best list of answers should suggest roses in some way.
The time ten o'clock. Invitations, to be on a large sized visiting card, this wise:
Wednesday morning, November Seventh,
Nineteen — ——
340 —— Street,
Enclose card in envelope to match.
Have three schemes of color for decorations—white chrysanthemums for parlor, pink for library, and yellow for dining-room.
Serve at small tables, with rich floral center pieces, and handsomely draped with Battenburg, or linen center piece and plate tumbler doylies.
Place cards, two and one-half inches by six in size, should be decorated with a spray of chrysanthemums on a shaded background in water colors, leaving sufficient blank for a name and outlining the top card with cut edges of leaves.
A small cluster of grapes served on dessert plates.[Pg 38]
Baked apple—(Remove the core and fill with cooked oat meal; bake and serve with whipped cream over the whole.)
Chicken croquettes, scalloped potatoes, buttered rolls, celery, coffee.
Fruit and nut salad, served in small cups on a bread and butter plate, with a wafer.
Ice cream, in chocolate, pink and white layers; angel food, and pink and white layer cake.
Have a dish of salted almonds on each table.
Pond Lily Breakfast.
White and green are the colors for a September breakfast. Have the dining room decorated with luxuriant ferns and dainty, fragrant water lilies, the fireplace banked with ferns, the lilies scattered carelessly over the mantel.
In the center of the table have a miniature rowboat heaped high with the lilies. For the souvenirs have very small oars which could afterwards be used for paper knives; besides clusters of lilies.
Harp music is the most in harmony with our ideas of lilies and the lily naiads, so the soft strains will form a delightful accompaniment to the breakfast.[Pg 39]
This is the menu:
Cream of Lettuce Soup
Steamed White Fish
Maitre de Hotel Sauce
Metropolitan Ice Cream
Cream of Lettuce Soup.
Break the outer green leaves from two heads of lettuce. Place neatly together and with a sharp knife cut into shreds. Put them into one quart of white stock and simmer gently for half an hour. Press through a colander, return to the fire. Rub together one tablespoonful of butter and two of flour, add two tablespoonfuls of hot stock and rub smooth, add this to the soup, stirring constantly until it thickens. Add a level tablespoonful of grated onion, one cupful of cream and a seasoning of salt and white pepper.
When ready to serve, beat the yolk of one egg lightly, pour into a tureen, turn the hot soup over it and add a heaping tablespoonful of finely chopped parsley.
The fish is garnished with cress.
Mash very fine the cold yolks of three hard-boiled eggs, and rub with them a coffee cupful of finely[Pg 40] grated cheese, a teaspoonful of mustard, a saltspoonful of salt and one-half as much white pepper. When all are well mixed, add two tablespoonfuls each of oil and vinegar, alternately. Heap this upon fresh lettuce and garnish with the whites of eggs cut into rings, and a few tips of celery. Serve with hot buttered crackers.
The ice cream is served on lily leaves. The cakes are white, with green icing.
This is the music selected:
A Tulip Breakfast.
A pretty idea is a tulip breakfast. The centerpiece is a large basket filled with tulips of different colors. A pretty course is strawberries served in real tulips lying on fancy plates with the stems tied with narrow ribbon the same shade as the tulip. The ice cream is served in shape of a tulip, and the salad is in a cup of green tissue paper imitating four tulip leaves. This is the plan for finding places. The name cards are decorated with tiny landscapes. On the back of the card is written the title of a song and the guest finds her own name in the title. For example a guest named Mamie will find her place by the words "Mamie, Come Kiss Your Honey Boy," one named Alice will find hers "Oh, Don't You Remember Sweet Alice, Ben Bolt;" Mollie in "Do You Love Me, Mollie Darling," etc. The menu is:[Pg 41]
Fruit Cup (Strawberries, Oranges, White Grapes with Whipped Cream)
Bouillon, Wafers, Radishes
Escalloped Fish, Wafers, Pickles
Veal Loaf, Whipped Potatoes, Green Peas
Hot Rolls, Pickles, Sherbet
Fruit Salad, Wafers
Ice Cream in Shape of Tulips, Strawberries Served in Real Tulips
White Cake, Bonbons
A Grape Breakfast.
May the juice of the grape enliven each soul,
Nothing could be prettier nor more appropriate for September than a grape breakfast. If possible, have the design of the lunch cloth in grapes, and use a pyramid of purple and white grapes for the center of the table. Lay perfect bunches of grapes tied with lavender ribbon on the cloth for decoration. Serve grapes in some fashion with each course, single, in tiny bunches, or the leaves decorating the plates. Mold gelatine in a grape mold and color with grape juice. Use white grapes for the salad and grape juice to drink. Serve grape jelly with the meat course.
Woman's Club Breakfast.
Have the table of honor a round table with a large round basket of white flowers and everything corresponding in white. Use roses, carnations or any white[Pg 42] flower you choose. Have oblong tables radiating from the center table with place for four on each side and two at the outer ends. This leaves no guest seated with her back to the honor table. Have the oblong tables decorated in pink. Have name cards with carnations thrust through the corner, at each plate. Make the breakfast a daylight affair, unless the day is a dark one.
Serve chopped fresh sweet cherries sweetened and with a little rum or white wine poured over them; let stand for several hours in the refrigerator and serve in stem glasses. Chicken croquettes molded in form of small chickens, or broiled chicken with water cress; creamed potatoes, sliced cucumbers, hot rolls, spiced peaches served in champagne glasses; whole tomatoes stuffed with cooked cauliflower and nuts set on branch of cherry or strawberry leaves; cheese sandwiches made very thin; ice cream molded in form of strawberries, small cakes frosted, (place half of a large strawberry on top of each piece of cake before serving).
Breakfast al Fresco.
A breakfast al fresco is just the thing to entertain a party of young girls. Have the tables on the porch. At each plate have a cluster of flowers answering a conundrum. Give each girl a card containing the conundrum and ask her to find her place at the table by the flower answering the questions. These questions will not be hard for a hostess to arrange and will of course depend on the flowers she can secure.[Pg 43] Here are a few sample ones given at a recent breakfast: Who will attend our next entertainment? Phlox. What happened when Gladys lost her hat in the lake? A yellow rose (a yell arose). What paper gives the most help in decoration? Justicia (just tissue). What will the Far North do for you? Freesia. For what hour were you invited? Four o'clock. What is the handsomest woman in the world? American Beauty. Use pink and green for the color scheme and add a little touch of these two colors to everything served. Tie the skewers of the chops with pink and green ribbons and have the ice cream one layer of pistachio and one of strawberry.[Pg 44]
The Modern "Five O'clock."
"A cup she designates as mine
Although indebted to England for the afternoon tea, it is a very informal affair across the water. It doubtless originated in suburban homes, where during the hunting and holiday seasons, large and merry house-parties are entertained for weeks together. Returning late from driving or field sports the tired guests require some light refreshment before making their toilets for the evening dinner. The English hostess very sensibly meets this claim upon her hospitality by serving tea and biscuit in library or drawing-room.
From this small beginning comes the American "Five O'Clock," one of the prettiest of all social functions, and still smiled upon by Dame Fashion as a favorite method of entertaining. Decorative in character, it gives opportunity to display the treasures of porcelain, glass, silver, embroidered napery and all the lovely table-appointments that everywhere delight the heart of woman. More exquisite than ever before are the little tea-tables—a succession of crescent shaped shelves, rising one above the other, two, three or four in number, as the taste inclines. Upon these, resting on cobwebs of linen or lace, are placed the[Pg 45] priceless cups, tiny spoons, graceful caddy and all other articles necessary to the service. The silver caddy is now a thing of sentiment as well as use—one recently bestowed as a bridal gift bearing engraved upon it this little verse:
"We sit and sip—the time flies fast,
In the future of married life, how sweet this reminder of the past, when all the days were golden in the light of love, youth and hope! Another couplet pretty and suggestive is found in
"A cup and a welcome for everyone,
Amid flowers and softly shaded lights sits the gracious woman who pours the liquid gold into the fragile cups, dispensing meanwhile, smiles and the bright charming small talk that is so necessary to the success of these occasions. A wise hostess selects for this important position the most brilliant, tactful woman within her circle of friends. The menu, although by no means regulated on the English house-party plan, should consist of trifles—sandwiches, wafers, fancy cakes, ices, and possibly a salad. Foreigners understand the value of the simple feast which makes frequent entertaining possible and a delight rather than a burden. In America the menu, decorations, etc., grow more and more elaborate from[Pg 46] the ambition of each successive hostess to out-do her neighbor, until the economy and beauty of simplicity is irretrievably lost in the greater expense, fatigue and crush of a more pretentious function.
At the afternoon tea guests may come and go in street toilet, with or without a carriage in accordance with preference and pocketbook. However elegant the appointments and surroundings of this special function, the progressive hostess must remember that her culture will be judged by the quality of the beverage she serves. It is an age of luxury and refined taste in palate, as in other things, and tea is no longer tea, unless of a high grade and properly brewed. The woman who trusts her domestic affairs to a housekeeper, or in the event of attending to them herself, depends wholly for the excellence of an article upon the price she pays, is a very mistaken one. Without informing herself she may very naturally conclude that Russian or Caravan tea is cultivated, buds and blossoms in the land of the Czar, until later on, when her ignorance meets a downfall in some very embarrassing way.
The high-class, fancy teas of China are prepared by special manipulation and for the use of wealthy families in the Celestial Empire and are therefore never exported to other countries. Russian tea-merchants, recognizing this, send shrewd buyers across the desert into China just at the season to secure the choicest pickings for future consumption by the nobility of their own country. Of late years the "Five[Pg 47] O'Clocks" and consequent craze for fine teas in America has tempted them to obtain a small quantity above the requirements of their titled patrons in Russia and this they export to the United States. If genuine, the name Russia or Caravan tea signifies the choicest and most expensive grade procurable the world over. It will be remembered that among the many gifts bestowed when in this country by its recent guest, Li Hung Chang, were beautifully ornamented boxes and packages of this delicately flavored and fragrant tea. The high class grades from India and Ceylon, although not as costly as the Russian, may be used by the hostess of the modern "Five O'Clock" without risk to her reputation as a woman of culture. She will consent, however,
"That tea boiled,
and avail herself of the pretty and convenient silver-ball, or the closely covered pot or cups in which these rare teas should never brew over three minutes. For the famous tea service of China and Japan, tiny covered cups are always presented.
The American hostess will regret when too late, the many advantages of the afternoon tea, alas! foolishly sacrificed upon the altar of her vanity to excel in the extravagance of hospitality. Even now experience teaches that "a tea" means anything from its original intention of informal, pleasant social intercourse with light refreshments, to the function which includes hundreds of guests, who are entertained at[Pg 48] a banquet presenting the most expensive achievements of florist and caterer. In repudiation of this is the strict code of etiquette requiring that "an invitation be worded to indicate truthfully the exact character of the hospitality it extends. Courtesy to guests compels this, that they may be able to conform in toilet to the occasion and thus avoid the mortification of being under or over-dressed, the latter to be counted as much the greater misfortune." This from a very ancient book, it is true, but its lesson in good manners is none the less pertinent now than when written in the dead past.
It remains with the hostess, whether one shall enjoy the pleasures and privileges of the pretty Five O'Clock. Whether in the line of elegance or simplicity, the tea Russian or Ceylon, it can be dainty, well served, and lovely with flowers of sweet graciousness and cordial welcome. These united may be depended upon to make it the social success coveted by every woman who poses as a hostess, whether in cottage or palace!
Nowhere are the artistic instincts of a modern hostess more charmingly brought to bear than in the appointments of her tea-table. To show individuality in this cosy afternoon ceremony, is an aim not difficult to reach.
The Russian table should have a cloth with insertion bands of the strong Muscovite peasant lace that is brightened by red and blue threads in the pattern; a tea caddy of niello work; and a brass samovar, of course.
Facilities for fitting out a Japanese tea-table can be found almost everywhere. The "correct" outfit consists[Pg 49] of a low lacquered table, lotus-blossom cups—with covers and without handles—and a plump little teapot heated over an hibachi of glowing charcoal. It is not a Japanese custom to have the tea-table covered, but the famous embroiderers of Yokohama, having learned to cater to foreign tastes, now send out tea-cloths of the sheerest linen lawn, with the national bamboo richly worked in white linen floss above the broad hem-stitched hem. These are exquisitely dainty in appearance, but can be easily and successfully laundered—a very important consideration.
But the quaintest of all is the Dutch table, where the sugar basin is supported over the heads of chased silver female figures; the cream jug is in the form of a silver cow, and the beguiling Jamaica shows richly dark through a Black Forest spirit bottle.
Cakes and wafers have lost favor at tea-tables. They have been replaced by little savories, which harmonize with the popular antique silver and china, by passing under their old-fashioned name of "whets;" for the afternoon tea, originally intended to be a light refreshment, had become a detriment to the dinner. Savories, on the contrary, are a whet to the appetite and clear the palate for the due appreciation of the dinner. Two or three different kinds are usually served. Anybody possessed of a little cooking knowledge can arrange a variety of them at a minimum of trouble and expense, and in their variety lies half their charm.
There are many kinds of fish, both preserved in oil and smoked, that may be used. These should be[Pg 50] sprinkled with chopped fines herbes, placed upon thin slices of fresh bread—from which the crust has been carefully cut—rolled and served "en pyramide."
Toasted crumpets, heavily buttered, spread with caviar upon which a little lemon juice has been squeezed and served hot, are considered a great delicacy at English tea-tables. Another way of serving caviar is to spread it on thin bread and butter, which is then rolled up like tiny cigars. Russians declare, however, that the less done to caviar the better it will be, and to send it to the tea-table in its original jar, with an accompaniment of fresh dry toast and quartered lemon, is the fashion preferred by connoisseurs.
It takes a grand dame, so to speak, to give a tea. The vulgarian almost always overdoes it. She gets things to eat, while the woman who knows gets people, and doesn't care what they have to eat. There is nothing about a whole shop of provisions, while people who dress well, look well, talk well and behave well, make up that charming circle called Society.
The tea table may be green and white. Palms, ferns, mignonette, mosses and clusters of leaves lend themselves to the nicest effects against the whites of the table-cloth and china. If color is preferred, there are tulips and daffodils of gorgeous beauty, and good for a week's wear.
Nothing but white damask is used by gentlewomen. The woman who gives a tea never pours it. There are other things she can do to please her callers. Tea is usually served with candlelight, and to be a success[Pg 51] need cost next to nothing, for nothing need be served that is substantial enough to dislocate the appetite for dinner. Some women serve an old fashioned beat biscuit, about the size of an English walnut, with the cup of tea. These biscuits are awfully good, but only the old mammies who have survived the War know how to make them, and there is where the old families have the advantage of the new people. Others serve brown sandwiches made of Boston brown bread and butter.
More slices of lemon than cream jugs are used. Cream is something of a nuisance, and if people don't take lemon they can take tea as Li Hung Chang does. For a guest to have a preference and emphasize it, is downright rude. To be asked to a lady's house is glory enough for any one. The grumbler can go to a restaurant and take a cup and drink it up for a dime.
An Afternoon Tea.
Send out the invitation for an afternoon tea a week or ten days or even two weeks beforehand. Use visiting cards and below the name or in the lower left corner, the hours: 2 to 6, or any hours one chooses. On the top of the card or below the name write the name of the guest for whom the tea is given, if it is an affair in honor of some guest.
Decorate the rooms simply or elaborately as one chooses. For a small tea simply fill the vases with flowers, and make a special feature of the tea table in the dining room. Have a center basket of flowers and ferns tied with satin ribbons on the handle, or have cut glass vases at the corners. Use lighted[Pg 52] candles, white, or the color of your flowers, if carrying out a certain color scheme in the dining-room. Pink, red or yellow are liked for this room as they are warm, bright colors. If the tea is given in spring or summer, green and white are liked. Have candles and shades match the color scheme and place silk or satin of the color used under the mats and doilies. On the table have cut glass or fine china dishes filled with candies, chocolates, salted nuts and candied fruits. Tea may be served from one end of the table and an ice from the other. Have a friend pour tea. Place before her the small cups, saucers, spoons. She fills the cups and hands them to the guests or to those assisting in the dining-room. The cream, sugar or slices of lemon are passed by assistants. Piles of plates are on the table by the one serving ice. The ice is served into a cut glass cup and placed on the plate with a spoon. Cakes are passed; so are the bonbons. Serve tea and chocolate or coffee. If one wish a more elaborate collation, pass assorted sandwiches, which are on plates on the table, or have a plate containing chicken salad on a lettuce leaf, olives and wafers. Waiters are best when the refreshments include two or three courses. The ices may be brought in or served from the table and the coffee and tea served from the table.
Ask from five to ten friends to assist in the parlors, to see that guests go to the dining-room and that strangers are introduced. Stand at the entrance or before a bank of palms in a window or corner and[Pg 53] greet the guests. The guest or guests of honor stand with the hostess and she introduces them. A great many ladies do not wear gloves when receiving, but it is proper to wear them. It would seem that the hands would keep in better condition to shake hands with guests, if gloves were worn.
Bank the mantels with ferns and flowers and cover the lights with pretty shades of tissue paper. Use pink or green and white in the parlors and red, yellow or pink in the dining-room. Serve a fruit punch from a table covered with a white cloth and trimmed with smilax, ferns and flowers. Use a large punch bowl and glass cups. Have a square block of ice in the bowl. If a cut-glass punch bowl is used, care should be used lest the ice crack it. Temper the bowl by putting in cold water and adding a few bits of ice at a time until it is chilled. Do not put ice into a warm bowl or one that has not been thus tempered.
If there is music have a string orchestra concealed behind palms in a corner of the hall or dining-room.
Telling Fortunes by Teagrounds.
First, the one whose fortune is to be told should drink a little of the tea while it is hot, and then turn out the rest, being careful not to turn out the grounds in doing so, and also not to look at them, as it is bad luck.
Then she must turn the cup over, so that no water remains, for drops of water in the teagrounds signify tears.[Pg 54]
Next, she must turn the cup around slowly toward her three times, wishing the wish of her heart as she turns it.
After this she must rest it a minute against the edge of a saucer—to court luck.
Then the fortune-teller takes it and reads the fortune.
Three small dots in a row stand for the wish. If near the top it will soon be realized. If at the bottom some time will elapse.
If the grounds are bunched together it signifies that all will be well with the fortune-seeker, but if they are scattered it means much the reverse.
A small speck near the top is a letter. A large speck, a photograph, or present of some kind, either one depending on the shape of the speck.
The sticks are people—light or dark, short or tall, according to their color and length. A small one means a child. A thick one, a woman.
If they lie crosswise they are enemies. If straight up, intimate friends, or pleasant acquaintances to be made.
If a large speck is near them, it means they are coming for a visit, bringing a valise or trunk.
If there is a bottle shape near a stick it means a physician. If a book shape, a minister or lawyer. If many fine specks, a married man.
The sticks with a bunch of grounds on their backs are bearers of bad news, or they will "say things" about you.
A long line of grounds with no openings between[Pg 55] foretells a journey by water. If openings, by rail.
A large ring, closed, means an offer of marriage to an unmarried woman. To a married one, it means a fortunate undertaking. To a man, success in business.
A small ring is an invitation.
Dust-like grounds bunched together at the bottom or side are a sum of money.
A triangle signifies good luck, so does an anchor or a horseshoe.
A half moon or star to married people means a paying investment. To unmarried, a new lover or sweetheart.
A pyramid is extremely lucky.
A square or oblong, new lands.
Flowers, a present.
Leaves, sickness and death.
Fruit of any kind, health.
A hand, warning, if the fingers are spread. If closed, an offer of friendship or marriage.
A cross signifies trouble. Any musical instrument, a wedding. Bird, suit at law. Cat, deception. Dog, faithful friend. Horse, important news. Snake, an enemy. Turtle, long life. Rabbit, luck. House, offer of marriage, or a removal. Flag, some surprise or a journey to another country.
A heart is the most propitious sign of all, as it means happiness, fidelity, long life, health and wealth.[Pg 56]
Scotch Tea. 1.
To give an odd function that is not a complete fizzle is a fine art. Easy enough it is for the hostess to plan an out-of-the-ordinary affair, but to have the party turn out a success is, as the Kiplingites are eternally quoted as saying, "quite another story."
For music have the Highlander's bag-pipe, the door opened by a man in the striking garb of Scotland. For decoration use white heather and primroses.
In the dining-room have the words "We'll take a cup o' kindness yet" in large letters and conspicuously framed in pine. Presiding at the table have young girls in Scottish costume who dispense the "cup o' kindness" from a silver teapot nestling-in a "cosey"; (a padded cloth cover) to keep hot the favorite feminine beverage.
The delectable dishes dear to the Highlander's heart are passed for the approval of feminine palates. These viands include scones, a sort of muffin made with flour, soda, sugar and water. These are split and filled with orange marmalade straight from Dundee and, as everybody knows, the best in the whole culinary world. Scones are baked on griddles, and are especially popular in the country houses of Scotland.
Then there is a rich pastry called shortbread, made of butter, sugar and flour—no water—and beaten up; rolled out about an inch thick and baked in sheets.[Pg 57] Shortbread is a great delicacy in Scotland. There are oat cakes also, a biscuit made of oatmeal, shortening and water. Two kinds of cake—black fruit cake and sultana cake, which is a pound cake containing sultana raisins—complete the course of Highland dainties.
On the walls drape the striking plaids of Scotland, worked with the names of the different clans.
In the reception-room have the words, "a wee drappie," framed in pine. The inscription should be over a table on which is served mulled wine from a silver pitcher kept in hot water. Even a white-ribboner would call mulled claret delicious or get a black mark from the recording angel for prevarication.
"Better lo'ed ye canna be,
makes a last pleasing inscription over the entrance for the departing guest.
Scotch Tea. 2. Followed by Supper.
A Scotch day, modeled after a genuine party in "Bonnie Scotland," is a pleasing idea for the entertainment of a Lenten house party. From twelve to twenty-four guests are entertained, the ladies being asked to come at three o'clock and the gentlemen at half past six. As every woman, no matter what her condition in life, works industriously knitting or crocheting lace or embroidering, each guest brings her bit of handwork and the afternoon is spent in chatting while fair fingers ply the needles. At five o'clock the guests are invited to the dining-room where they are seated at a large table.[Pg 58]
At a typical Scotch tea the centerpiece is an oblong piece of satin in any preferred color edged with a ruffle of white lace. In the center of this is a tall vase holding a miscellaneous bouquet, and at the corners of the centerpiece are small vases of similar design holding similar bouquets. All edibles are on the table at once, there is no removing of courses. The teacups, silver teapot with satin cosey, silver or china hot water pitcher and sugar and cream are placed in front of the hostess. The hostess asks the taste of the guest as to sugar and cream and fixes the tea herself. The maid passes the tea and then retires, and the service becomes informal, the guests assisting. At each place is a small tea plate, knife and spoon, but no napkins and none of the numberless dishes generally seen on American tables. No water glasses are placed on the table. Instead there is a pitcher, carafe or siphon on the side-board or serving table, which is passed to the guest should he ask for water. The table is nicely balanced by dishes in pairs, there are two plates of butter, one fresh and one salted at either end of the table, two plates of bread, two plates of fancy cakes, two dishes of of bread, two plates of fancy cakes, two dishes of jelly, etc. The menu for the tea is white and graham bread and fresh and salted butter, tea, scones, strawberry jam, orange marmalade, fancy cakes, including macaroons, jelly cake made in two layers and called jelly sandwiches and sometimes tiny cold pancakes. The last course is fresh strawberries served on the stem with powdered sugar.[Pg 59]
The men arrive at half past six o'clock and are served tea in the library, smoking room or den. Preceding the supper which is served at half past nine o'clock, the guests talk, play cards or have music. The supper table is arranged much as the tea-table save between the small vases are small candleholders with lighted candles. The host and hostess are at either end of the table and each serves a meat, the plates being passed by a maid and by the guests. There is a vegetable dish at each end of the table. The meats and vegetables are served on one plate, the only extra plate being the small bread and butter plate with the bread and butter knife laid across it.
The maid removes the first course dishes and places a large bowl of strawberries and dessert saucers before the hostess who serves strawberries, the maid and the guests passing the saucers. The guests hand the nuts, cheese, fresh fruits and other edibles about, doing away with the services of the maid.
The supper menu includes a hot beef-steak and onion or other meat pie, cut by the hostess, hot fish, Finnan Haddie being a great favorite, cold tongue, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, celery, cheese, bottled pop, lemonade, white bread, graham bread, scones, fresh and salted butter, jellies and jams, marmalade. The second course is fresh strawberries, oranges, bananas, English walnuts.
After supper cards, music and chatting fill in the hours until midnight and sometimes longer for the bonnie Scots are typical night owls.[Pg 60]
A Gypsy Tea Out of Doors.
A Gypsy tea is the occasion of entertainment of young men by young women, wherein the young men have nothing to do but come and be treated just as hospitably and courteously as is possible. The girls must do all the hard work, all the planning, all the inviting and bear all the responsibilities of every kind. Twelve or more girls meet and appoint committees to attend to the necessary arrangements—one committee to select a picnic ground, another to invite the young gentlemen whom they desire to attend, another to arrange for the music, and another to get the refreshments. All the other committees work under the directions of the committee on arrangements. A Gypsy tea always begins at twilight. The girls who are to select the picnic ground must exercise much judgment in deciding on a convenient and picturesque location, and as dancing is always an attractive feature of such an outing, they should see that there is a suitable pavilion nearby. Then there must be a spot well adapted for a campfire, for a Gypsy tea would never be a success without a campfire burning in the twilight. Other essentials are a kettle and tripod. Three rough poles are made to form a tripod and the kettle is suspended from the vertex of the angles or the crossing point of the poles. Music, in which string instruments figure most conspicuously, should be selected, as this lends itself best to the weird effect which should be sought. Three or four pieces will generally be sufficient and they may consist of a violin, guitar, banjo[Pg 61] and snare drum or the drum may be omitted if not convenient. The committee appointed to gather the refreshments must have the assistance of all the other women of the club, for its work is very arduous and necessitates great care and precaution and good judgment. Each girl must subscribe something to eat, and care should be taken that all the girls do not contribute cakes, pies and pickles. Get plenty of cold meats, sandwiches and you might have some nuts of some kind or sweet potatoes or raw eggs or something to roast in the campfire. In a Gypsy tea the young women must all go to the grounds by themselves, unattended by the men and the men are to arrive in a body later; they have previously been informed of the exact location and hour when they will be expected. The young women should all wear Gypsy costumes and one must be a fortune teller or good at pretending that she can tell fortunes. If suitable arrangements can be made for their reaching the grounds without appearing too conspicuous they may wear the Gypsy costumes as outer garments en route. Otherwise each girl can slip on something easily divested, over the Gypsy dress and remove it at the picnic grounds before the young men arrive, donning it again before time to start home.
Arrangements should be made for a vehicle to make the round of all the girl's homes on the day of the Gypsy tea to gather up the refreshments and take them to the picnic ground previously selected.
On the day of the outing all the girls gather at an appointed place and go together to the grounds by such[Pg 62] means of transportation as they deem best suited to the conditions. The vehicle containing the refreshments and other needful appendages may follow.
On reaching the grounds the girls all get busy making the preparations and getting everything in excellent condition for the arrival of the boys. The tripods are arranged, the kettle is hung, the campfire is built, and the grounds are made to look artistic.
When the men arrive just at the hour of sundown, everything is in readiness. The fire is burning brightly, the fortune teller is at her post, the kettle is steaming and the refreshments are spread on table cloths laid on the grass. Then the tea is made and each man enjoys a dainty but toothsome repast.
After tea the baskets and equipments are replaced in the wagon and the grounds cleared. The remainder of the evening may be spent in dancing, fortune telling and the like.[Pg 63]
A Japanese Tea. 1.
In Japan the hostess serves the tea from the table. There is a charcoal burner over which the water is kept lukewarm, not hot. The tea is powdered very fine. It is in the teapot or cups as the hostess chooses. The water is poured over it and off quickly for the tea in the cup is very weak and only straw-colored, not dark as we make it. It is drunk without cream or sugar. With it are served tiny wafer-like sweet cakes and dishes of bonbons are on the table, no nuts, just bonbons. Nothing is on the table save the tea equipment, tiny cups and saucers and dishes of sweets. As the water is only lukewarm one can easily have the five o'clock teakettle on the table (though that is not Japanese). As fast as the water boils pour into a pitcher and keep the kettle replenished, pouring into the cups from the pitcher. Or have the maids bring the water from the kitchen. In Japan the geisha girls are employed in the public teahouses to entertain men visitors so "maids" will be a better term by which to call the young girls who help you. If one wishes to make their room Japanese, fill the vases with imitation peach or cherry blossoms, hang Japanese lanterns in doorways and Japanese banners, which can be made from paper napkins and bright red paper for a background. The incense sticks are very inexpensive and any large department store which deals in Japanese goods including the five and ten cent stores, keep them.[Pg 64]
Serve date sandwiches cut in shape of dominoes and dotted with currants, or nut or any sandwiches desired cut in this shape and so decorated, chocolate with whipped cream, strawberries arranged around a mound of powdered sugar, a spray of strawberry leaves and blossoms laid on the plate, or any fresh berries. Serve small cakes domino shape covered with white icing, dotted with tiny chocolate candies representing the domino spots. Or if one wishes to serve ice cream with the berries have it moulded in a two quart can, then turned out on a round platter, making a column of ice cream. Surround with fresh berries at the base with a few large perfect berries on top.
A Japanese Tea. 2.
Instead of using the orthodox square at home cards, write the invitations on long, thin, narrow slips of paper, the lettering running from the bottom to the top and from right to left; a few queer birds, the suggestion of a lantern and a falling chrysanthemum splashed in carelessly in sepia, are very effective touches. The cherry-blossoms are used in decorating, which are simply little, round, white paper petals with the edges dipped in red dye, fastened to boughs and put up everywhere, as are also the fluffy chrysanthemums, dainty butterflies, and a profusion of cheap little fans.
A huge Japanese umbrella hangs over the tea-table, at which four girls dressed in kimonas preside, while two others are in the drawing room.
The kimonas, which are very easily made, are all different in color, although a two-color scheme would,[Pg 65] perhaps, be prettier—say white and yellow, or white and mauve, with chrysanthemums to correspond.
The refreshments are, perhaps, the most novel part of the whole idea. Instead of the conventional salads, ices, cakes, etc., the guests are served with delicious tea, in the daintiest of Japanese cups, and hot buttered baps. During the afternoon have selections from "The Geisha," "The Mandarin," "The Little Tycoon," and "The Mikado."
A Japanese Tea. 3.
At a Japanese Tea, several small tables are used, set at intervals in the room; these are generally presided over by the hostess and the ladies who receive with her, each being furnished with a tea service. They are laid in white damask or linen embroidered in a Japanese design, the center is occupied by a circular mound of red blossoms which symbolize the emblem of the Flowery Kingdom's flag, combining the national colors also red and white.
In the middle of the mound, slightly elevated, there is placed a "Jinriki-sha," which is the riding vehicle of Japan, a two-wheeled affair resembling our modern dog-cart; it is drawn by a man in costume and seated in it is a woman, also in costume, holding above her and large enough to extend over the table, one of those grotesque paper umbrellas, which are as much a part of that country as its rice and tea. The edges of these are festooned with red and white flowers and hung with the smaller sized, globe shaped lanterns that are used profusely about the room also, for decorating and lights.[Pg 66]
Candelabra likewise is used, and it should be of that quaint looking black material that is decidedly Oriental in appearance and is the latest thing in such bric-a-brac. White tapers with red shades show off to advantage above this dark fancifully wrought metal, shedding a softly subdued radiance, at once pretty and restful to the eye.
The chrysanthemum, while not the national flower, is the imperial favorite and best beloved bloom of the people, therefore it is the proper one for decoration, united with potted plants, palms, vines, etc. All hues and kinds may be combined in the general adornment of room or rooms (the red and white being confined to the tables alone), for twining, banking or bouquets, just as fancy dictates, and the furnishings admit. The chrysanthemum, gorgeous in itself and lavishly employed, makes a superb decoration, and if, for a background, the walls, doors, windows, etc., are draped in Japanese tapestry goods, with friezes of the flowers, the result will prove singularly striking and beautiful.
Of course, Japanese china is used, and as to the things to eat there can be offered thin sardine sandwiches, delicate wafers, fruits, confections. This is merely a suggestion; individuals use their own ideas, and at different places customs change. Ices served should be in oblong squares with round red centers to represent the flag of Japan. Souvenirs for guests, if any are given, ought to be small cups and saucers of the genuine ware or fac-simile in candy, tied with red and white ribbons.[Pg 67]
Two Valentine Teas.
Here's to a cup of tea. It holds intoxication great for me.
Pink is the color scheme; the invitations are written on rose-tinted cardboard, cut heart-shape and adorned with floral love-knots. The hostess can wear a pink gown and the rosy-hue effect is also carried out in the dining-room decorations. On a blank space of the wall have two hearts formed of pink carnations and smilax, and pierced by a gilded arrow. Beneath, on a pink cardboard, lettered in gold, have this verse:
"Love always looks for love again;
The long table, covered with snowy cloth, has the valentine idea in heart design used as much as possible in the decorations. The candles are pink and the paper shades in the shape of roses; pink bonbons bearing appropriate mottoes and tiny cakes covered with pink frosting, are in heart-shaped dishes; around the dishes are garlands of green, caught in a bow-knot with a narrow pink satin ribbon. In the center of the table is a large heart-shaped cake, fringed with smilax and pink roses, and on the top, pink figures numbered from one[Pg 68] to sixteen. Before the cake is cut, a silver tray holding corresponding numbers is passed, with the explanation that one of the pieces contains a tiny gold heart, and that the finder will surely succumb to Cupid's darts before another year. In another piece is a dime which will bring the lucky possessor success, wealth and happiness.
The place-cards consist of heart shaped booklets with the name of the guest in gold, and an artistic sketch of Cupid equipped with bow and arrow. On the leaves are the following conundrums:
What kind of a ship has two mates and no captain? (Courtship.)
What is the difference between a mouse and a young woman? (One wishes to harm the cheese, the other to charm the he's.)
The souvenirs are square cards, on which are quaint pen sketches, and rhymes, each peculiarly adapted to the one that receives it, and, of course, more or less personal.
The ices are heart-shaped and the two maids who act as waitresses represent the Queen of Hearts, attired in dresses bedecked with hearts, and small crowns of hearts upon their heads.
Have a heart hung from the chandelier, the guests in turn being placed about eight feet from it, then request them to hold the left hand over one eye, raise the right arm even with the heart, and keeping it in that position, walk rapidly straight ahead and hit it with a finger, striking horizontally. It is declared easy to do until tried.[Pg 69]
A Valentine Tea. 2.
Here are some contests for a valentine tea. Call on each one for an impromptu valentine. Award a book of rhymes for the best. Turn down the lights and require each man to propose to his partner. Prepare red cardboard hearts and write fortunes on them with baking powder and water. Ask each guest to select a heart and hold it to the fire when the writing will appear. Provide a fish pond with comic valentines. Provide a long table, sheets of fancy paper, flowers, pictures, paste, scissors and watercolors and ask each to make an original valentine. The game of hearts, the auction of hearts and the auction of valentines are old but excellent ways of amusing a company. For the auction of hearts the girls are in a separate room and a clever auctioneer calls off their charms and merits and knocks them down to the highest bidder, who does not know who he has bought until all are sold. A fancy dress party, each girl representing a valentine, is a delightful entertainment for the evening. A small boy may be used for Cupid and blindfolded. He takes a man from one side of the room and presents him to a girl on the other side of the room.[Pg 70]
A Grandmother's Tea Party.
One of the newest suggestions for an original hospitality is "A Grandmother's Tea Party." If you have an "at home" day, as every busy woman should, and you want to serve tea to your guests, offer it to them as it was offered fifty years or more ago.
First of all, collect all of your antique table service. Every family has some dear old treasures of the kind—tea cups, old linen, flower vases, silver epergns, etc.
You probably have somewhere laid away a wonderful old damask cloth which dates back at least half a century. Cover the table with this and scatter over it a handful of carnations, allowing them to fall at haphazard.
The centerpiece will be in the form of a huge cake placed on a high glass dish. This confection might be resplendent in a design of blossoms and turtle-doves carried out in variously tinted icings as the old-time cakes so often were.
On either side of the cake dish are placed tall epergns—veritable antique pieces built high with pyramids of fruit. Bonbons—they should be called sugar plums in this connection—must be old-fashioned sweets quaintly wrapped in fringed papers.
Often the tall glass lamps will also be procurable in a pattern of fifty years ago.
This will produce a thoroughly charming little table[Pg 71] with a quaintness and a touch of femininity that everyone will enjoy.
The woman who is looking for a new way to serve tea on her day at home couldn't do better than to attempt this. It is easy to do; it costs little, it is pretty; it is feminine.
An April Fool Tea.
Send invitations asking your guests to dress as foolish as possible. The hostesses costume can be combinations of several, as a decollete corsage, short walking skirt, one high-heeled slipper and one bedroom slipper, one side of her hair braided and hanging down and the other piled up high and decorated with feathers from the duster. Or she can dress as "Folly" with pointed black velvet bodice, white blouse, red and yellow striped skirts, pointed cap and wear a small black masque covering the upper part of the face, and carry a stick wound with red and yellow ribbon with tiny bells fastened by ribbons. If you care to take the trouble and the expense (though it need not be very great), you can construct a maze or labyrinth by which the guests approach your door. Make this of frames of wood covered with sheeting, newspapers or heavy cartridge paper, and make as many turns in it as you choose. When the front door is reached have it fly back and display the sign: "April Fool. Try the back door." If you have a side entrance you can have a similar sign and prolong the agony. Have a dummy hostess at the back door and direct the guests to one[Pg 72] or two wrong rooms before they reach the right dressing room.
Have a masked person standing at the door of the parlor as hostess. When the guest starts to shake hands, display the sign "April Fool, I am not the hostess." Have two or three hostesses before the right one is reached.
Have the room full of surprises in the way of decorations, cabbage heads and vegetables for bouquets, tin lanterns for lights, a den for stuffed animals and similar fakes.
No talking of any kind will be permitted for the first hour, though two or three notebooks and pencils can be displayed for those who feel they must express their thoughts. The examination of the "fool" costumes will take place in deaf and dumb show. Give a bunch of onions tied with green calico for the worst costume.
Ring a big dinner bell at six o'clock and arrange one or two childish games to be played to fill in the time before tea or ask the guests to represent some noted character in pantomime, the others to guess which character is portrayed.
For the tea pass cards numbered from one to ten and have the guests call for their supper by indicating four numbers—1, fork; 2, sandwich; 3, plate; 4, pickle; 5, napkin; 6, glass of water; 7, cup of coffee; 8, cake; 9, spoon; 10, ice cream.
For instance, a guest writing on his card 1, 3, 5, 6, would receive a fork, plate, napkin and glass of water for his supper. Have several waiters and put names[Pg 73] on the lists so that all the articles may be brought in at once. After waiting until those who get articles of food try to eat them, for of course, the sandwiches, cake, pickles and ice cream must be "April Fool" ones made of sawdust, cotton and similar substances. Serve real sandwiches, coffee, cake and ice cream.
A Colonial Tea.
A delightful way to entertain six elderly lady friends would be to give a Colonial tea. Word the invitations thus:
"My Dear Madame:—Ye distinguished Honor of your Presence is requested Thursday, ye Second of October, from Three of ye Clock until ye early Candlelight, at Four Hundred and Seven, Sheridan Road, ye City of ——, ye State of ——, to meet your most Obedient and Humble Servant, Mistress ——."
Light the rooms with candlelight and decorate with nosegays of garden flowers and autumn leaves. Seat the guests at round tables. Have all the viands on the table at once. Let the menu be cold turkey, pressed chicken, cold tongue, tiny pocketbook rolls, jellies and preserves, gelatines, pound cake and fruit cake, hot tea and chocolate. Decorate the table with old-fashioned flowers in quaint vases. Women of that age generally prefer to bring their own needlework and visit, so have a brief program of old-fashioned music, or an interesting old-fashioned story read.
Pretty Rose Tea.
One of the most beautiful "rose" teas can be given[Pg 74] if one has a rose garden. Hundreds of dozens of roses, white for the drawing-room, red for the hall and library, yellow for the music room and pink for the dining room can be used. The roses are placed in immense Oriental bowls on polished table tops. The tea table has an immense basket of pink and white roses in rare varieties and the surface of the table is covered with a smilax mat bordered with pink roses and tiny electric light bulbs looking like glow worms. The ice cream is in the shape of a pink cup with green handles filled with fruit the whole being of ice cream and very delicious. With this is served little pink cakes and candy roses and chocolate with whipped cream.
Omber Shades of Rose.
A beautiful color effect can be secured for a tea by placing on a long table a series of French baskets of roses shading from American beauty to white. The basket at the lower end of the table is in the American beauty shade, the next basket of roses of a lighter shade, the third a deep pink, the fourth a pale pink and the fifth basket bride roses. Tied to these baskets are ribbons in the omber shades of rose. The candles between the baskets are the same shades as the different roses and the electric lights of the chandelier are hooded in rose like shades of varying hues.
A Bouquet Tea.
Let the invitations read somewhat in this way: "Will you take tea with us under the trees Tuesday[Pg 75] afternoon at five o'clock? Please wear a bunch of roses. Hoping that we may have the pleasure of your company, believe me,
The piazza is the most natural place for the guests to assemble, and after hats have been laid aside within doors, the four walls of the house may be left behind, and on the shaded piazza, made charming with a few bowls of roses, the Bouquet Game can be played, making a pleasant beginning to the party. This game is most suitable for a gathering not too large, as it somewhat taxes the memory. The guests are placed at one side of the piazza in a long line and each is provided with a bouquet, holding a few less flowers than there are guests, that is: If there are fifteen guests, each should have a dozen flowers. Each person then takes the name of a flower and as the hostess calls the roll each says slowly and distinctly, "I am a pansy," "I am a rose," "a tulip," "a violet," as the case may be. The hostess writes these names down so that she may have them for reference. She may call the roll once again when this is done to freshen memories, and then until the end of the game no one, under any circumstances, may reveal her flower identity. Then one at a time, beginning at the right hand, each guest is called to the center facing the line to be asked one question by every one in turn in the line. In her answers the one in the center must include the questioners' flower identity. No. 1, for instance, is "Lily" and asks the person in the center. "What animal do you like best?" He answers, "Tiger-lily" and then Lily presents him with a flower. No.[Pg 76] 2 may be "Sunflower" and the one in the center cannot remember it, so when asked a question he says to sunflower or No. 2, "Weed I know you not" and gives Sunflower a flower, and so all down the line until the end when the one who has been in the center takes his place in the line and the next in turn comes out to the middle of the piazza to face the ranks and try his memory. Of course many of the flower names can only be brought in awkwardly, but there is a chance for some cleverness and fun.
The game makes merry fun if all enter into the spirit of it. If any one gets entirely out of flowers he drops out of the game. At the end prizes are given to the man and the girl having the largest number of flowers in their bouquets.
Spring Planting is another good contest:
Then if the hostess has even a bit of a garden, a bell rung out under the trees calls the merry throng to partake of old-fashioned "high tea" at little tables set where the afternoon shadows slant restfully, and with the birds' music about, the charm of out-of-doors will add flavor to the dainties. Tea biscuit, chicken salad and tea or chocolate, ices or frozen custard and sponge cake are most suitable.
A High Tea.
A High Tea is one of the most complimentary entertainments to which a hostess may invite her friends in the afternoon. The number of guests is limited, but the possibilities for decoration, daintiness and elegance are unlimited. The exact hour is written on the invitation, as High Tea at 4:00 o'clock (or 5:00 o'clock). The guests may number about twenty-four, but twelve or sixteen is a desirable number. They arrive exactly at the appointed hour. They are seated at small tables having places for four at each table. The menu is a little more substantial than for a reception. Here is a typical "High Tea" menu:[Pg 79]
Sweetbread and Mushroom Patties
Creamed Chicken in Green Peppers
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Ice Cream in form of Fruits, Flowers, or any desired form
This menu, of course, may be varied. Clam cocktail, grape fruit, a fruit cup or hot fruit soup may be served for the first course, croquettes, any sort of salad and ice cream or gelatines.
An original embroidery contest to precede the tea is to secure the large pattern initials which come very inexpensive, getting the initial of each guest. Prepare oblong pieces of linen or lawn which will fold into envelope shape, six by fourteen inches. Give each guest a piece of the linen and the pattern for her initial. She embroiders the initial in the corner or center of the flap to the "envelope" which is a stock and turnover case when finished. Each guest is given her turnover case to finish as a souvenir. Give prizes for the best initial, the one completed first and for the slowest.
A Simple Menu for High Tea.
For a high tea for ladies, serve first an oyster cocktail in glasses, fruit punch or brandied peaches. Then serve sweetbread salad, with bread and butter sandwiches. Frozen eggnog and fig cake are a change from the regulation ice cream. Follow by tea.[Pg 80]
A "Book-Title" Tea. 1.
The latest novelty in afternoon entertainments in England is what is called a "book-title" tea. Of course, this would be just as amusing in the evening, and any refreshments may be served that the hostess prefers.
The guests are all expected to devise and wear some particular badge or ornament which indicates, more or less clearly, the title of some book, preferably works which are well known.
The "badges" worn may be very clever and most tastefully executed. "Dodo" may be impersonated by showing a bar of music containing the two representative notes of the tonic sol-fa method. "Little Men" is represented by a badge bearing the names of little great men, such as Napoleon, Lord Roberts, etc.
A lady may wear around her neck fragments of china tied by a ribbon. This represents "The Break-Up of China," Lord Charles Beresford's book. Another lady, whose name is Alice, may wear a necklace of little mirrors, and this represents "Alice Through A Looking Glass." An ingenious design consists of a nickel coin, a photo of a donkey, another nickel coin, and a little bee, meaning "Nickolas Nickleby." A daisy stuck into a tiny miller's hat stands for "Daisy Miller," and the letters of the word olive twisted on a wire for "Oliver Twist."
Two little gates, made of paste board and a jar, represents "Gates Ajar," and a string of little dolls dressed[Pg 81] as men, "All Sorts and Conditions of Men." There are many other interesting and ingenious designs.
A Book Title Tea. 2.
This is an original entertainment for a few friends. Have amusing pen and ink sketches handed around together with a small note book and pencil for each guest. Explain that each sketch is supposed to represent some well-known book and each guest is given an opportunity to put on his or her thinking cap and name the volume in his note book and pass the sketch on. This novel game affords no end of mirth and enjoyment and at a given time the hostess looks over the books and corrects them.
The House of Seven Gables is very simple and easy to guess, it being simply a rough sketch of a house with seven gables.
An Old-Fashioned Girl is represented by a girl of ye olden time in simple and quaint costume with a school bag on her arm.
A small snow covered house is enough to suggest "Snow Bound" to many of the guests.
The Lady and the Tiger ought not to puzzle anyone, it is a simple sketch of a lady's head in one corner and a tiger in the other.
On one card appears 15th of March, which seems more baffling than all the others. It proves to be "Middlemarch."
A large letter A in vivid red of course represents "A Scarlet Letter."[Pg 82]
"Helen's Babies" is a sketch of two chubby boys in night robes.
"Heavenly Twins" is represented by twin stars in the heavens.
"Darkest Africa" needs nothing but the face of a darkey boy with mouth stretched from ear to ear.
One of the sketches is a moonlight scene with ships going in opposite directions and is easily guessed to represent "Ships that Pass in the Night."
Anyone with originality can devise many other amusing and more difficult sketches. Prizes might be given to the one who guesses the largest number correctly.
"While other constellations sink and fade,
"That force which is largely responsible for the greatness and grandeur of the Republic is the woman behind the man behind the gun."
Booklets with small silk flags mounted on the covers and bearing these quotations with tiny red, white and blue pencils attached make suitable favors for the guests at a high tea. For one contest give twenty minutes in which to write a list of words ending in "nation" as, carnation, condemnation, etc. For this prize give a red, white and blue streamer on which tiny flags of[Pg 83] all nations are fastened. For a second contest allow a given length of time in which to write correctly the words of the American national anthem. A book containing a description of national music would make a suitable prize for this contest. Decorate the dining room with silk flags and red, white and blue bunting and in the center of the table have a blue vase filled with red and white hyacinths or carnations or roses. Have the ice cream frozen in form of a bust of Washington on a shield in three colors.
The leading color in the refreshment room is yellow. The table has a beautiful lace cover and in the center is a large basket of yellow roses, the Golden Gate variety. Around the center are candles with yellow silk shades and a silver compote holding green glace grapes tied with yellow ribbon. The mantel is filled with ferns and a mass of yellow roses in the center. The electric lights at either side of the mantel have yellow silk shades. Instead of ice cream and cake, the menu for the afternoon tea is a delicious meringue filled with whipped cream and wine jelly, coffee and glace grapes.
Yellow is a pretty color for a bridal tea given in June. Use scores of yellow candles in crystal candlesticks and candelabra and yellow roses in vases, baskets and wall pockets on window and book ledges, plate rails, book cases and hung in the doorways by yellow ribbons. An[Pg 84] immense basket of yellow roses and ferns with a white cupid in the center is pretty in the center of the tea-table. Outside this basket have a border of individual crystal candlesticks with yellow tapers and small golden hearts attached to the tapers. The bonbons are yellow hearts and all the refreshments are yellow and heart shaped.
A Candlelight Tea.
Illuminate the rooms with candles in different colors with shades to correspond, green and white in the parlor, setting a row of candles in a straight line across the mantel and banking them with masses of feathery green. Use pink in the dining or supper room. Have a round table lighted by pink candles and pink shades in flower forms, placing the candles either in a pyramid in the center or in a wreath with Christmas green tied with broad pink ribbon, in the center. At each plate put a tiny Dresden candle stick (such as come in desk sets) with pink candles for favors. Serve hot bouillon, oyster and mushroom patties, tiny pickles, creamed chicken in green peppers, cauliflower au gratin, hot rolls, spiced cherries, asparagus salad, grated Parmesan cheese, wafers, ice cream in form of pink candles with lighted tapers, Christmas cakes.
A Flower Tea.
For early September a flower tea is a most enjoyable affair and is easily arranged with little expense. Have the invitations sent out at least a week before the event.[Pg 85]
The parlors should be tastefully arranged and decorated with flowers. Wild flowers are in abundance at this time and they are always bright and cheery.
Let each guest, as she arrives, be presented with a bouquet of flowers, no two being alike.
For amusement there is nothing better and more instructive than the following:
Pass to each lady a sheet of paper with a pencil, the paper containing typewritten questions. Explain to the company that the contest is to last fifteen or twenty minutes as desired.
The printed questions are to be answered by the name of flowers.
Here are appropriate questions for the contest, with correct answers:
After the given time expires let each guest sign her name to the paper she holds and exchange with her nearest neighbor. Then the fun begins as one rises and reads the questions and answers.[Pg 86]
Each lady should mark the paper she holds and in rotation they rise and give the number of correct answers, not mentioning the name on the paper. When it has been decided which paper holds the greatest number of correct answers, the contestant's name is given as winner, and she is presented with a dainty souvenir, such as a flower vase, or a dainty painting of flowers. Other games and contests may follow, all suggestive of flower land.
The afternoon-tea should be dainty and appropriate. A big doll, literally covered with flowers, makes a pretty centerpiece for the table. Let ice lemonade be served, each glass having a sweet flower floating on its surface. The cakes should be in the form of flowers and the bonbons, flower candies.
It is pretty to call each guest by the name of the flower given her when she arrives.
If there is music after tea let a song of the flowers be rendered.
An Exchange Tea.
This style of party is intensely amusing, and will keep a large company interested for several hours of an evening or afternoon, as it is one continued round of mirth-provoking "sells," in which everybody is "sold." It is not so much in vogue for small affairs, where only a few guests are invited, but where a large crowd is to be entertained it is just the thing to furnish enjoyment and fun.
This is how it is arranged. When requested to attend an exchange tea, each person, male and female,[Pg 87] picks out from his belongings, personal or otherwise, such an article as he or she does not want, and after wrapping it well, takes it to the party. Of course, everybody desires to get rid of his parcel, and the exchange business waxes warm and furious as it progresses, for usually not one individual obtains anything which he wishes to keep, as a "pig in a poke" is scarcely ever a bargain.
Constant exchanging is not compulsory, so that if by any lucky chance you have gotten rid of your own bundle, and become the proud possessor of another whose hidden treasures happen to suit you, then you are privileged to stop and hold on to your prize. Generally speaking, however, the contents of the mysterious parcels are hardly ever desirable, which creates all the more excitement and enthusiastic bargaining, and in the end each one will be left with something ridiculous or utterly useless, upon his hands.
And that's just where the fun comes in.
Serve this menu:
Cold Sliced Chicken, garnished with tiny Radishes and Hard-boiled Eggs
Orange and Pineapple Salad
Strawberry Ice Cream
A Watermelon Tea.
Ask a congenial party, being sure that all are fond of watermelon. Have the fruit on ice at least twenty-four hours before serving, and above all things give this affair when the temperature is up in the nineties if you[Pg 88] want it fully appreciated. Have a sharp knife and cut the melons at the table (for it is such a decorative fruit), and use only white dishes and flowers. Let each guest count the seeds in the piece or pieces and give a souvenir to the one having the largest number. A pretty prize and appropriate is to procure a very small and symmetrical melon, cut off the end, hollow out and line with oiled paper, fill with bonbons and tie the end on with broad pink satin ribbon.
If expense is no object, have a quartet of colored singers with banjos concealed and let them sing good old plantation songs for an hour or two, not forgetting "Den, oh, dat watermelon." Grape juice is a good drink to serve this party. Have the tumblers half filled with finely cracked ice.[Pg 89]
Unique Ideas for Tea.
A chocolatiere is a pretty affair. The decoration is an immense mound of bride roses in the center of the dining room table. The refreshments are baskets of chocolate ice cream filled with whipped cream. The cakes are chocolate squares. The candies are all chocolate and cream, and hot chocolate is served. Chocolatieres are very popular entertainments for young girls and for matrons. They are given in the morning or afternoon. As nearly every woman loves chocolate, they are pretty certain to please the guests.
A Kaffee Klatch.
The kaffee klatsch is an afternoon affair where ladies meet and chat as they sew and are served a luncheon of German dishes—cold meats, salads, coffee-cake, pickles, coffee, etc. Each guest is given a bit of needlework, button-holes to work, or a small doily to embroider and a prize is given for the best work.
Have a number of tea towels, cheesecloth dusters, Canton flannel bags for brooms, silverware towels, etc., cut and ready to hem. When the ladies assemble, let them hem these as a gift for the bride (for whom the kaffee klatsch is given) to take home with her. Ask each to tell some of her first experiences in housekeeping, and at the close of the afternoon take a vote on the funniest experience, the cleverest in emergency[Pg 90] and the best told. To do this successfully, you will have to lead the conversation and not let the ladies know they are talking purposely. Another way is to assign topics as for a conversation party, giving such topics as: "My first attempt at making bread," "My first housecleaning," "Unexpected guests," "My first pie," etc. Or, ask each guest to write her first housekeeping experience (some funny incident) and bring it. Have the papers read aloud, but not the names. Let the guests guess whose the experiences are. Use this contest.
What stitch is:
For a prize for the best answers give a little leather sewing case fitted with needles and thread.
A "Rushing" Tea for Sorority.
Generally speaking, one will use their sorority colors in flowers and ribbons and their insignia cut from paste-board and covered with tissue paper of the desired color. A gigantic insignia would make a suitable wall[Pg 91] decoration. Hang pennants of the colors everywhere, and if it is a musical sorority, work in the staff and notes in the decorations. These can be painted on cheap white muslin or paper and tacked about the walls. If one cares to learn a little musical yell, do so as a surprise. If the "rushing" is for new members, one can easily plan a series of funny tableaux picturing the new member in various incidents: Leaving home, or Breaking Home Ties; Arriving at College; Crossing the Campus; Meeting the President; Meeting Her Roommate; Unpacking, etc. Insist upon the new members' answering each question to the tune of some college song, or else coach the old members to answer all questions by new members in this manner. Have a sorority of dolls dressed in the colors, each doll holding a pennant, in the center of the table. Paint the staff and notes on the muslin tablecloth and make little paper drums to hold the salted nuts and bonbons. Serve grape juice, a salad of mixed fruits, sweet wafers and chocolate.
Sandwiches for Teas.
The first requisite in the preparation of good sandwiches is to have perfect bread in suitable condition. Either white, brown or entire wheat bread may be used, but it should be of close, even texture, and at least one day old.
For very small, dainty sandwiches to be served at afternoon teas or breakfasts, the bread may be baked at home in baking-powder tins. These should be only half-filled, and allowed to rise before baking. The[Pg 92] butter should be softened by creaming, not melting, and spread smoothly on the bread before it is cut. Cut the slices as thin as possible, and when a variety is offered it is well to keep each kind of a different shape, as, for instance, circles of anchovy, triangles of chicken, fingers of game and squares of fruit butters.
Flavored butters are much used in making sandwiches, and are simply and easily prepared. Fresh, unsalted butter should be used. After creaming the butter, add the flavoring material, and beat until smooth and thoroughly blended. Caviare, anchovy, sardines, oysters, salmon, lobster, cheese, cress, chives, Chili, Chutney, olives, parsley, cucumbers, horseradish and paprika are all used for flavoring these various butters.
For afternoon teas, fruit and flower butters make delicious sandwiches. Of these the most popular are strawberry, pineapple, red raspberry and peach. Lemon butter mixed with fresh grated cocoanut is also a delectable sandwich filling, and cherry jelly with shavings of dried beef another. Butters flavored with rose or violet petals are very delicate and attractive, but, as may easily be imagined, find little favor with the sterner sex, who prefer their refreshments of a more substantial order.
Anchovy Sandwiches—Rub the yolks of hard-boiled eggs to a paste, season to taste with anchovy essence, and add a few olives, stoned and chopped very fine. Spread this mixture on very thin slices of buttered bread and cut into dainty shapes.[Pg 93]
Caviare Sandwiches—Spread thinly-buttered bread with fresh caviare seasoned with lemon juice and on top of this lay a little minced lobster. Finish with another piece of buttered bread.
Olive Sandwiches—Scald and cool twelve large olives, stone them, and chop very fine. Add one spoonful of mayonnaise dressing, and one teaspoonful of cracker dust; mix well, and spread on buttered bread.
Queen Sandwiches—Mince finely two parts of cooked chicken or game to one part of cooked tongue, and one part minced cooked mushrooms or truffles. Add seasoning and a little lemon juice, and place between thin slices of buttered bread.
Lobster Sandwiches—Pound two tablespoonfuls of lobster meat fine; add one tablespoonful of the coral, dried and mashed smooth, a teaspoonful of lemon juice, a dash of nutmeg, one-fourth of a teaspoonful of paprika, and two tablespoonfuls of soft butter. Mix all to a smooth paste and spread between thin bread and butter.
Jelly Sandwiches—Mix a cupful of quince jelly with half a cupful of finely chopped hickory or pecan nuts, and spread on buttered bread.
Date Sandwiches—Wash, dry and stone the dates, mash them to a pulp, and add an equal amount of finely chopped English walnut or pecan meats. Moisten slightly with lemon juice. Spread smoothly on thinly-sliced brown bread.[Pg 94]
Fig Sandwiches—Stem and chop very fine a sufficient number of figs. Add enough water to make of the consistency of marmalade, and simmer to a smooth paste. Flavor with a little lemon juice, and when cool spread on thin slices of buttered bread, and sprinkle thickly with finely chopped nuts.
Fruit Sandwiches—Cut equal quantities of fine fresh figs, raisins and blanched almonds very small. Moisten with orange juice and spread on white bread and butter.
Beef Sandwiches—To two parts of chopped lean, rare beef, add one part of finely minced celery, salt, pepper, and a little made mustard. Place on a lettuce leaf between thin slices of bread and butter.
Ginger and Orange Sandwiches—Soften Neufchatel cheese with a little butter or rich cream. Spread on white bread, cut in very thin slices, and cover with finely minced candied orange peel and preserved ginger. Place over another slice of bread. Candied lemon peel and preserved citron, finely minced, also make a delicious sandwich filling.
Novelties in Tea Serving.
If you wish to vary the serving of your tea add three cloves to the lemon and sugar. Or a thin slice of apple added with sugar is delicious. In Sweden a piece of stick cinnamon is added by some to tea while it is steeping.[Pg 95]
Summer Porch Tea Parties.
One of the prettiest decorations for a porch tea party is a hanger or pocket for flowers made by cutting pockets in large round pieces of bamboo, the rods being about three feet long. These pockets are filled with scarlet lilies and hung in the corners and on the posts of the porch. Hang Red Chinese lanterns in the open spaces and have red paper fans in Chinese jars on tables and ledges. The porch boxes along the railings can have their real contents almost concealed in ferns, and scarlet lilies stuck in amid the ferns. Across one corner the gay striped hammock, with its open meshes filled with wild cucumber and clematis vines fastened against the house, makes a background for the punch bowl. Orange ice and cream cake can be served on plates decorated with gold and white, with a bunch of daisies tied with pale green gauze ribbon on each plate.
Summer Porch Tea Party. 2.
A porch tea party given in the summer is a most enjoyable affair. The guests are seated on the porch which has immense jardinieres filled with garden flowers, and draperies of large American flags. The punchbowl is just inside the door in the hall. The guests bring their needlework and as they sew, one of the number reads a group of original stories. Following this have a little contest called The Menu. The prize for the correct list is a solid silver fork with a rose design. The refreshments are lemon sherbet, macaroons, sweet wafers, pecans and bonbons.[Pg 96]
The Capital of Portugal.
An imitation reptile.
A gentle English author.
Found in the Orient.
Woman's chief weapon.
A son of Noah.
A Universal crown.
A part of Caesar's message and a male relative.
A complete crush.
Slang for stealing.
What we don't want our creditors to do.
What a historian delights in.
Must be married at home.
What a lover says to his sweetheart.
A sailor's harbor.
Answers: Soups: Lisbon, mock turtle; Roasts: lamb, turkey; Boiled Meats: tongue, ham; Game: hare, venison; Relishes: jam, catsup, salt; Vegetables: cabbage, beef; Pudding: suet; Fruits: dates, canteloupe; Wines: Madeira, champagne, Port.