Breakfasts and Teas
NOVEL SUGGESTIONS FOR SOCIAL OCCASIONS
Compiled by PAUL PIERCE
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.
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CHICAGO BREWER, BARSE & CO.
Copyrighted 1907 by PAUL PIERCE
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 volume 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 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 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 Chicken Patties Newberg Lobster Green Peas with New Turnips Grape Fruit Sherbet Broiled Birds with Orange Salad White Custards Cannelons with Jelly Strawberries in Cream Black Coffee
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 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 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; 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, And happy today are you; May all of the glad dreams you have dreamed In all of your life come true; May every good there is in life Step down from the years to you. There's nothing so sweet as a maid is sweet, On the day she becomes a bride; Oh, the paths that ope to the dancing feet! Oh, the true love by her side! Oh, the gray old world looks a glad old world, And it's fields of pleasure, wide.
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 Turkey Cutlets Stuffed Peppers (Serve on Heart-Shaped Pieces of Bread) Tiny Heart-Shaped Hot Rolls Peach Mangoes Sweetbread Salad in Tomato Cups on Lettuce Leaf Cheese Straws Ice Cream in Shape of Wedding Bells Filled with Candied Fruits Cocoanut Cake and Angel Food in Heart Shape Coffee
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:
Bouillon Lobster Cutlets Tartar Sauce Cucumber Sandwiches Breast of Turkey, larded and broiled Green Peas Current Jelly Hot Rolls Pear and Celery Salad, with German Cherries served in Hearts of Lettuce 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 Creamed Fish New Potatoes with Sauce of Parsley and Drawn Butter Sliced Cucumbers Hot Biscuits Fried Chicken Asparagus on Toast Sweetbreads Waffles and Maple Syrup Strawberry Shortcake, with Frozen Whipped Cream Coffee
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.
TWO BON VOYAGE BREAKFASTS.
"I take my leave of you Shall not be long but I'll be here again."
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.
The guest cards are little circular marine water color sketches, no two alike. The menu is as follows:
Grape Fruit with strawberries Salmon Croquettes Fried Mush Jelly Steamed Chicken Hot Rolls Shoestring Potatoes Coffee Vegetable Salad Wafers with Melted Cheese Molded Cherry Jelly with English Walnuts, served with Whipped Cream Sponge Cakes
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, 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 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:
Name the Geologist's cake. (Mountain.) Name the Advertiser's cake. (Puff.) Name the Farmer's cake. (Corn.) Name the Tailor's cake. (Measure.) Name the Milliner's cake. (Ribbon.) Name the Devout cake. (Angel Food.) Name the Jeweler's cake. (Gold.) Name the Lover's cake. (Kisses.) Name the Author's cake. (Short cake.) Name the Pugilist's cake. (Pound.) Name the Office-seeker's cake. (Washington.) Name the Idler's cake. (Loaf.)
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 Chicken Croquettes Oysters in Potato Balls Rice Muffins with Maple Syrup Coffee Chocolate with Whipped Cream
Scalloped Oysters Turkey Salad Cheese Balls Bread and Butter Sandwiches Strawberry Trifle Gipsy Jelly with Whipped Cream Lemon Cocoanut Cake Meringues filled with Preserved Walnuts Tea 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 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 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.
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.
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.
Almuerzo Olives Aeles Sausage Eggs in Revoltillo Boiled Rice Fried Plantains Fish in Escabeche New Potatoes Tenderloin Steak Lettuce Salad Guava Paste and Fresh Cheese Cocoanut Desert Fruit Coffee
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 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 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 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.
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. 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 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 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. 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.
1. Who was the lover? 2. Who was his sweetheart? 3. In what country were they born? 4. On what river was his home? 5. What was his favorite state? 6. Where did he first meet her? 7. What part of the day was it? 8. How was her hair arranged? 9. What flower did he offer her? 10. When did he propose to her? 11. What did he say to her? 12. What was her reply? 13. When were they married? 14. Her maid of honor was from Scotland; what was her name? 15. The best man was a soldier; who was he? 16. When in the civil war did the groom and best man become acquainted? 17. A little sister of the bride was flower girl; what was her name? 18. In what church was the ceremony solemnized? 19. In the thoroughfares of what foreign city did they spend their honeymoon? 20. What motto greeted them as they entered their new dwelling? 21. Who did the bridegroom finally turn out to be?
1. Ben Bolt. 2. Sweet Marie. 3. America. 4. Suanne River. 5. Maryland, My Maryland. 6. Comin' Through the Rye. 7. In the Gloaming. 8. Her Golden Hair was Hanging Down her Back. 9. Sweet Violets. 10. After the Ball. 11. Won't You Be My Sweetheart? 12. If you Ain't Got No Money You Needn't Come Around. 13. In Springtime, Gentle Anne. 14. Annie Laurie. 15. Warrior Bold. 16. While We Were Marching Through Georgia. 17. Marguerite. 18. Church Across The Way. 19. Streets of Cairo. 20. Home, Sweet Home. 21. The Man That Broke The Bank at Monte Carlo.
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, Heaven not grim, but fair of hue."
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.
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, By any other name would smell as sweet.
But earthlier happy is the rose distilled Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.
The rose is fairest when 'tis budding new; And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears. The rose is sweetest washed with morning dew, And love is loveliest when embalmed in tears.
'Tis the last rose of summer Left blooming alone.
You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will, But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.
He wears the rose Of youth upon him.
As though a rose should shut and be a bud again.
She wore a wreath of roses, That night when first we met.
—T. H. Bayley.
The rose that all are praising Is not the rose for me.
—T. H. Bayley.
Loveliest of lovely things are they On earth that soonest pass away. The rose that lives his little hour Is prized beyond the sculptured flower.
Flowers of all hue and without thorn the rose.
A rosebud set with little wilful thorns, And sweet as English air could make her, she.
Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they be withered.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a flying; And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow wille be dying.
Their lips were four red roses on a stalk.
And I will make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies.
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:
Mrs. —— At Home, Wednesday morning, November Seventh, Nineteen — —— ten o'clock, 340 —— Street, Please reply. Breakfast.
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.
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.
This is the menu:
Cream of Lettuce Soup Steamed White Fish Hollandaise Sauce Potato Balls Maitre de Hotel Sauce Jellied Chicken Cauliflower, Creamed Asparagus Cheese Salad Metropolitan Ice Cream Small Cakes Niagara Grapes Coffee
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 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:
Solo—"To a Water Lily" McDowell Old Song—"Lily Dale" Vocal Solo—"Row Gently Here, My Gondolier" Schumann
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:
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 Coffee
A GRAPE BREAKFAST.
May the juice of the grape enliven each soul, And good humor preside at the head of each bowl.
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 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. 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.
THE MODERN "FIVE O'CLOCK."
"A cup she designates as mine With motion of her dainty finger; The kettle boils—oh! drink divine, In memory shall thy fragrance linger!"
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 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, My cup needs filling,—project clever! She comes and I grown bold at last Say 'Darling, make my tea forever!'"
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, And a corner for you and me."
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 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 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, Is tea spoiled,"
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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. 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, Will ye no come back again."
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
TWO VALENTINE TEAS.
Here's to a cup of tea. It holds intoxication great for me. I find it makes me want to dare Do bold things right then and there; To steal a kiss from Phyllis fair, as she pours tea.
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; If ever single it is twain, And till it finds its counterpart It bears about an aching heart."
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 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.