This is another gem I found in the pile of papers from my mother, inherited from her mother. I wish I knew the time frame for when this paper came into my grandmother's possession.
Anyway, here are tips and tricks if you've been wondering what has been missing from your life, to give it just that extra pinch it needed. (I did correct spelling errors, some were too egregious for me to leave as they were.)
1. The look of elegance is in the serving. Any meal can be elegant if it is served beautifully.
2. When serving an elegant dinner always use cloth or fabric tablecloths or placemats. Plastic is practical for family, but not elegant.
3. Never serve condiments or relishes in their original containers. Always use your prettiest serving dishes, jelly dishes, etc.
4. Garnish your foods as pretty as possible. Parsley and cherry tomatoes add so much eye appeal and eye appeal is the beginning of tummy appeal.
5. Make sure your silver shines and your crystal sparkles before you start.
6. Plan a simple, coordinated menu that will be easy to serve. A harried hostess is never elegant.
7. A lovely buffet served in pretty serving dishes might be the solution to #6.
8. Candles are a must, used with flowers, greens, fruits, or other centerpiece material. A single flower at each place setting can be very effective. At Christmas a number of candles of assorted shapes and sizes set in greens is effective.
9. Soft, non-distractive music is conducive to elegance.
Meal and Menu Ideas:
Elegant Lunch - Asparagus Ham Rolls, serve with a citrus fruit salad garnished with shredded coconut and a maraschino cherry, warm toasted rolls, and butter cookies. Beverage - sparkling punch
Elegant Picnic - Cold friend chicken, potato salad, loaf of crusty French bread, cheeses, grapes, apples, other fruit. Beverage - sparkling grape juice on ice
Hot Weather Lunch - Seafood salad, assorted melon balls, bananas and strawberries (arrange on lettuce cups with raspberry sorbet), assorted wheat and rye crackers, cookies. Beverage - lemonade
Elegant Buffet - Platter of ham, turkey, and other cold meats garnished with parsley and cherry tomatoes. Pretty bowls of potato, macaroni, and jellied salads - arranged on lettuce leaves. Basket of breads and rolls covered by linen napkins. Pretty relish tray, little bowls of mustard and mayonnaise. Punch in a pretty bowl. An elegant flaming dessert would make a spectacular finish, i.e., cherries jubilee, mini cream puffs piled high and covered with a thin thread of spun sugar, a lovely torte.
Elegant Holiday Dinner - Fruit cup, roast turkey, sage dressing, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, green peas, creamed onions, candied yams, baked squash, relishes, rolls and butter, cranberry sauce, pies (apple and pumpkin)
Holiday Buffet - Sparkling red punch, assorted cookies and breads, nuts, chips and assorted dips
EASY DINNER MENU IDEAS
1. Beef stroganoff on noodles, green beans with slivered almonds, ambrosia, hot buttered rolls, chocolate layer cake
2. Lasagna, tossed salad, hot garlic bread, sherbet, cookies
3. Stir fry peppers and steak on rice, fresh pineapple wedges with strawberries
4. Roast pork, scalloped potatoes, applesauce with red cinnamon candies, fresh buttered broccoli, crescent rolls, lemon pie
(is it just me or are these not what we would call "easy" dinners anymore?)
Thanks for the tips, Grandma. I will try to serve at least one truly elegant dinner in my lifetime. Someday.