The thing that is great about this cookbook is it actually has not very many recipes but is filled with helpful guides on everything from weight management to feeding infants and children, quick meals (which incorporates the paragraph "The last half-hour before serving.." seeing as how my quick meals take only 30 min. I am exhausted) and how to conduct formal and informal breakfast, luncheon, and dinner or "The Etiquette of Service" This is my favorite part.
You will have to click on the images to be able to fully see and read.
I have put in images of the Informal Dinner. This is what is considered a family meal or perhaps a guest or two. Having parents who grew up during this time period, I am relatively sure that neither of their households consisted of meals like this. My grandmother ran a farm kitchen. No maid here. For sure. Growing up we, as far as I was concerned, fully set the table for dinner. Plate, spoon (big for dad), knife, fork, glass and often a napkin. Sometimes there was a centerpiece, but for the most part that just got in the way and didn't leave space for the food. Now my kids put a plate and a fork on the table. Period. If they want a drink, they get up and get one. If they need a napkin, they get up and get one, unless I have the foresight to think that what we are eating is potentially messier than normal or uses hands then I will sometimes grab a few paper towels and rip them into smaller pieces. Frugality is the rule. I also serve straight out of the pot. Hot pads abound on my table. The less dishes to wash of course. Now if I happen to have (almost never) a fancier dinner with guests, this might get cleaned up a little. Also I worked for catering for several years, even as a supervisor. I set Tens of Thousands of tables. Really. We did banquets as large as 2000 for a ton of college students to as small as two big wigs. I served Ambassadors and Queens and Prophets all the way to farmers and kids. I Could set a table nice, if I Wanted to.
Look at that list of items needed just to set the table!!!! and there are detailed instructions on how to serve set the napkins, right down to removing covers from serving dishes etc. Everything! Versus, of course, the Formal Dinner. And what to do with the maid. Take a glance at the previous section just above the title about the maids and their outfits from the formal section.
Really This is so precious. I couldn't even begin to imagine living this way. It's all Hollywood glamour and middle class image you see in the old movies but I doubt most of America lived that way. Hello! 1932 depression! Can you imagine all this during the great dust bowl where daily things were coated with a thick layer of dust? One account I read of they would set the table with the plates upside down to keep as much dust off as they could before eating then quickly turning them over to put food on them and still getting 'salt and pepper' on it.
Still it's good to be reminded of all that properness and whatnot. If I were to do this now, there is no way I could do the laundry and clean the house. I would be spending half the day just setting the table.
I hope to try some of the recipes soon. One of my favorite titles? Main dish - Bacon and Bananas.