Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Helping Hand

If you were a novice or nervous cook in 1923, and wanted a guide to take you by the hand and walk you through some easy entertainment menus, Alice Bradley's little book For Luncheon and Supper Guests  would have been very useful.  It is quite possibly the most thorough cookbook I have ever read, since Miss Bradley gives you not only the menu and the recipes but also the market order and a prep schedule (if you are an experienced cook, you may question why Miss Bradley believes hard-boiled eggs should be cooked for 60 minutes in a double boiler.  Picky, picky).   The entire cookbook can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.


Fruit Cup
Hot Ham Sandwich
Currant or Grape Jelly
Tomato Salad with Cheese Dressing
Cocoa Ice Cream
Fig Marguerites
Tea with Candied Mint Leaves

Rather an ambitious menu particularly since the cook-hostess was expected to make everything from scratch, including the jelly.  Still, Miss Bradley was there to guide you every step of the way.


Fruit cup ready to chill
Ham prepared for the sandwiches
Tomatoes peeled and placed in ice box
Salad dressing made
Fig marguerites made
Candied mint leaves prepared
Ice cream ready to freeze
Jelly made


1 pound cooked ham
1 cream cheese (Roquefort flavor if desired)
1 quart milk
1 pint cream
½ pound butter
6 eggs
½ pound white grapes
3 or 4 oranges
2 lemons
1 pound (4 small) tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 head lettuce
1 bunch mint
½ can sliced pineapple
8 maraschino cherries
2 tablespoons mayonnaise dressing
½ pint raspberry or strawberry syrup
¼ pound figs
2 ounces walnut meats
1 ounce tea
⅛ pound cocoa
1 loaf sandwich bread
½ pint grape or currant jelly or juice
Oil of spearmint
1 package small round crackers
1 ounce marshmallow cream
1 cup salad oil
Loaf sugar


1 pound cooked ham through food chopper. Add
4 tablespoons creamed butter,
1 teaspoon mustard and
1 teaspoon paprika, and mix well.
Bread in sixteen ¼-inch slices, spread eight slices bread with the ham mixture, cover with remaining bread and press slices firmly together. Cut each sandwich in three strips.
2 eggs slightly and add
2 cups milk. Dip sandwiches, one at a time, in this mixture, and sauté in butter, cooking on one side until browned, and then turning and browning the other side. Serve very hot.
Other meat, or marmalade or jam may be used in sandwiches in place of ham.


4 tomatoes in halves in such a way that they come apart in points.
Arrange each half in a nest of
Lettuce leaves. In the center of tomato pile
Cream cheese forced through a coarse strainer. In center of cheese put a
Few bits of green pepper finely chopped. Serve with cheese dressing.


2 tablespoons mayonnaise dressing with
2 tablespoons cream cheese. Add
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon table sauce
½ teaspoon paprika and add very slowly
¼ cup salad oil, beating with egg beater until very thick. Add slowly 1 ½ tablespoons vinegar. Keep in cool place till ready to serve.
Cream cheese with Roquefort flavor is desirable in both the above recipes, but the usual cottage or cream cheese may be used if preferred.

The rest of the book is similarly painstaking. If I were a "bachelor girl" or a new bride, I'd probably take my first baby steps at entertaining with something like the above menu, particularly since I could probably get away with cooking the sandwiches in a chafing dish in front of my guests.

I'd buy the jelly and the cookies, though.


Lady Anne said...

If I could make the jelly during the summer when fruit was in season, it wouldn't be a problem, but I certainly wouldn't tackle doing it the morning of a party. The rest sounds doable, and I love the menu. I'll have to check out the book itself.

"Cut a loaf of bread." Until the day he stopped working, my Nana spoke of having to "go cut Ern's lunch". Sliced bread didn't come on the market until 1928, so packing hubby's lunch did involve cutting the bread. Wonder bread, as a matter of fact. Greatest thing, never mind.

Bunnykins said...

That chafing dish must have been the latest thing, being electric. That and one of those nifty new toasters that flip open on the sides would have made any kitchen right up to date.
I have a couple of newer model chafing dishes, one sterno, one liquid fuel for when the power goes out. They're from the 60s when cooking at the table was chic, crepe suzette and steak diane were on restaurant menus and eating was fun.
I'm going to look up this book. These days, I'm all about easy and these recipes look good! I'm always hungry the days you do cooking.