As this posts, I’m celebrating the Fourth of July in Southern California with incredibly beautiful weather, and lots of fireworks all over the neighborhood.
To commemorate the day, I thought I’d continue with the topic of my blog a couple of weeks ago, Help for the Historical Hostess.
Martha Does Dinner
I have no idea how Martha Washington planned her dinner parties, but it’s entirely possible she made reference to The Lady’s Assistant, the book I mentioned in my earlier post. The 1787 edition available on Google Books is the sixth edition, so our revolutionary hostess might have seen one of the earlier printings.
Dinner in an upper-class Georgian home could be an elaborate affair, even a “family” dinner. Fans of Pride and Prejudice might remember Mrs. Bennet talking about serving two courses for her guests.
But what would a historical hostess serve in those two courses of her family dinner?
Meal Planning Made Easy
The Lady’s Assistant offers complete Bills of Fare, from simple two courses of “Four and Five”.
Parsley and Butter
Ragout of a Breast of Veal
Rabbits collared, Aspic Sauce
Gooseberry Cream in Cups
It’s no wonder the wealthy had large kitchen staffs!
On the other hand, I can remember meals at my grandparents’ farm or my other grandparents’ Italian-American home where the kitchen table was groaning with about the same number of dishes. Servants, they didn’t have, but there were many hands available to help get the dinner out.
What about you? Do you celebrate large family events with a huge spread of food?
If you’re reading this in the U.S. on publication day, have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
Images: Pictures are from Wikimedia, Bill of Fare page is from The Lady’s Assistant