Look at this wonderful thing! A friend liberated it from his grandmother’s bookshelves for me and I appreciate it so very much. If I had unlimited shelf space and an extra few hours in the week, I’d probably collect and blog about etiquette and entertaining manuals as well, but there’s only so much time a person should devote to horrified chuckling at kaleidoscopic interiors, conformist gender roles and devilled ham.
The introduction gives a flavour of the reading age and boredom threshold necessary to use this book:
Is that a raffia doily or a printed design on the plate? Can you buy raffia plate doilies or do I have to cut them out of the back of the hall chair myself? Love a dark green glass – it stops me being freaked out by the colour of my drink.
The manual contains a range of themes and menus for every occasion – formal and informal dinners, birthdays, religious holidays, Teen-age parties [sic], potlucks, open houses and picnics.
At first glance the recipes divide into two categories: tasty, and unthinkable. (Consider, triple-layer brownies - a chocolate brownie on a flapjack base with chocolate icing, but also cheese bisque – a tin of cheese soup and a tin of celery soup heated together, garnished with popcorn.)
As I now keep cornmeal in the house since learning to make mamaliga last year, I decided to try these:
I made a half-portion and ended up with six muffins from a standard bun tray. I used three rashers of back bacon, as I thought this would probably be equivalent to six rashers of US bacon, which, according to my limited understanding, is what we call streaky bacon.
Almost perfect little corn muffins – soft, light and full of bacon-y goodness. I ate one straight of out the oven, gave two to my sister (she liked the texture but wasn’t sold on the flavour, possibly because I used juniper-cured bacon). I reheated the rest throughout the week for breakfast. They are rather crumbly and to my taste, far too salty, but apart from that this is a very quick and easy recipe. In future, I will leave out the salt completely, substitute honey for sugar (a tip learned from the giver – an excellent cornbread maker) and attempt to delight a range of guests with vegetarian ones, flavoured with cooked spring onions and parmesan. Just call me Carol van Sant (no, don’t).
Cornetted by Elly