The Hostess Book of Entertaining on ‘Putting It Right’ (part 1)

In which home economics legend Marguerite Patten lists rectifications for the last-minute culinary disasters which can befall a cook who has over-refreshed themselves or spent too long in front of the mirror or with their guests. Or, as she reassures us:

From time to time even the most accomplished and experienced cook has a failure in the kitchen. What appears at first glance to be a spoiled dish amy well be disguised, or the fault remedied, with a little ‘know-how’. I hope the following hints will be helpful.

H’ors d’oeuvre

A fish cocktail sauce tastes dull
Add a few drops of Tabasco, soy or Worcestershire sauce, plus a little cream.

A pate has been over-cooked and is dry and crumbly
Put the pate into a bowl, stir in cream plus a little sherry or brandy until of the desired consistency. Add extra seasoning plus chopped herbs to taste.


The soup is over-salt
Add a little milk or cream and taste again. If this has not remedied the fault, peel and dice one or two potatoes, simmer in the soup for 10 – 15 minutes, the lift out the potatoes, add more cream or milk. By this time the soup could have become too thin in consistency so a little extra thickening may be necessary.

The soup lacks flavour and time is short
Add a little garlic and/or celery salt to a creamy soup; a pinch of curry powder and a little Worcestershire sauce to a meat-based soup; tomato puree is another excellent ingredient to add to meat or vegetable soups.

The soup looks dull
Add an interesting garnish such as yoghurt and diced fresh or canned red pepper to a dark-coloured soup; browned blanched almonds are an ideal topping for creamy soups. Try tiny balls of cream cheese on a bortsch.

Turkey tarragon soup

Turkey Tarragon Soup

The Hostess Book of Entertaining by Marguerite Patten. (Charles and David, 1980.)


One response to “The Hostess Book of Entertaining on ‘Putting It Right’ (part 1)

  1. Sounds very helpful!