Monday, November 23, 2009

Design Legends Entertaining Tips

The ever-s0-talented Jennifer Boles at The Peak of Chic never has a shortage of the most informative and fun posts on her blog. I'm a huge fan. Jennifer has done numerous posts about entertaining, many about table settings from the vintage Tiffany's entertaining books, which are some of her favorites.

There are so many wonderful posts of Jennifer's, that I couldn't help myself from plagiarizing one of my favorites from July 2008, "Entertaining with the Pros."

Let's go back in time and see what tips some of the design legends have to offer. And, thanks Jennifer. Love your commentary!

"Elsie de Wolfe had a lot to say about entertaining. So much so that she wrote Elsie de Wolfe's Recipes for Successful Dining. De Wolfe believed that "the perfect meal is the short meal." Remember, De Wolfe wrote the book at a time when dining was a bit more elaborate than today. A few other tidbits: Never have high flower vases on your table. Keep your table decorations "low, low, low."And "Curried Veal Kidneys" is a recipe for successful dining."

"Dorothy Draper, the merriest of decorators, once wrote that a "delighted hostess is a delightful hostess" (this from Entertaining is Fun!). Dorothy had a point-- who wants to be around a harried hostess? She also wrote that she never held up a dinner party for more than half an hour waiting for a tardy guest. And canned turtle soup with sherry is something that one should always have in his pantry. (Do they still make canned turtle soup?)"

"Dorothy Rodgers thought (and wrote) a great deal about entertaining. The woman certainly was attuned to the details and planning of dinner parties, weekend house parties, and casual affairs. Rodgers' advice included using cloths on small tables as opposed to place mats, using matching crystal stemware, and passing crackers with the first course. Oh, "The Game." "Improbable Conversations," and "Botticelli" are all FUN parlor games, at least according to Rodgers."


"Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, the late directrice of Nina Ricci couture house, wrote all about Entertaining with Elegance. Did you know that yellow asters and orange chrysanthemums in a copper container make a chic floral arrangement? Or that asparagus tips with a bit of mayonnaise rolled up in thinly sliced white bread makes a tasty tea sandwich? And that wine glasses should be filled one half to two-thirds full? You do now, thanks to Ms. Dariaux."

"Mark Hampton was not a fan of table linens made of polyester. He also thought one should avoid using colored candles (unless it was a Christmas celebration) as well as narcissus and lilies- too odoriferous for the dinner table.
"

"Bunny Williams liked to have a drinks tray set up on a table so that guests could help themselves to libations. She also used Pepperidge Farm thin sliced bread for tea sandwiches and Duncan Hines brownies for dessert."

If you want to read some additional posts of Jennifer's on entertaining, visit here, here, here and here. Or just go over and add The Peak of Chic to your Google Reader to keep up on the latest and greatest.

Now, hurry up and get that turtle soup ready for Thanksgiving!

vintage photos and content from The Peak of Chic

4 comments:

Jacqueline said...

Things have certainly changed haven't they, Lynn.... I think that the perfect meal is a LONG one !!!! XXXX

The Peak of Chic said...

Thanks for the mention! The thought of Curried Veal Kidneys is not sitting well with me today...or any day!

à la parisienne said...

Lynn,

Thank you for sharing this post just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers.

I need to work on being less harried and more "delightful" when I host. It seems like I so distracted with what needs to be done that I miss out on the joy of having such wonderful company in my home.

I hope you have a joyful Thanksgiving.
Mandy

FrenchBlue said...

Uh Uh Uh! I will come over right now not later for dinner~ Thanks for the GRATE ideas since I will be setting my table again this year~
XO's
Happy Thanksgiving to You, Leif & Viteeee