c1892 Art of Entertaining Sherwood Antique Book.
This wonderful book on entertaining in Victorian times is entitled The Art of Entertaining. It is wonderful compilation of all a hostess would need to know to entertain guests, and it covers many topics.
The Contents are:
The intellectual components of a dinner.
Various modes of gastronomical gratification.
German Eating and Drinking.
The influence of good cheer on authors and geniuses.
Famous menus and receipts (recipes).
Cookeries and wines of Southern France.
Some oddities in the art of entertaining.
The servant question.
Something about cooks.
Furnishing a country house.
Pastimes of ladies.
Hunting and shooting.
The season--Balls and receptions.
How royalty entertains.
Entertaining at Easter.
How to entertain children.
Certain practical suggestions.
The comparative merits of American and foreign modes of entertaining.
A few excerpts read:
Nothing can be said against the afternoon tea, unless that it may lead to a new disease, the delirium teamens. There is danger to nervous women in our climate in too great an indulgence in this delicious beverage. It sometimes murders sleep and impairs digestion. We cannot claim that it is always safer than opium...
No condiment should be cooked with woodcock, save butter or pork. A piece of toast under him, to catch his fragrant gravy, and the delicious trail should be eating with the snipe, but a bottle of Chambertin may be drunk to wash him down.
...tier upon tier in glistening ice, were some thirty kinds of birds in the very ecstasy of prime condition, all ready prepared to for cook...humming-birds daintily served in nut shells...
A fussy hostess who scolds the servants, wrinkles her brow, or even forgets to listen to the man who is talking to her, is the ruin of a dinner...a hostess is the slave of her guests after she has invited them; she must be all attention, and all suavity.
In giving a large afternoon tea, the hostess should stand by the drawing room door and greet each guest. There should be flowers on the table, and dishes containing bread and butter cut as thin as a shaving. Cake and strawberries are always permissible. One or two servants should be in attendance to carry away soiled cups and saucers; but for the pouring of the tea and chocolate there should always be a lady, who like the hostess should wear a gown closed to the throat, for nothing is worse form now-a-days than full dress before dinner. The ladies of the house should not wear bonnets.
The soft shell crab is an invalid. He is caught when he is helpless, feverish, and not at all, one would say, healthy. Such sensitive creatures must be cooked as soon as possible.
In France, in entertaining a lady, at the the theatre or opera, the gentleman host always carries a box of bonbons, within which is a little imitation silver sugar tongs by which she can help herself to a chocolate or a marron deguise, without soiling her fingers.
Picnics: Tongue, cold beef, and even cold sausages make excellent varieties of sandwich. To prevent their becoming the "sand which is under your feet" cover them over night with a damp napkin. All must be packed in luncheon baskets with little twisted cornucopias holding pepper and salt, hard boiled eggs, the patty by itself, croquettes, cold fried oysters...if a cake or pastry be taken, each should have a separate basket...cold tea and iced coffee--these beverages should be carefully bottled and corked....
It is just amazing what is inside this book, and such an insight into the Victorian era. This dark blue hard bound book has a gold cartouche in the center denoting it came from the Portia Series, and the spine also has the title in gilt. It is in VG condition, a First Edition. The pages have a nice patina, and the text block is clean and tight. Very little wear at all, indeed a fine example. Overall size is 5 x 7 inches, 404 pages. A lovely gift presentation for the cook or banquet manager.