The True Meaning of Grace and Charm
March 31, 2016
If you ever find yourself in an upstate New York used bookstore hunting down old recipes, you’ll be forgiven for missing this book. That frou frou flower on the jacket does not exactly telegraph food.
I’m so glad I gave it a chance. On the first page we discover that this purported etiquette book, published in 1946, is in fact a product of the Westmorland Sterling Division of the Aluminum Cooking Utensil Co., of New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Its author: Nancy Prentiss, Director, Westmorland Sterling Advisory Service.
Her noble mission:
And now for the food. (We’ll talk silverware tomorrow.) Here are a few casual menu ideas for occasions large and small:
But the “Round the World Menus” were what most fascinated me. Would the (suburban, white) readers of this manual know what a preserved egg was? Or where to buy birds nests. And where would they ever find the manioc to make farofa? Amazing!
Categorised in: Vintage Books and Magazines
Bon bons! I want the bonbons. I notice they are spelled two different ways. Is one more correct than the other? Would “the four hundred” care?
What a different world we live in these days.
Thank you for this, Ruth. I was born in 1946 and am happy to know that Nancy Prentiss was in the world at that time.
Just found a first edition copy at http://www.Abebooks.com! There are several copies there, quite reasonably priced.
I do not want a preserved egg! I am so far from being this hostess…
A more genteel time it was, something MY kids will never know. My mom wasn’t particularly formal but I do remember some gorgeous settings. Ashtrays and all! Oh, and sweet little saccharin dishes, to boot.
I wonder why the house guest needs cheering at breakfast. Did she show up on the doorstep late last night, looking for refuge? Nursing a broken heart?