Saturday, September 30, 2006

Elsie de Wolfe's Entertaining Tips

If you are a collector of vintage design books, you may want to consider adding Elsie de Wolfe's "Recipes for Successful Dining" (1934) to your collection. While it is not a design book per se, this book does provide an interesting and amusing look into how this legendary decorator entertained. Lady Mendl suggested using silver or gold lame as a tablecloth (see above) and advised that objects like rock crystal candlesticks and porcelain rabbits made good table decorations. She also wrote that she liked to use "the plant of the moment" on her table (any ideas as to what today's plant of the moment is?).

It is her recipes, though, that made me appreciative of today's lighter cuisine. De Wolfe believed that there should be a "surprise" dish at every dinner party. To that end, there are recipes for Boiled Tongue
a la Ritz, Creamed Haddock, and Indian Sardine Squares.

I'll leave you with one of her hors d'oeuvre recipes:

Olives Wrapped in Bacon
Insert roasted almonds in olives from which the stones have been removed. Wrap each olive in a small strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Grill in oven until the bacon is a good brown, and serve hot.
Bon Appetit!

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