Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thanks to Jessica and Joe...

... this post is not about entertaining like every other Tom, Dick, and Harry. I'm sure most of you have read Joe Nye's terrific new book Flair: Exquisite Invitations, Lush Flowers, and Gorgeous Table Settings. It's been by my bed for months now, and I realized that reading it before bedtime ensures sweet dreams of beautiful china, bamboo flatware (in black, no less), pink carnations- basically, my kind of dreams. The book's gorgeous table settings positively beg for good food as well. I think that Joe would agree that the right menu goes hand in hand with all of the hard work that you put into your tables.

So, that leads me to another book that I've been perusing lately- Jessica Daves'
The Vogue Book of Menus and Recipes. (That's Daves, above, in that black and white photo.) The 1964 cookbook and menu planning guide is, well, a bit dated, but food dates about the same way that curtains and lamp shades do- not well. That said, I do think it's a shame that Chicken in Tarragon Aspic is no longer a favorite on today's party menus. It sounds delicious to me.

I decided to plan a few pretend parties using photos from Joe's book and matching them to a menu from the Vogue book. I could have gone really retro with the menus but rather chose the ones that seem appropriate for today's palates. I realize that many of you will never make aspic, but cucumber boats with crab and mayonnaise doesn't sound too terribly difficult to make. What do you think?


Eggs Stuffed with Red Caviar

Roquefort Pecans

Finger Sandwiches of Smoked Turkey on White Bread

Cucumber Boats filled with Crabmeat and Mayonnaise

Tiny Hot Finger Rolls filled with Bacon Crumbles

A Ladies Luncheon


Cold Cucumber Soup

Vitello Tonnato

Cold Rice

Sliced Tomatoes and Herb Dressing

Peach Ice Cream

Hot Macaroons

The Wine: Either white or red with the veal-claret or California Zinfandel for the red; Pouilly-Fume for the white.

A Buffet Dinner


Low-Country Oysters with Mushrooms

Hot Baked Ham

Ring of Red Rice Filled with Green Peas

Escarole Salad with Roquefort Dressing

Hot Rolls

Pears in Orange Juice with Orange Liqueur

The Wine: Chablis has been called the "oyster wine", and it is good with the rest of this menu too.

A Seated Dinner


Curried Crab Soup

Savoury Roast Veal

Green Peas, French Style

Gratin of Potatoes

Meringues Glacees

The Wine: A vin rose, or a white Burgundy

(Images from Flair: Exquisite Invitations, Lush Flowers, and Gorgeous Table Settings by Joe Nye, Edmund Barr photographer)


  1. Jennifer - I love your combinations! It is so fun to dream up combinations like this. thanks, and keep your ideas coming!

  2. Great I just need the appropriately trained staff to pull these parties off. Thanks. Mary

  3. Thank you C'est Si Bon! Maybe I should quit dreaming about this and actually have a party soon!

  4. Mary- I need a chef to help me make the aspic ;)

  5. What a creative post; fun! I love the ladies luncheon table and would love to know what is in those goodie bags. I am sure it is something terrific.

  6. Oh glory - I am now totally starving - what a great menu plan for each one and the photo combos are absolute perfection!
    Well done again!

  7. Love your post! So excited to see the Vogue Book of Menus and the shout-out to Jessica Daves!! She is after all my great-great aunt and hales from the same small town in Georgia that I do. I have this book on my bookshelf and give it as a gift to my friends to inspire everyone to entertain more!!

    So great to see it here on one of my favorite blogs!

  8. Lindsey- So excited to hear that y'all are related! I had read that she was from Georgia and thought "wow!". An even bigger "wow!" now :)

  9. You are making me hungry! I adore old cookbooks. It is so fun to see what stays the same and what changes.

  10. Enchanting post. My parents did quite a bit of entertaining like that back in the '60s and it brings back memories.