Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Entertaining with Charlotte Ford
I love to read old articles on hostesses and their styles of entertaining. Sometimes, I glean practical tips, while other times, the sheer elaborateness of their dinners and parties provides me with moments of escapism. Try as we might, duplicating some of these old parties often requires the patience of Job and a bank account worthy of Croesus.
One hostess who seems refreshingly practical is Charlotte Ford. I found this article about her in a 1977 issue of House Beautiful, and at the time the article was published, Ford was a busy working woman designing a line of clothing. With her hectic workday schedule, Ford admitted that she was only able to entertain about once a month. Taking a more casual (for that time) approach to entertaining, Ford eschewed long, laborious dinner parties of numerous courses. Instead, she said that she preferred to serve an appetizer, an entree of turkey (according to Ford, men particularly seemed to love turkey) and a vegetable, and, to end the meal, either a salad and cheese or dessert.
What especially caught my eye were Ford's lovely dining tables. Preferring to set two round tables for six, Ford laid her table with French-made china designed especially for the Ford family, Baccarat crystal, and those lovely Porthault embroidered mats and napkins. I think Ford's table linens are my favorite part of the entire article. You'll also notice the little cigarette holders, an accessory that, at that time, were practically a requirement on well-set tables.
Times may have changed, but a beautifully set table never goes out of style!