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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Entertaining With Elegance "G"

We are long over due some glimpses of how it was done in the day and there are some sadly out dated customs to found under "G"
Among others are....
"The conventional gift for hostesses, and still the best, is flowers. It is more thoughtful to have them delivered on the morning of the party rather than the next day....A weekend hostess has the right to expect a gift from each guest. These are delivered in person on arrival and promptly opened so she can express her delight and thanks on the spot."
Some suggestions from Genevieve are chocolates, an amusing game to enhance and contribute to everyone's pleasure or a rare delicacy such as a whole tinned foie gras or a magnum of champagne or an entertaining book.
" The same type of gift is suitable when a house-guest arrives to be entertained for a longer period but in this case the guest should send a somewhat more important gift after returning home."

Hmmm, I've known friends of mine to entertain many house-guests. They tend to buy a bottle of wine as a thank you and then proceed to drink it before departure! I do like to send a hand written note of thanks to a hostess after a dinner party and I have taken flowers and chocolates but I do like the idea of sending flowers, it adds a sense of excitement. It also avoids the busy hostess having to find something appropriate to put flowers in as guests are arriving. What are your thoughts? Personally I think a magnum of champagne would be appropriate for any occasion and circumstance, except perhaps a funeral.

Guest Rooms...
"An ideal guest room is private and has it's own adjoining or nearby bathroom...A guest room affords you a marvelous opportunity to exercise your talents as an interior decorator....Above all you should avoid letting the guest room become a sort of catch-all for cast-off furniture, ugle wedding gifts, broken bric-a-brac and out of season clothing..."
(Sound familiar?)
The article goes on to detail the necessary equipage but here are some gems;
"On the writing table: an ashtray (!), an assortment of picture postcards of the region, a supply of writing paper and a box of stamps...."
"On the dressing table: a hand mirror, brush and comb. A vase of flowers. All drawers lined with paper and in the top drawer, a miniature sewing kit, a packet of safety pins, a clothes-brush and a shoe shine kit (remember when people shined shoes). In the bottom drawer; a pair of freshly laundered nylon pyjamas and a nylon nightdress for unexpected overnight guests..."
and so on...until we get to...
"In the Bathroom: a capacious Turkish toweling peignoir for each house-guest. (Love it)..." and the list goes on and on and on "Nail-polish remover, sticking plasters, antiseptic, cologne...." and on and on....

I'm a bit mystified as to why specifically nylon for the night attire and I adore the notion of "Turkish toweling peignoirs" but I think most of us have the spare room which does resemble the catch-all described above that is hastily shoved away to accommodate guests.
But as per the book title...
This is "Elegant Entertaining" 
I know a lot of people lament that as a whole there is a great lack of manners in society now days but reading this book it occurs to me that we totally lack any grace and graciousness anymore. I am not knocking "casual" as a mode but I wonder have we entirely dropped the bundle and let everything slip into the casual mode? Do we still recognise time, place and occasion?


  1. A few years ago, a few of my friends had a weekend together at a lovely house on the west Tamar. A friend who couldn't be there had loaned the house. One of the touches I remember was the bubble bath with a note saying "please enjoy".
    I think little touches can make guests feel very welcome.

  2. What happened to the good old days...i, too, feel the desire and urge to keep them alive...there is always a book/ magazines on the bedside table in my guest room...and as for the towels and the special soap ..always rolled up and placed on the end of the bed...aaaawww the good old days...
    PS... i have a huge bundle of suitable bits of materials for your growers market bunting making.. "himself" will deliver it to you there Saturday.


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