Monday, May 10, 2010

1944 Good Housekeeping Cookbook - A Quiz

No Meatless Monday recipe for today because....

We're on the road again.
Just can't wait to get of the road again.

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends.
Insisting that the world keep turning our way

Okay, I'll stop. I promise. (I must be channeling Willie again. I hate it when this happens. Next thing I know I'm wanting to grow my hair long, pick up a guitar, stop paying my taxes, and start smoking pot. Hmmmm....why does that not sound so bad.) But, we are on the road.

Since, I started this post on Friday I'm going to guess that we are somewhere near El Paso, TX. Not a real hot spot of beauty and culture but it could be worse. I'll have my iTouch filled with books on tape and my watercolors at the ready. Believe it or not I can paint in the car. Vehicle abstracts are wonderful. They just have a certain driving energy to them. (Hahahaha, driving energy, Get it? Driving? Energy? HA! I crack myself up)

I'm sure you are asking yourself; "self, if Michele isn't posting a recipe, what in the world will she do for Monday's food post." I've been asking myself that same question. Here's what I've come up with......a quiz. A food quiz.

A pop quiz!
Oh joy!

Don't get nervous because you didn't study for this quiz. This is just for fun. It's true or false so you have at least a 50/50 chance of getting the right answer. And, your score will go up considerably if you are up on your 1940s meal serving rules.

Grab your #2 pencil. Ready?

  1. When setting the table for a formal dinner party the table cloth should overhang the table by 10" to 14". True or False?
  2. Dinner napkins should be placed to the left of the forks so that the lower right hand corner is the open corner . True or False?
  3. At a formal dinner party candlesticks should be silver or crystal only with white candles. True or False?
  4. When designing a centerpiece for an informal dinner or luncheon the size and shape should be in relation and proportion to the table. It should be in a low bowl and be appropriately casual in nature, such as; flowers from your garden or fruits and vegetables of pleasing shapes and colors. This is the time to use your imagination and good taste. True or False.
  5. 18" is the correct distance between the centers of adjacent plates.
  6. When training your maid it is best if you provide written instructions, have practice sessions and making sure she is familiar with Setting the Table, Basic Rules for Serving, and Routine of Service. True or False?

Answers are provided below.

1. False. The answer is that the cloth should hang between 15 to 18 inches. Not 14". And definitely not 19" Do you think there was table cloth police in the 1940s? Do you think that terribly correct diners slyly measure the cloth then proceed to look down on you because yours was too short?

2. True. Obviously, the thought process here is that if the napkin is right next to the forks you would pick it up first then work your way in. A hint that maybe you wouldn't put your napkin in your lap if it wasn't handy. Talk about lowering the expectations.

3. True. Colors will not be tolerated. I believe that the table cloth police are also responsible for upholding the white candles only dictate.

4. True. I'm not exactly sure what you do if you don't have imagination and good taste. There are those of us with lots of imagination and really bad taste. Think of all the avocado kitchens in the 70s. What rates as appropriately casual and what is inappropriately casual when it comes to fruits and vegetables? Which fruit is the most formal?

5. False. 20" is the best distance be between centers of adjacent plates. You are bound to have that one guest who puts her elbows on the table and leans over far enough to get food on the front of her shirt. What? I can't be the only one.

6. True. According to my 1944 Good Housekeeping Cook Book it is imperative that a guest not be served last, that water glasses only be filled 3/4 full, that the finger bowls should be filled 2/3 full with lukewarm water, and that the maid never ever touch the guests. I don't even want to think about what kind of damage a poorly trained maid might do.

How did you do?



  1. I failed miserably. Have a safe trip. Cheers Michele!!

  2. I'll leave all those details to my maid. Some day, when I have one. You paint in the car??? Cool!
    If youn start wearing braids with a band across your forehead you should seek an intervention.

  3. I thought I'd do better, but apparently I'm no Martha Stewart. Or not a 1944 Good Housekeeping gal. ;) I love reading stuff like that in old cookbooks - quite entertaining! :)

    I'm with Maureen - you paint in the car? You're my hero. I can't do anything in the car or I get carsick. Bet you can create lots of cool paintings with all that driving energy! ;)

  4. Formal fruit? I have no idea; I'd just fill the damn thing up with bananas and cucumbers and hope my guest spent the evening snickering like adolescent boys all evening, too.

  5. I stunk! Good thing I don't entertain often!

  6. I cheated...cuz I was raised by wolves apparently. Sometimes I wish we still did things the 'right' way but most times I'm so happy to not. Loved this post!

  7. Being I wasnt even a thought to be had in 1944 am I allowed to fail this one??
    Enjoyed the "lesson" tho!!

  8. Wait, where do I sign up for a maid to train?

    I wouldn't mind smoking what Willie's smoking either..