The Hostess with the mostest!

I actually love being a hostess. Who’ll be in charge of drinks: Me please! Who’ll make sure there’s napkins and cutlery: Me! Me! I love it. Everything organised, nobody desperately seeking brown sugar for the coffee. Don’t drink coffee? Here’s a selection of teas…
Despite all this my sister recently gave me this book.

I think maybe because she knew I’d appreciate the outdated party games and canape selections that the pages gaudily boast.

It’s written by a lady called Ethelind Fearon. And before you ask, Yes; The same Ethelind Fearon that wrote The Reluctant Gardener and The Reluctant Cook. The basic tone of the book is dictated in the first paragraph:

A party stands or falls by the excellence of its drinks.

So despite having written this in 1954 Ethelind is spot on there. She has a chapter on Cocktails, Cocktail Accompaniments, Drinks and Ghastly Games (her words, not mine).
She starts the Ghastly Games chapter:
Having got the people to your party you must do something with them. Circulate a cocktail or two in a softening-up process…
Then:
I have known parties which needed soot, biscuits, a carving knife, two candlesticks and two night dresses, a top hat, a pack of cards, lipstick, a bowl of flour, 6 empty matchboxes…
And she goes on listing stuff like that for ages. Ethelind?! What kind of party is that? And can I go?

In her Drinks chapter she says:
I recommend bitter beer because- well, try it and see. I specify British Sherry because its alcoholic content is greater in ratio to its price than any other beverage except home distilled brandy.

In her closing chapter she has encouraging words for the reluctant hostess:
Entertaining… you can’t dodge it, so you’d better immerse yourself thoroughly and go for it in a big way. Spare the gin and you’ll spoil the party.

Party on Ethelind.

Lilly x

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10 Responses to The Hostess with the mostest!

  1. mise says:

    I’m already packing my top hat and flour for your next party, Lilly. Shall I bring sherry too or do you have plenty yourself? Is Ethelind still alive, I wonder, and would she tackle ‘The Reluctant Blogger’?

  2. Bring sherry just incase! Ha! The reluctant Blogger, that was me tonight!x

  3. KarenG says:

    Those books are so charming. What a look back to another era! I’ve got a cook book published in the early 1900’s and I love to look through it just to see the huge cultural differences between kitchens then and now.

  4. Maeve says:

    Gas! She’s like some sort of wild Mrs Beeton!

  5. Tracy says:

    I wish I had that book! I love putting on my apron and making sure that everything is “just so”. :)

  6. Tillie says:

    OH MY GOSH! What an incredible book! I am like you and LOOOOOOVE hosting parties, Oh goodness, I want a copy of that book! Oh oh oh!!

    <3 Tillie xo

  7. Lemon says:

    that book is charming!!
    every page i found myself smiling at.

  8. thats just hilarious! refreshing for such an old household book to be so cheeky, love it! s x

  9. Michelle says:

    Love the look of that book. We sound so alike :o) I am always collecting them sort of books from charity shops and car boots – some of them are totally hilarious to read but at the same time they also have great tips. The old ones are always the best :o) Thanks for your lovely comment on the etchings. I love them so much and have printed a whole batch. Great minds think alike as my plan is to print them on cards .. I’m doing a series of them – baking/knitting/sewing etc etc one for all my hobbies lol x

  10. Yay! I’m glad ye liked it and I’m not the only one that loves the hassle of hostessing!x

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