We should’ve kept this practice.
As far back as Medieval England, households (which meant, ergo, wives) kept track of their entertaining records. Who liked what dish? Who disliked whom? What was served over the long stay? Who should sleep in what room, for assigning wait staff and for assignations? It’s not like people just stopped by, although in town, people were more likely to share a meal, unless they were simply calling and leaving their card (another decent practice). They were staying for days…weeks…maybe a season. (Breathe.)
You would have years and years of records. This seems intimidating. How would I keep track of which journal held the favorite “receipt,” an old word for our current recipe? Some clever soul came up with the tabbed page and earned eternal gratitude. Later, people published helpful periodicals, providing helpful hints and new recipes.
I like this idea. Why didn’t I start with my early household?
I would, now, have detailed notes: my mom likes Arnold Palmers (she stopped drinking diet pop four years ago…or something like that). Jeff does not eat onions. Lloyd is not a great fan of garlic and does not appreciate ethnic cuisine. My dad, toward the end of his life, could not eat dark greens because of Coumadin.
Entertainments were also recorded. Who likes long walks? Who needs a shopping trip? Are there people who are best not combined? Write it down. Keep track.
Today, I took my weekend menu to Meijers and thought about my plans, pushing my cart, talking to Bill on my cell, sounding crabby, but I wasn’t. I was just thinking it all through.
It’s not exotic, but neither are my guests. Here it is:
Dinner with Mom, Arny, the Hines (friends they have met), Anne home (my daughter, working at camp this summer). Pizza, salad, fruit (contributed by Julie Hine), lemon sherbet. Light Tiki torches and bonfire. Tiger’s game – get out “D” peanuts and spiced gum drops.
Cereal, yogurt, English muffins.
Chicken salad on oatmeal bread.
Sanders Candy Factory Tour or Eastern Market. Call for tour times. (Mom & Arny prefer the chocolate…didn’t want to do a historical farm or train exhibit. Hm.) Holly coming (oldest daughter – staying through Sunday).
Teriyaki pork chops, thai slaw salad, corn bread. Make those brownies in muffin cups and serve w/ ice cream. Tigers are on, again, thank God. Girls will eventually get bored and bail, sequestering themselves in basement.
Pray. Make buttermilk pancakes (you have leftover buttermilk). Church? Hopefully, everyone will get up late enough you don’t have make lunch, too. (See Sunday Afternoon: beans.)
Sunday Late Afternoon:
Start pinto beans early. You’re making chicken fajitas. Herd everyone around for Millpond Concert downtown….you should be there by 6:30p. Take folding chairs and waters. Drop mom off somewhere nearby, so she doesn’t have to walk far. How to pick her up? Ask Bill.
Back to yogurts and cereals. You have an 11am meeting at U-M. See guests out by 9:45am. Remember, you will miss them all more after they’ve been gone a while.
Above, you’ll see some lovely lady’s pie crust receipt. Such meticulous hand-written records – there’s a tremendous amount of care written there. Try writing it down.