Catering for Special Occasions - 1911

Catering for Special Occasions - 1911

Catering for Special Occasions
By Fannie Merritt Farmer
Author of “The Boston Cooking School Cook Book”
Illustrated with Half Tone Engravings of Set Tables
Decorations by Albert D. Blashfield
Philadelphia: David McKay, Publisher
South Washington Square
Copyright 1911 by David McKay
Synopsis: Appropriate menus for New Year, Valentine’s day, Washington’s birthday, St. Patrick’s day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and for wedding receptions, birthday and children’s parties. Table decorations are pictured.

From the A.L.A. Booklist

The “special occasions” are New Year’s afternoon teas, St Valentine’s, Hallowe’en, Fourth of July and Washington’s birthday spreads, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, wedding receptions, children’s parties, and birthday feasting.

The menus are not all well composed, and familiar dishes masquerade under unfamiliar names, but the recipes are so detailed as to be easily followed by the average housewife, and seven halftone illustrations showing tables set simply and elaborately are a helpful feature.

The marginal drawings, covering a third of each page, could well have been spared in favor of photographs of some of the dishes.

A Foreword

Americans of today are accused, somewhat unjustly, it seems to me, of being inhospitable. Because we do not, in the manner of a generation or two ago, lay aside all our duties at the visit of friends and welcome them ungrudgingly to our ordinary meal we expose ourselves to this charge; but, in truth, it is a higher conception of hospitality that has brought about this change.

In these days of rapid transit, by sea as well as by land, the markets of the world are brought almost to our very doors, and we have a hundred combinations to our grandmother's one. We, therefore, receive our guests more formally; we make preparations for their coming, and take pleasure in giving them a meal which shall vary from the humdrum order of culinary production.

The fashion in entertaining, as in so many other things, has changed, and consciously or unconsciously we conform to the new standards. And why, on the whole, is not the new hospitality more satisfying, both to the host and guest, than the old?

It seems to me that housekeepers are enjoying as never before the days set apart for their friends, and have learned to appreciate the saying of Brillat-Savarin, "He who receives friends, without himself bestowing some pains upon the repast prepared for them, does not deserve to have friends."

And certainly there is none of us so regardless of the delights of the table that he does not respond to the warming influences of a meal prepared by a thoughtful hostess as a tribute to him as a guest.

The difficulty for the housekeeper lies in the selection of an appropriate menu. This little book is intended to meet this difficulty. May it be a help to many!

Let me ask you to remember that all the recipes have been thoroughly tested, and not found wanting. You should have in mind, too, that in all these rules of mine the measurements are made level. Measuring cups, divided into thirds and quarters, are used; also tea and tablespoons.

With these words let me leave you to the enjoyment of the new hospitality!

Fannie Merritt Farmer


  • New Year's Afternoon Teas
  • St. Valentine's Spreads
  • Wash1ngton's Birthday Spreads
  • St. Patrick's Day Luncheons
  • Easter Dinners
  • Fourth of July Spreads
  • Hallowe'en Spreads
  • Thanksgiving D1nners
  • Chr1stmas Dinners
  • Wedd1ng Receptions
  • Birthday Feasting
  • Children's Parties


  • An Afternoon Tea Table
  • Table Laid for St. Valentine’s Spread
  • A St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon
  • An Easter Dinner Table
  • Fourth of July Reception Table
  • A Thanksgiving Dinner Table
  • A Christmas Dinner Table
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