Michaelmas daisies and bronze chrysanthemums

One of my favourite old cookery books, which is anonymous so may well have been a collection of recipes amalgamated by the publishers from a number of their publications is Modern Practical Cookery. which first appeared in 1934.

Towards the end of the book of over seven hundred pages is a section on suggested monthly menus for dinner parties. It comes after sandwiches and before beverages and each menu has four courses, plus vegetables, sauces etc and also a suggestion for a table decoration, which I think is quite charming. The dishes are all quite practical and enough for six people, and all the ingredients are seasonal – no freezers in those days, and few people had refrigerators in their homes.

The menu for November is:

beef olives
mashed potatoes and peas
ginger trifle
savoury aigrettes

Oysters may seem a luxury to us, especially fresh British ones, but in the past they were more common – and in fact in the nineteenth and earlier centuries they were a mainstay of very poor people’s diet.

The table decoration sounds beautiful:

Mauve Michaelmas daisies with bronze chrysanthemums make a glad array, glowing with the wonderful rich tones of an autumn day – and giving a suggestion of the cosiness within.



    1. Lois

      I definitely think it would – we have both kids at home at the moment so meals are somewhat different… but when they depart, then I’m going to really try to follow the year! How’s Florence?


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