I spent one gloriously lazy summer afternoon skimming the pages of the 1922 edition of Etiquette, and I emerged from my languid stupor fully resolved to resurrect Miss Emily Post’s delineations of debutantes, invitations and afternoon teas. It was quite simply, a most amusing undertaking, for a certain Miss with far too much time to accomplish far too little during the blissful weeks that follow semester finals. Behold dear reader, the fruits of a sugary and indulgent little endeavor, perhaps at home amongst Gatsby and Gershwin, delightfully fanciful, shamefully superfluous and sweetly celebratory of a lovely friend’s nineteenth birthday.Let them eat cake.
Regrettably, any form of entertaining coaxes forth a culinary conundrum, for the kitchen is most certainly not my domain. The solution is a “menu” that is simple and light yet surprisingly satisfying. Small details of presentation can be added with ease, from neatly cropped, crust-less sandwiches to delicate mint leaves suspended in ice cubes. An extra drizzle of chocolate or a flourish of frosting can take dessert from drab to decadent. And, for garnishes try raspberries, strawberries, mint leaves and cucumber slices.
Peanut butter with strawberry
preserves and classic watercress.
Fresh Fruit Skewers
Strawberries, melon and raspberries
from the garden.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Strawberries coated in sumptuous milk
chocolate with dark chocolate drizzle
Vanilla cupcakes with delicate pink
icing and a celebratory candle.
Fresh squeezed lemonade with
strawberry puree and seltzer
Classic black tea with cream
Make the table a rhapsody in pink and gold.
At each place setting…
1. Golden chargers and cutlery add a touch of metallic extravagance that is perfectly offset by gold rimmed white china.
2. Cake-like tiers of charger, plate, and saucer are crowned by a delicately patterned menu. In slightly more muted tones than the coordinating table runner, its print is accented by an art deco font and an airy accent bow.
3. Cream colored muslin napkins, hand embroidered with a light pink chain stitch and solitary blossom, are folded simply into triangles.
4. My grandmother’s antique tea cups, of prim and graceful design sit centered above each place setting.
5. A handmade gift bag in coral and cream hides three bags of black tea beneath a cheery burst of birthday themed tissue paper. I'm considering adding a batch to my line of paper goods at Natural Historie.
On the table…
1. The extra wide table runner is actually a roll of matte wrapping paper from Martha Stewart Crafts, durably thick, beautifully printed and fabulously affordable.
2. Tea lights, in tins painted gold and be-glittered by me, rest inside varied glass votives.
3. A garland of golden beads lays strewn about the table.
4. Stacked cake stands showcase delectable desserts, alongside white serving ware and a crystal decanter of bright berry lemonade.
Putting on the ritz.
Put the finishing touches on a lovely affair with decorative details.
1. Paper starbursts in varied sizes hang from fragile white thread amidst swirled swags of white crepe paper. Learn how to make paper starbursts at marthastewart.com.
2. Twenties tunes hum in the background, consider some of Gershwin’s works or selections from Fascinating Rhythm.
3. A “Happy Birthday” garland fashioned from hand cut cardstock rounds and coordinating stripped ribbon hangs festively across the dining room hutch. Letter templates can be found at marthastewart.com.
4. Painted gold and adorned with snippets of vintage charm, a simple little scrapbook is the perfect place to preserve memories and snapshots of a lovely afternoon. Natural Historie