Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1887

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
1693
MEALS: THEIR IMPORTANCE AND ARRANGEMENT

addition to the bread and butter and cake so generally found; but where a substantial supper is to follow the tea the latter would be of a very light description and should be served as early as 5 to 6 o'clock.

BALL, GUEST AND FAMILY SUPPERS

As a rule, ball—suppers with the exception of the soup, which should be white or clear—are cold ones, consisting of mayonnaises, game, poultry, pies, pasties, galantines, salads, creams, jellies and other sweets, with plenty of fresh fruit according to the season of the year. They may be served at a buffet or at a table, or tables, where every one can sit down, but the viands are the same, and it is an essential thing that a ball supper should be prettily and daintily laid. The dishes, being all put upon the table, require more grnishing than they would if served at dinner, and a great deal of taste may be displayed in the arrangement of a supper. Colours should be prettily contrasted; all savoury dishes should be made to look as tasteful as possible with their various glazings, aspic jelly, fancy skewers, and plenty of green should give relief to the colour.

Guest Suppers are, as a rule, cold ones, only varied by an occasional dish of cutlets, scalloped oysters, or fried fish. Fish being food of a light character, is very suitable for light suppers, but heavy foods are better avoided. In summer, mayonnaises of fish, rissoles of chicken, cold poultry, salads, and a few sweets may form the basis of a guest supper, and in winter, soups, cutlets, small birds and salmis of various kinds will be found acceptable and not difficult of digestion.

Family Suppers. At these, food of a light description should be served, and to make these meals enjoyable, the dishes should be as varied as possible. Fish re-dressed in the form of mayonnaises, croquettes, or pies, can easily be made into a good supper dish; the remains of poultry or game hashed make a tempting and savoury one where hot dishes are liked, and all kinds of odds and ends can, with a little ingenuity, be utilised to form more appetising food at supper time than perpetual cold meat. Salad or cucumber should not be wanting at the family meal in summer, when such things are plentiful and cheap, while in winter a few cold potatoes fried make a nice addition, or a well-made potato salad. As with breakfast dishes, those for supper are more a question of trouble and time than cost; but food that we can enjoy instead of food for which we have no relish has such a material difference of effect upon our system. We may conclude our observations on the last meal of the day by a word of advice to the housewife, to have it, as far as lies in her power, suited to the taste of all.

There is a prejudice against suppers for children, and many little ones go hungry to bed, particularly in summer, when they may have been running in a garden since their early tea. A very light supper of cake or bread and butter with milk or lemonade, according to taste