By Curator Sharie Mooney Prout; from Trail End Notes, November 2010
HAVE YOU EVER wanted to give your special holiday dinners “just a little something extra” in the way you arrange the food? In today’s cooking and home decorating magazines, one can find articles and photos about doing this, and the same was true in Eula Kendrick’s time. People have always wanted to present fun, attractive meals to their guests!
In Mrs. Kendrick’s personal, hand-written cookbook, she devoted entire sections to giving details for the myriad of ways food could be creatively presented, complete with a sketch next to each entry. She doesn’t always say where the idea came from - it could have been from a luncheon she'd attended, a magazine or her own imagination.
The following are some of those ideas:
Tomato Salad with Crabmeat
Dill Pickle Sandwich
Cucumbers & Radishes
This dish was served at a 1930 White House dinner. It was part of the second course which also included “fried white fish planked with browned mashed potatoes put through pastry bag”):
Mrs. Kendrick herself admitted that she did not like to cook and wasn’t very good at it, but the entries into her cookbook show that the artistic side of her was definitely drawn to food presentation.
The saying is just as true today as it was then - it’s all about the presentation! Maybe you’ll keep some of these ideas in mind the next time you want to dress up your meal and impress your guests.
Detail from Needlecraft Magazine, 1920 (Georgen Collection, TESHS)
State Historic Site