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DUCK CROQUETTES WITH PEAS. POTATO PUFF.
CELERY SALAD. WAFERS.
INDIVIDUAL PLUM PUDDINGS.
Of course if plum pudding is necessary to the Christmas dinner it must be dispensed with here, but if this is the one meal of the holiday when the children of the family are present, these small lighted puddings will give the greatest delight; each one is to have a little spray of holly in the top and be sent to the table on fire; as the alcohol is destroyed in the blaze, there can be no objection to its use on this occasion.
After the final course a sleigh filled with candies may be brought in, with Santa Claus driving his team of reindeer, and this may be placed in state on one end of the table, or, if the little tree is not to be had for the central decoration, this toy may take its place, and stand in the centre all through the meal.
Sometimes one wishes to give a formal luncheon for guests who are spending the Christmas holidays in the house; the ideas suggested for the tree, the presents, the nonsense jingles, and the holly may all be used with perfect appropriateness, even if this comes either before or after the twenty-fifth. A Christmas luncheon speaks for itself, whenever it is given. For this you will need a rather elaborate
WHOLE PINEAPPLE FILLED WITH FRUITS.
CLAM BISQUE. HOT CRACKERS.
WHITEBAIT. BROWN BREAD AND BUTTER.
BOILED CHICKEN. OYSTER SAUCE.
ORANGE SHERBET IN HOLLY BOXES.
TONGUE SALAD. OLIVE SANDWICHES.
INDIVIDUAL PLUM PUDDINGS.
Pineapple is in market all the year around in our cities, and at a price which varies little from the one in summer; if, however, the fruit is not to be had, serve whole bananas chilled, each one lying on its side on a plate with a strip of skin removed, and lemon juice and powdered sugar over it; it is to be eaten as bananas usually are now, with a spoon.
The whitebait is a peculiarly delicious fish, and not an expensive one, for as it is very light, a pound will go a long way; it is sprinkled with flour and fried in a wire basket in deep fat and served with a bit of lemon and thin strips of brown bread. Smelts or small pan fish may be substituted for it, if it is not in one's market. Only the white meat of the chicken is to be used on the table in the next course, with a white sauce with oysters in it. The tongue salad is made by cutting canned lunch tongue into small pieces, covering with French dressing for an hour and laying on lettuce with mayonnaise over it; the sandwiches passed with this are made of chopped olives and a little mayonnaise on thin bread and butter. An ice cream may be used in the place of the puddings if they are not fancied, and the caterer can furnish small figures of Santa Claus in coloured creams which are very attractive.
In December there should be snow on the ground, whether there is or not; certainly except on the sea-coast there is apt to be. A luncheon all in white is appropriate in winter in any case, but if your guests can look out on a white landscape, so much the better. This meal might precede a sleighing or skating party; as one skates in the city on artificial ice oftener than on that which forms naturally, this luncheon may be served, whatever the weather, for a party of skaters.
A SNOW LUNCHEON
Lay the table all in white, with doilies and lace centrepiece, and white, unshaded candles, whose glow will save the table from looking cold. Have your flowers white carnations with just a touch of green among them, and your bonbons and crystallised fruits white also. The radishes are to be peeled, all but the least bit, and mixed with celery hearts in a long glass dish, or served by themselves, as you fancy. The mousse may be in white sugar cases, if you prefer these rather than the melon mould.
CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP.
TIMBALES OF COD. OYSTER SAUCE.
BEEFSTEAK a LA STANLEY. CREAMED POTATOES.
CELERY SALAD. White Mayonnaise.
WHIPPED CREAM MOUSSE. SNOWBALL CAKES.
COFFEE WITH WHIPPED CREAM.
The beefsteak a la Stanley, said to have been invented by the African discoverer, is an odd dish for luncheon, but it is extremely good, although one who has never eaten it would not be inclined to think so; if served in small pieces is not too heavy for a winter's luncheon.
A thick, tender sirloin steak is broiled and laid on a hot platter on a bed of horse-radish sauce made with the grated root, cream, and white bread crumbs; a layer of fried bananas is put on the meat after it has been seasoned, and over all, a thin layer of the sauce; the root is then grated on top to look like long white ribbons, and the dish is served hot. Of course for a luncheon the steak must be cut in strips before the sauce is put on, or it will be a difficult matter to prevent its becoming mussy in cutting, but if the plates are prepared in the kitchen, the matter will be simple enough. To one who has never attempted this dish a suggestion might be given,--do not condemn it untried. The mousse is simply whipped cream which has been sweetened, flavoured with sherry, filled with candied fruit and nuts cut in small bits, and packed in a melon mould with ice and salt for four or five hours; it should be served on a bed of whipped cream. The snow-ball cakes have been suggested before; they are very pretty with this luncheon.
As this menu is heartier than usual, no sherbet is given, for presumably there is enough to eat without it; if, however, just because it is hearty it is thought necessary to introduce a course of ice to refresh after the meat, an apricot ice made from canned fruit may be added.
AN ANNOUNCEMENT LUNCHEON
In announcing the engagement of a friend it is customary to do so with her permission at a luncheon given to her most intimate friends; she should indeed make up the list with the hostess, limiting it to those who are entitled to hear the news directly. Of course if there are only a few, the luncheon should be an informal one, but if larger, the decorations and menu must be more elaborate.
If none of those present have been entertained at a Valentine luncheon on the order of the one already suggested, that may be followed almost exactly, as everything except the dove over the table is quite as appropriate for this meal as for that; if the guests are the same, then the decorations are to be altered more or less.
Lay the table with lace doilies over pink silk; have several vases of pink roses on the table, and have all the sandwiches, cakes, and ices in heart shapes. Use arrows of stiff silver paper in the ices. Give heart-shaped boxes filled with heart-shaped candies to the guests, unless you care to invest in pretty little stick-pins with gold or silver, or coloured enamel hearts on the end.
An appetising menu would be:--
OYSTERS ON THE HALF-SHELL.
FILLET OF FLOUNDER. SAUCE TARTARE.
CHICKEN LIVERS ON SKEWERS.
FILLET OF BEEF, SLICED, WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE.
FROZEN FRUIT IN CANDY FLOWERS.
DEVILLED EGGS ON CHICCORY. MAYONNAISE.
ICE-CREAM HEARTS. CAKES.
The chicken livers are prepared by putting good-sized pieces of cooked livers on rather small wooden or silver skewers, alternating them with bits of thin bacon, putting them when ready in the frying-pan, and turning them till brown, and serving on toast with lemon. They are what is called _en brochette_ in cook-books, a formidable name for a simple dish. Fillet of beef is really a dinner dish, yet it is seen not unfrequently at luncheons, sliced in the kitchen and put on the plates with a spoonful of mushroom sauce. The frozen fruit has been already given,--a mixture of sliced oranges and bananas with a foamy sauce poured over; it is served in sherbet cups, or in candy flowers.