Knit Picky: In The Spirit Of <a href="http://">Ms. McYarnpants</a>

"properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit...
 and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either."
~elizabeth zimmerman

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

In The Spirit Of Ms. McYarnpants

This post is practically non-knitting-related (although I can't say the same about snark content). If you stick with me, though, I promise some sort of knitting content. Sort of. I'll get to it eventually. I do think it'll be entertaining nonetheless. {Note: you can click on any of the pictures for larger images}

On Saturday my mother gave me this fabulous book, circa 1969.

BHG cover

The title is a little cut off, but it's the Better Homes & Gardens Guide to Entertaining. It was my grandmother's, and she was probably deadly serious about it in 1969 and the early '70s. She was an uber-hostess. Can you see the fabulous '60s decorated home on the cover there? Ah, those were the days...

Who is this book geared toward, you might ask. Well, the thoughtful editors of BH&G address that in the introduction to the book.

Who wants or needs a book about entertaining? The hostess who believes that she must show consideration for her guests--the hostess who accepts that the guest's enjoyment is more important than her own--the one who wants her family and friends and her husband's business acquaintances to accept her as a thoughtful, considerate, imaginative hostess--she is the one who wants a guide to entertaining.

Ah. Thank you. Now, moving right along...

This guide is chock-full of useful information such as: Planning A Party, Party Themes, Special Situation Entertaining, Entertaining Etiquette and Party Games. Full of gastronomic wonders, decorating tips, classy homes, and hints for keeping guests occupied (not to give too much away, but how about a game of miniature ten-pin bowling?), BH&G's Guide to Entertaining is clearly a jewel among books of its type.

While the section on table settings--replete with diagrams for food placement--are interesting, it is the centerpieces and party foods that have captured my imagination and interest.


Let's start with food, shall we? First up is a very heart-healthy option. Cake with 7 lbs. of butter as a garnish.

Heart Healthy Eating

Hmm, maybe the cake is the garnish for the bowl of butter balls?


Next we have this...thing that I like to call WTF?? EWWWW!!


Let's deconstruct this one, 'kay? It seems to consist of some kind of creamed meat in the shape of a bundt cake. Inside are huge quantities of peas and the occasional mushroom. And the piece de resistance appears to be apricot halves and parsley. Dig in!


On to decorating.

I call this little lovely Hair, Ham & Horror.

Hair Ham & Horror

The horror could refer to the hair or the ham, couldn't it? Our hostess, little Mrs. Happy Housewife, has quite the bouffant 'do there, doesn't she? And check out the goodies on offer: a very fatty looking ham, green jello with what appear to be halves of apples or possibly cucumbers floating around in there. [I understand that this is de rigeur in parts of the Midwest, but I'm sorry--I'm a California girl through and through, and it is just wrong to put vegetables inside of jello.] It also looks like Waldorf Salad, and possibly a cheeseball in the background, there. Ooh, and who wouldn't love 3' cubes with fake candles in them hanging from the ceiling of their faux sports-lodge home? Do you think she has deer antlers on the wall somewhere? Yeah, me too.


But wait! There's more!

This one actually isn't too horrible. Except for the centerpiece of plumbing fixtures, that is.

Decorating with plumbing

Don't you think the caption just about says it all? The unique and daring, indeed...


This photo appears in the section 'Special Situation Entertaining'. How better to subdivide for a dinner party in a small home than to put up giant chartreuse drapes on a track?

Groovy digs

By the way, I think that the artist who did that painting went on to great things, don't you? What an eye!


I think that this is one of my favorites. I call it: As If Clowns Aren't Scary Enough

BH&G recommends creating novel and unique centerpieces to set yourself apart from all the other inconsiderate hostesses out there. I guess these would be the women who don't give a damn what their husbands' business acquaintances think of them. These stellar women can take 'variety store circus figures', carnations, plastic shavings, food coloring and shaving cream and create this bit of fabulosity:

As if clowns aren't scary enough


Tired of Boy or Girl Scouts hounding you to buy things from them? Just run them over with a steamroller, and they make simply charming table decorations.

Decorating with flat children


And finally, the quasi-knitting content. Look at what an entrepreneurial woman can do with a swift, some yarn, and some candles.

swift decorating

If I see this at the next party I go to, I'll know where it came from!


Well, that's it for our trip through entertaining in 1969. Thanks for joining me. Maybe some day I'll relay some of the truly amazing recipes in my treasured book. Something like Water Chestnuts With Chicken Livers, or Beet-Herring Salad. Mmm-mmm.

posted by Stephanie at 2:38 PM


  • just realized that your comments are on top... silly me! I posted the comment for this entry on the one below... so I will post the entry for the one below here.

    I love Patons yarn, and they actually have things that are not synthetic. Their Classic Merino is great to work with, and is 100% merino, and I hear (I have not tried it YET) that it felts like a dream... just FYI! :)

    Have a lovely weekend!

    By Blogger Lauren, at 7:23 PM  

  • Hey, thanks for visiting my blog (Unravel Me), and I'm glad that I'm not the only one who's had fits with the Bernat Boa!

    I think I'm going to add a link to your blog from my blog. Just wanted to let you know!

    By Blogger unravelme, at 1:32 PM  

  • Good JOb! :)

    By Anonymous telefonsex regional, at 4:15 AM  

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