13-3. Ladies Bridge Lunch: “Bridge! What to Serve”

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That chapter was added to the Universal Cookbook by its editor–Mary Jane Quinlan–back in 1937  because by then contract bridge as part of entertaining had boomed and could not be ignored. She created a new edition the cheap and easy way–by adding a supplement at the back and then noting the addition on the title page.

And she added a sub-title to the supplement: “Menus and Suggestions for Luncheon Bridges, Tea Bridges and Dinner Bridges.”

In text that would give a serious bridge player fits, she says that at bridge parties, “A matter as important as how to play. . . is what to serve.” And she goes on to describe the atmosphere at a social bridge party (so different from silent serious bridge) as “informal, pleasant and easy” with guests keeping themselves amused playing cards and converstion “general and unconstrained.”

The key of course to a relaxed hostess throwing a bridge party is menus that can be made ahead and need little attention from the hostess. In earlier cookbooks, the existence of servants was acknowledged and at least one said, that one could not be expected to throw a party of more than eight without servant help. The stock market crash in 1929 was the beginning of the end of the servant era.

Comments Quinlan,  “Any woman, even if she must do all of her work without the help of servants, can gain the reputation of charming hospitality if she will plan her refreshments in advance  . . . ” and that added chapter on bridge parties will tell readers how to do that.

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