I doubt the ACBL Communications Director will ever descend to adding the menus of ladies bridge lunch to its quiver of bridge-promoting topics. At least not in my lifetime. But for the purpose of this blog I’m going to assume a return of the mid-day ladies-only bridge club amongst women who work out of their homes. Such busy women can simplify their bridge lunch enteretaining by doing what us old ladies have been doing for a couple decades–tell guests to bring a bag lunch and you’ll provide beverages–alcoholic or not as your club’s culture requires..
Or–next step up–make it part of your bridge club ritual that each player brings a couple of sandwiches cut up into the traditional squares and oblongs and triangles of “tea sandwiches” plus some finger food sweets like candy, or cookies or tiny cream puffs. A pot-luck bridge so to speak. That would produce a varied menu of finger foods that approximate the traditional ladies bridge lunch menus of old. Did you know Bridge Mix is still available in supermarket candy sections?
Or meet at a restaurant. Economic times being what they are, many restaurants these days are quite willing to set aside a room each month for bridge and a restaurant lunch. I have a long article in my files some place about an upscale restaurant in Texas that hosts several such bridge luncheons of various sizes each month. If you have a place near you like that, who knows, you might even get to meet other mid-day bridge players to add to your group or serve as substitutes.
If the restaurant adds a service charge to the individual luncheon checks–that’s fine. It outwits the cheapskate who doesn’t tip. Typically, start playing at 10, order lunch before crowd descends to make it easier for the restaurant, and continue afterwards to 2 or so. Our 3-table bridge group plays at Appleby’s–they just happen to have a little niche the right size, out of restaurant traffic. So chain restaurants are fair targets to ask if they’d host your group.
But if you’re young/younger–it’s not all that difficult to put together a traditional ladies lunch of typical creamy-somethings on toast, Jell-O salads, tea sandwiches, etc. If you serve lunch at bridge tables, have lunch first. If you have a separate dining room adequate to the number present–start with bridge and then move to dining room for lunch, back to tables for coffee and dessert.
Less formally, and my favorite–set out finger foods of all types and beverages for a serve-yourself-buffet. Nibble and graze simultaneously with b ridge. There’s nothing more fun than a foursomne or eight-some sociable bridge game, with or without alcohol as you prefer, snacking and playing.
Everyone knows, ease of entertaining is about cooking ahead, and choosing a menu within your skills and entertaining style. Avoid all recipes that say, “Serve immediately.” Limit menu choices to things that can be made a day ahead. If you plan to include drinks, a punch bowl of Margaritas or other such liquid refreshment with punchcups makes serving easy. And so on.
Above all it’s about knowing your limitations and attitude, attitude, attitude!