If the amount of work that went into taking one’s turn hosting your bridge club’s luncheon was almost bragged about in earlier days, in today’s world avoiding hassle is the way to go. By the 90s, ladies lunch was not a big topic–everybody works don’t they?–but I did come across an actual ladies luncheon menu in a 1996 cookbook called Hosting Without Hassle by Daisy King.
It is clear in the book that Daisy appreciates the traditional gender menus of ladies lunch, even though she herself is relatively young–50. How do I know her age? You can often figure it out from the Cataloguing in Publication Data page at the front of newer books. I’m not sure the authors know that, but CIP data is a very good thing for publishers to include in their books–great for libraries and research.
Not only does she appreciate ladies lunch she seems to get it that a bridge luncheon is different from a ladies lunch for tennis players. She recommends pasta for tennis. But when it comes to a bridge luncheon she includes three of the 13 Classics for a Ladies Bridge Lunch I list on page 220 of my book–chicken salad, a green-tint molded salad, and a marshmallow dessert that calls for 72–yes, 72!!–large marshmallows. Shades of the 30s!
As to her recipes, her chicken salad adds grated carrot and slivered almonds, her gelatin mold includes green grapes and here’s how to make her Rum Cream dessert:
Prepare a large spring-form pan by lining it with ladyfingers. Heat 72 large marshmallows with a quarter cup of milk in a double boiler until melted–stir frequently. Cool thoroughly and stir in five tablespoons of rum. Fold in a quart of heavy cream that has been whipped until stiff. Pour into the prepared spring-form pan and freeze for 30 minutes. Serves 8.
I’d make it even more hassle-free by freezing in eight pretty paper cups or other suitable serving dishes, rather than cope with that spring-form pan and then serving it.