On Entertaining (and Betty Crocker)

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Recently, a friend loaned me an old homemaking book — Betty Crocker’s Guide to Easy Entertaining: How to Have Guests and Enjoy Them. It was published in 1959 and it’s kind of hysterical. It’s also pretty fascinating to take a peek at what “entertaining” used to look like. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite snippets.

On being introduced at parties:

Men rise on being introduced to any woman, but the woman guest never rises unless she is being introduced to another woman very markedly her senior, or when a clergyman or other male guest of either great distinction or age is introduced to her.

On informing your guests of party attire:

Part of the shine of any party is dimmed for the one guest who is out of step by being underdressed. And it is a hardship, as well as an embarrassment to the guest who arrives in chiffon and fragile evening slippers to find herself at a corn roast on a sandy shore.

On her new favorite dip recipe, guacamole:

Here is a recipe for a dip I borrowed from Mexico. It is pronounced Gwah-ka-mo-lay and should be served with chips or crackers.

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Reading through this thing is incredible! It’s like a little time capsule. Although I have to say, that even if it is dated, I admire Betty’s approach to entertaining:

Hospitality isn’t a contest. It is sharing the best you have.

Do you love that? I think it’s really a beautiful sentiment. It’s encouraging, too. Sometimes I get overwhelmed when I think of having people over to our apartment, and wondering if it’s too cramped or there’s not enough parking or whatever. But Betty’s getting my head straight.

Do you entertain much? I’d love to know your thoughts on having people over and playing host or hostess! xoxo

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10 thoughts on “On Entertaining (and Betty Crocker)”

  1. my nana had ALLLLL of these, and i remember reading them in high school, thinking “these were written on jupiter.” such an amazing piece of history wrapped up in the best packaging ever- FOOD. 😉 <3

  2. I stinkin’ love this.
    I LOVE to entertain but it stresses me out because I don’t think of myself as much of a cook. I am always thinking somebody needs something and have a bad habit of getting so wrapped up in everything being in the right place at the right time I miss the fun stuff!

    1. Okay, there was a WHOLE SECTION about that! About how being a gracious hostess partially means arranging things so that you’re not running around like crazy. I thought it was so interesting, because I get caught up too!

  3. This is so cute! Thanks for sharing some little snippets from this gem of a book. As someone that gets a little intimidated at the thought of hosting big gatherings (especially when it comes to the cooking lots of food part), it’s so reassuring to hear that Betty says it’s all about sharing the best you have. I’ll try to remember that the next time I’m playing hostess.

  4. I die. I LOVE this. What a treasure. I think my favorite is “Hospitality isn’t a contest. It is sharing the best you have” — oh how I wish more of us kept that in mind. I don’t want to “out-do” you, or “be out-done.” Can’t we just gather and be merry? However that may look. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I know! When I read that, I was totally able to cut through all of the semi-outdated stuff and see that she really knew her stuff. What an encouraging thought!

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