Tuesday Tea-Time Thoughts: Dinner Vs. Supper

Cherished readers, The Lady’s circle of friends is known for chatting about a variety of subjects. Today as they gathered for tea indoors in the conservatory (a pox on all the rain!) a lively discussion ensued on using the words Dinner and Supper. They asked me my thoughts on the matter (bless them!)

The Lady believes that the heaviest meal of the day is properly called Dinner, whether this large meal takes place at the noon hour or in the evening. There are locales whose inhabitants use these words interchangeably to describe the evening meal. The word dinner on its own does not indicate the time of day of the meal, only that it is the largest meal of the day. In truth, The Lady has not heard the word Supper being used very often lately.

Does The Lady feel that you will be judged harshly for mixing the two words? No.

To add some flair to her own speech (and to pay homage to her wonderful French teacher) The Lady likes to refer to her meals using the French phrases: petit dejeuner for breakfast, dejeuner for lunch and diner for dinner. Or she merely uses the generic repas to describe a meal.

When in doubt, give things a little French flair and you will always sound correct!

Jusqu’à la prochaine fois,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Food Friday: Okie Dokie Artichokie

Cherished readers, because my posts about Food and Table Manners seem to be the most popular, I have designated Fridays as Food Fridays. Today’s post deals with artichokes, because people seem confused about how to eat them and also because we Hooper-Bracketts like to eat them here at the estate.

The artichoke is a study in contrasting textures. You have the tender leaves,  the inedible fuzzy ‘choke’ and finally the soft heart. Did you know that the artichoke is in the thistle family? When we cook it and eat it, it is an immature thistle bud. Here is the artichoke in all of its blooming glory:

Artichike flower.jpg

But as we are not interested in growing it…let’s get back to consuming it.

When you are served an artichoke, you must remember that it is a finger food. You pull the leaves off (one at a time), dip the meaty base into the sauce that is served with the artichoke (usually a hollandaise or a lemon butter) and then pull the leaf through your teeth to scrape off the end dipped in sauce. You would then place the inedible part of the leaf on the side of your plate. (Be neat!) You will proceed with each leaf in this fashion until you reach the center where you will find the fuzzy ‘choke’. Remove this fuzzy layer with a spoon, but don’t scrape too deeply…you want to keep the best part intact: The heart. You may cut heart into small bits and dip in the sauce.

For those who need a visual, The Lady found this short video for your viewing pleasure.

Best Food Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

A Question of Asparagus

Cherished readers, The Lady was pleased to find this electronic correspondence while she sipped coffee this morning.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I am a busy mom with three young sons. I have tried to teach them correct table manners. During our weekly Try-A-New-Food night meal, I served asparagus to them for the first time. I had instructed them that they could eat the asparagus spears with their fingers, but my husband told me that he felt this wasn’t correct. Do you know?

Signed,

Trying My Best 

Dear Trying My Best,

You ask if I know the answer and The Lady humbly says….why, yes, I do.

You may use the side of your fork to gently cut the soft part of the asparagus spear, impale it on the fork, and then convey it to your mouth. This method is preferred in most conservative circles, especially if the asparagus is quite soft and has been covered in some type of sauce.

If, however, the stalks are firm with the sauce only applied to the tops, you may properly pick the spears up with your fingers and eat the soft edible part down to the tough part of the spear. You would then neatly place the devoured stalks on the side of your plate.

You did not reveal to The Lady how you served this noble vegetable to your family, so I cannot say whether or not your husband was wrong in correcting you. I do commend you most effusively for introducing your sons to new foods. I am sure they are on their way to being cultured gentlemen.

Best Mealtime Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

 

Hostess Hint: Setting The Table For Guests

Cherished readers, The Lady Hooper-Brackett spoke to a group of her friends about planning ahead for entertaining for guests. One easy way to take some stress off is to set the table ahead of time. Years ago a kind older lady gave me this tip and I have used it each time I’ve had guests.

Set your complete table the day before you will be entertaining. Lay out your serving dishes on the sideboard, also. Take clear shower curtains or other clear plastic sheeting and lay it over the settings and dishes. Keeps dirt and dust off and then you merely remove right before the guests arrive.

Incidentally, if you have eager young table setters, a cute way to have them remember where the silverware is to be placed on the table is thus:

Spoon and Knife….5 letters same as RIGHT

Fork…4 letters sames as LEFT.

The Lady hopes that the youth of the world will be as interested in good table settings. It is a nicety that we should all revisit in the civilized world.

Best Table Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett