The Perfect Hostess

This is Thanksgiving week, and like many other hostesses, I'm getting ready to have dinner in our home for a house full of people.  I love entertaining and the mix of people always makes it more fun.  I think we will end up with about 20 people here, but this is the first time my daughter's in-laws are coming.  I'm thinking I better make a good impression because they had us at their spacious home in Green Bay for Thanksgiving a few years ago and it was quiet, lovely, and very formal.  Which is generally nothing like how things are here at our house.

When I was cleaning out things at my mom's house, I found this fun book called "Searchlight Homemaking Guide".  I guess you could say it was the etiquette bible, written for young ladies who were leaving home to join a new husband in 1949.  This particular edition has a beautifully written name inside, "Jeanne Vetterly 1949".  I can't help but wonder how this book helped her to furnish her home, choose her clothing, raise children and be the perfect hostess.  Times were different then, but not in a bad way.  How wonderful it must have been to always have a book to refer to when you needed help with a problem.
First I thought it might be nice to find out who this young lady was, so I went to  Because I know my mom lived in Indiana, I find Jeanne in the 1930 and 1940 census, both in Indiana and Michigan.  It turns out she received this book when she was 21 years old.  Her mom was a "shoppe keeper" for women's wear and her dad was a butcher in 1940.  Must have been helpful to have parents with that skill set.  You always know how to dress and how to carve a turkey!

So as I read about how to set the buffet, I'll be thinking of how it must have been for her when she was doing the same.  Here's the page for buffet service.

So I'll get busy on putting out tables with all the necessary goods.  I think I'll go for the gaily colored tablecloths.  I hadn't thought of bowls of flowers, but that's a nice touch.  I remember my aunts doing exactly what this book says for holidays.  We always had mints and mixed nuts at the tables.  I had forgotten how much we enjoyed those.  And there was always a big pot of coffee, so maybe I should get the coffee pot out.  We are so used to individual servings of drinks, that I forget how it is to serve a crowd.  And if I need some advice on carving a turkey, there's plenty of that here too.  This book might come in handy more than I thought!

If you celebrate Thanksgiving where you live, I hope you have a joyous holiday!


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