Article #4: Preparing A Dinner Party For Non-Hygienic Guests by Elizabeth D. McCarter, D.Sc.
So! You’ve decided to take that big step: to host a gala dinner party for some of your nonHygienic friends. It can be done, you know, and without compromising your principles, too! And certainly without all the hours and days of preparation required when hosting a more conventional dinner featuring the usual gourmet type of heterogeneous combinations.
Plan first of all to set a gala dinner table. Get out all your best silverware and fine china. Polish up the candlesticks and plan to dine by candle light. Check your linens and, if need be, see that they are all freshly laundered, ready for the big day. All this routine work can be done days ahead of time.
Plan a centerpiece, of course. This can consist of flowers from your own yard or from the florist. In the fall or wintertime, lovely centerpieces can be made from a wide variety of gourds, pine cones, apples, or whatever. Women’s magazines are filled with all kinds of ideas so go to the library and check a few of them to find an idea most appropriate to your circumstances.
Next, plan your menu. You will be a guest at this party, too, so plan your party with that in mind. Market a day or two before the big event and stock the refrigerator and ripening bowls with various kinds of fruit in season.
Purchase baking potatoes of good quality, several varieties of low starch and green vegetables, two or three kinds of lettuce, some sprouts (or better yet, grow your own) and two or three different kinds of nuts. Pecans are popular as are almonds and cashews, all unsalted and un-toasted. You might plan to have a casserole dish of some kind or even some lightly steamed ears of corn. Be sure to allow plenty of time for bananas and other fruits to ripen as well as the tomatoes and avocados.
The night before your party set your table. If you need some ideas on how properly to set a table, your local librarian can refer you to suitable books to obtain this information. Make it pretty and inviting. Set out the serving trays, dishes and appropriate ladles, tongs and so on.
The morning of your party make your food preparation. Wash and dry the lettuces. Carefully wrap the washed pieces in towels and put in the refrigerator. Scrub your fruits and rinse with pure water. I use a liquid soap that make using Ivory flakes for this purpose. Proceed the same with all the vegetables except, of course, the ears of corn. These should remain intact until dinnertime. All the vegetables can then be returned to the refrigerator.
I usually set up a buffet table, the longer the better, especially if you are hosting a fairly large party of fifteen or more guests. For smaller groups, a smaller buffet, perhaps comprising two cardtables set side by side and covered with a single table cloth would be sufficient.
You will want to have plenty of food available so that your guests will have a variety from which to choose.
Make several attractive fruit arrangements, each plate featuring compatible combinations of fruits. For example, you might place on one large round serving tray: an attractive assortment of strawberries, pineapple slices, kiwi fruit and oranges, all placed on a well arranged bed of Bibb (limestone) lettuce.
On another dish arrange pieces of Romaine in a circle configuration and place a huge mound of assorted grapes on it, perhaps surrounded by schoolboy size red Delicious-brand apples or, in season, ripe apricots and nectarines or slices of papaya. On a third dish use dark leafy green lettuce and use it as a background for delectable dried fruits: varieties of dates, dried figs, little paper cups of raisins with, perhaps, a star arrangement of bananas to separate the different kinds of dried fruits.
Always try to use the fruits which are readily available in your area. Persimmons in October and November often provide a wonderful treat as do the Bing cherries and apricots which are plentiful in the latter part of June. Some of your guests may have never eaten mangos or New Zealand kiwi fruit. And, believe it or not, many may never have enjoyed the rich succulence of a Medjool date! All exotic fruits provide interesting conversation pieces. Place all the fruit dishes at one end of the table.
Next come the salad vegetables. Get the largest bowl you can find or dig out one of those huge long-unused (we hope), but gleaming, pots that you may have used at one time for cooking. Fill it with a variety of lettuces which you have broken up into pieces. Add tiny slivers of carrots, red and green cabbage, chunks of green and red peppers, broccoli flowers, and strips of cucumber. (I always use the unwaxed pickling cucumbers). Place stalks of celery in a pitcher of your choice and place it near the salad bowl (or pot).
Or, let your guests make their own salads. This is always a good opportunity for questions and answers, too, although now we find more and more people are becoming salad-oriented. If individual salad-making is your “thing,” then place the salad vegetables in individual dishes and arrange them colorfully around a large lettuce bowl. Let your guests help themselves.
Make a salad dressing of lemon juice and olive oil sparked with a dash of walnut oil for flavor interest. Or, make one of cucumbers, celery plus a little avocado—all of which are blended together with a little green onion. Put each dressing in an attractive decanter or in a small serving bowl with a ladle or large dipping spoon. Be sure to put out a salt-free seasoning mixture. Vegebase is an acceptable mixture.
Some guests may request salt and pepper. If so, you may purchase individual salt and pepper shakers at some gourmet or health food stores. The salad part of the meal often provides a time for friendly education in the making of healthful salads.
It is nice always to have quartered or sliced tomatoes and avocado strips on a side dish with either of the salad buffets so that guests who enjoy these fruit-vegetables may add them to their other choices.
If your choice or choices of main dish (dishes) has been baked potatoes or a casserole, or both, these should be timed for the proper cooking time and the oven lighted about 15 minutes before. The potatoes and casserole should be timed as exactly as possible so that they will be ready for your guests when needed. While neither the potatoes nor casserole will be strictly Hygienic, nevertheless some cooked dishes can often provide for your guests a most enjoyable finale to a very enjoyable repast.
There are numerous vegetarian casseroles that will delight the taste. Baked potatoes served with an avocado blend made from avocado, a little distilled water and some vegebase often prove to be a delightful treat. Why not bake your potatoes early in the day, scoop out the contents, mix with the avocado mixture, stuff, wrap in foil and keep in the refrigerator until your guests are ready to go to the table. At that time place the unwrapped stuffed potatoes in the preheated oven. They’ll be heated and ready for your guests at the appropriate time.
If an eggplant tomato casserole is your choice, put it out on the serving table, surround it with an assortment of natural, undyed soft and hard cheeses plus a dish of sliced tomatos and an assortment of nuts. Separate the nuts from the cheeses by using the tomato dish. (The nuts could also be placed with the salad but we find it usually better to place them with an appropriate casserole.)
If fresh steamed corn or other steamed vegetables are to be served, they should, of course, be put out on the buffet along with other suggested main dishes. Steamed corn is always welcome. Most of your guests will want butter with their corn. Buy a quarter pound or so of raw unsalted butter if you can find it in your area. Place it by the steamed corn.
We serve baked corn gems in place of bread. I can make these several days before the party and keep them in the refrigerator. To make these, I purchase freshly ground corn and wheat at a local health food store plus some ground unsweetened dried coconut (or I grind my own). To four cups of corn meal I add 1 cup of coconut and 1 cup of ground wheat. After a thorough mixing I add boiling water to make a dough-like consistency. I roll out the dough in a 4 inch wide strip and cut into two-inch “gems.” I put the gems on baking sheets which have been left to heat in an oven at 400°F. I bake these for about 15 minutes, then turn them over. I then turn off the oven and let the gems cook until the right consistency, about 10 more minutes.
Since the gems are cold when I take them out .of the refrigerator, I sprinkle them with a few drops of distilled water and remove them to the oven for 10 minutes or so before placing them on the buffet table. They are great when eaten with a salad of greens!
For dessert, I usually prepare a frozen fruit delight which I make by pureeing a dried fruit (dates, apricots and apples are a good choice) with a little distilled water and then mixing it with banana “ice cream.” This mixture can, then be placed in champagne glasses or in any kind of fancy glassy covered with plastic wrap, and then put in the freezer until dinner time. When your guests are seated at the table enjoying your stuffed potatoes or steamed corn or your tasty casserole, you can quietly set this wonderful desert out on the buffet.
Good friends, fine food, soothing music, fun, laughter and lively! conversation are boon to the soul. While many errors in eating will no doubt be made by your guests from time to time, nevertheless, they will welcome this kind of friendly introduction to natural foods for good eating. We need this kind of friendly rapport from time to time. There are many serving suggestions, ideas galore, to be found in various books written by hygienists and by almost-hygienists. Hannah Allen’s Homemaker’s Guide is a good one. Of course, we like our own, The Exciting World of Healthful Cookery! and Healthful Living always has some great ideas by Marti Fry. So, don’t think you have to live to yourself. You really don’t! Try some of our ideas and put a little fun into your life. Learn how to socialize Hygienically and even almost-hygienically once in a while. Watch your spirits soar!
- 1. Introduction
- 2. On Being Sociable
- 3. Health And Fitness Clubs
- 4. How To Advertise
- 5. Getting Prepared
- 6. Entertaining
- 7. Respecting Private Spacing
- 8. Expanding Local Contacts
- 9. Good Public Relationship
- Article #1: How to Be Socially At Ease
- Article #2: Real Houses Are Like Real People
- Article #3: An Excerpt from In Tune With the Infinite By Ralph Waldo Trine
- Article #4: Preparing A Dinner Party For Non-Hygienic Guests By Elizabeth D. McCarter, D.Sc.