Dainty Refreshments

Newspapers From the Past, Part 2

This is Stengrim and Charlotte Detlie, in a photo I can only guess is from the 1920s. You’ve seen their wedding photo in “Daddy and Some Babies” and “The Rest is History”. Charlotte was my Grandma Edla Johnson’s mother, and Stengrim was her stepfather. Edla’s father Nels Nelson was a stone mason who passed away in 1900. Charlotte and Stengrim were married in 1903, when Edla was still a toddler. But isn’t this the greatest photo for a post called “Dainty Refreshments”?

You will remember that in “Newspapers From the Past, Part 1”, I had gotten sidetracked looking for news of the Johnson family and began to wonder what “dainty refreshments” were. I had no clue who Mrs. Rasmus Jensen was, and Chris from Luna’s Online commented that the “Merry Twelve” sounded like a cover for a spy ring.

I looked up Rasmus Jensen on Ancestry.com and found that he was the superintendent of the Morton Salt Company in Ludington, and that sure enough, he lived on Madison Street. And his wife’s name was Victoria. But I digress.

My real quest was to learn about the “dainty refreshments” so often mentioned in the “Social Activities” section of the Ludington Daily News.

It looks like Mrs. Elizabeth Smith of Court Street went one step beyond “dainty” and served a “delectable” luncheon at her bridge party.

In a rare description of the actual refreshments, we see that Mrs. Morehouse served “delicious grape juice and Nabiscos”. I’m not sure how Mrs. Schulte felt when she read that “contrary to the usual rule,” she had served “delicious refreshments”. And just imagine a “Merry Go Round” (not sure what that was) and a sleigh ride, each with dainty refreshments served!

So what would you serve at a dainty luncheon, besides delicious grape juice and Nabiscos? To find out, I searched through food ads and recipes of the 1910s-1920s.

Home made cream fried cakes sound kind of good…plus you can check the milk prices in case you decide to make your own.

I wouldn’t have thought you could get Thousand Island salad dressing that long ago.

Jiffy-Jell seemed to be quite popular, as evidenced by the number of ads I found, as well as all the recipes you could use it in.

I know the print is kind of small, but I’m guessing nowadays you could use regular Jello…

You might want to use your beautiful teaspoons, which you could have gotten “almost free” with your newspaper subscription.

And if you’d had J.S. Boersma Plumbing install running water at your house, you would have had a much easier time cleaning up after the party.

And what would you wear to a party that would be serving dainty refreshments? I found this on a blog called The Fashion Folks. To me, that’s a fascinating subject for another post.

Until then, if you get the chance to enjoy some dainty refreshments, by all means, do so!

9 thoughts on “Dainty Refreshments

  1. These are so interesting! I wonder what today’s articles would look like as far as dainty dishes go? And I didn’t realize Thousand Island was that old!

    1. Thanks! I was surprised to see the Thousand Island ad too. I saw a few websites with “dainty” recipes for tea parties, but you’re right, it would be interesting to know what would be considered dainty today. 😋

  2. What is it about those old cuttings which is so alluring? Can you imagine publishing that people were off on vacation in the newspaper – how many housebreakings would that lead to now? That first photo is interesting too. The few photos I have of family from that era are very formal and posed, but this is much more like a modern snap, like the pic of Foster and Panda hosting their penguin friends.

    By the way, I still think the Merry Twelve are a bunch of spies! 😉

  3. Charlee: “Your parties sure are fancy! Look at all the tuxedos!”
    Lulu: “We should attend one some time!”
    Chaplin: “Sorry, Lulu. You would be under-dressed.”
    Charlee: “The other thing we notice is that advertisements sure did used to have a lot of words in them!”
    Chaplin: “Seems like people must have had more time to read back then!”

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