OUR POOR WEAK YOUNGER GENERATION!
It is not this entry’s intention to be intolerant of our younger generation, but if it is to be any use as an aid to good manners, it must say what it can to make both boys and girls realize that it is not the feebly old or the weakly ill who call upon “information” to a degree that is literally crippling to the service. Investigation has proved that the principal offenders are the lazy young who have seemingly neither their spines long enough to look up a number in a city telephone book; they ask “information” to do it for them!
The Big Oyster, History on the Half Shell
By Mark Kurlansky
Random House 2006
When I was younger growing up on Long Island, NY my uncle and cousin would take me clamming in the Great South Bay. We would get up at the crack of dawn to catch an early low tide and head out to Squaw Island, a little patch of nothing near the marshy coast where we would pull buckets of delicious, fresh littleneck clams. On the ride home my uncle would pull out a clam knife and easily shuck a clam open and pop it right in his mouth. My fascination with shellfish can easily be pin pointed to this memory.
It may be this war period (war? what war? yes yes, WWII but I was being ironical), which has accustomed everyone to going with very little meat and to marked reductions in all food, or it may, of course, be merely vanity that is causing even grandparents to aspire to svelte figures (nope, that would be the media); but whatever the reason, people are putting much less food on their tables than formerly (and thank god! aren’t American’s some of the most obese people in the world dare I say galaxy?). The few very rich, still living in great houses with an imposing array of servants, sit down to three, or at most four, courses.
Under no circumstances does a modern dinner, no matter how formal consist of less than:
1. Soup or oysters or melon or clams.
2. Fish or Entree.
6. After-dinner coffee.
We’ve been watching “Emma” on PBS and I believe she might include a phrase or two here about “finding oneself in reduced circumstances”…indeed a polite way of saying “We won’t be serving any of the preceding in one sitting at our dinners, nevermind in sequence. Who do you think we are? The Woodhouses?”
Music: When You Love Somebody – Fruit Bats
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! Tomorrow, I hope you celebrate with chocolate, roses, candy hearts and The Olympics.
In honor of Valentines Day….HOW CAN A MAN WITH ALMOST NO MONEY TAKE A GIRL OUT?
Let us imagine a young man who is lucky enough to have a regular job, but whose pay leaves very little for luxuries, in which he naturally includes amusements. The question that he asks himself is this: How can he take a NICE girl out? How can he ask a girl, let us say, like Sally Hiborn, used to luxury as she is, to spend an evening that couldn’t help being – well, not very impressive? Jim Clerking hasn’t a car at all. He can’t possibly buy her orchids; he dare not even risk the bill for luncheon, let alone dinner, at a high-class restaurant; and “down in front” orchestra seats at a successful play are entirely out of reach. So what can he do?
Of course, the point to make is that Sally is precisely the type of girl who wouldn’t care whether he bought seats for the latest musical comedy or went to a second-showing picture theatre. Having all her life been used to the things that many people look upon as luxuries, she finds that they in themselves mean nothing to her.
It is the girl with an inferiority fear who wants to be driven in a high-powered car to the Fritz-Cherry, to be conspicuously decorated with orchids, because she has no standards except those of cost.
To Sally Hiborn, on the other hand, the one thing that really counts is the man she is going out with. Given her choice between dining at the Fritz-Cherry with Dullan Rich and going to a cafeteria with Bob Bright, she would choose the cafeteria every time.
So, to you who hesitate because you do not think that whatever you have in mind is good enough for the nicest girl in the world, the advice is: Ask her by all means, to whatever you can afford. In fact, if it is simple, the way she responds is rather a measure of the quality of girl she is – and of her liking for you. the important thing is to be unself-conscioulsy frank yourself, and to take the fact of having or not having money casually.
Because it was food related I thought I would include it. ;) Happy Sunday.
We are taking the next two days off and will return on the 4th. We look forward to sharing many recipes, reviews, etiquette tips and desserts in 2010. We hope you have a safe, exciting, fortuitous, thrilling, serendipitous New Year filled with resolve and reconciliation.
Photo by Jane Shauck