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Create a Pineapple Centrepiece

Pineapples, notoriously fickle and difficult to grow, have long been a symbol of hospitality and extravagance–in fact, Georgian confectioners were known to have rented pineapples by the day, to less wealthy customers, before selling them to be eaten by their more well-to-do clientele. The same pineapple might show up on several tables before finally being consumed. Pineapples are especially noticeable at the Colonial Williamsburg living history settlement in Willliamsburg, Virginia, where costumed interpreters reenact all aspects of life in a British Colony during the mid 1700’s. Here, you will find the pineapple represented on everything from painted Wedgwood china to architectural details. Nowhere is the pineapple more evident, however, than in the stunning centerpieces and floral displays created daily for the governor’s dining room. These types of centerpieces would have been familiar sights on the tables of the privileged class in Austen’s Regency England as well. To create your own version of the welcoming Williamsburg centerpiece featured here, follow Julie Mulligan’s simple instructions. Tape a piece of wet floral foam to a low shallow dish. Insert a 4” floral or craft stick about 2” into the bottom of the pineapple and insert into the top of the foam. Insert fresh cut greens, such as magnolia or balsam, into the bottom of the foam to form the base of the arrangement. Using the 4” sticks insert a row of apples on top of the greenery base. The next row that will be between the pineapple and the apples will be made (more…)
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Advice to the Cook

The Cook must be quick and strong of sight: her hearing most acute, that she may be sensible to when the contents of her vessels bubble, although they be closely covered, and that she may be alarmed before the pot boils over; her auditory nerve ought to discriminate (when several saucepans are in operation at the same time) the simmering of one, the ebullition of another, and the full-toned warbling of a third. It is imperiously requisite that her organ of smell be highly susceptible of the various effluvia, that her nose may distinguish the perfection of aromatic ingredients, and that, in animal substances it shall evince a suspicious accuracy between tenderness and putrefication: above all, her olfactories should be tremblingly alive to mustiness and empyreuma. It is from the exquisite sensibility of her palate, that we admire and judge the cook; from the alliance between the olfactory and sapid organs it will be seen, that their perfections is indispensible. Good manners have often made the fortune of many, who have had nothing else to recommend them: ill manners have as often marred the hopes of those who have had everything else to advance them. Dinner tables are seldom sufficiently lighted, or attended; and active waiter will have enough to do, to attend upon half a dozen good eaters: there should be half as many candles as there are guests, and their flame be about eighteen inches above the table, our foolish modern candelabras seem intended to illuminate the ceiling, (more…)
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Advice to House Servants

Miscellaneous Observations, Compiled for the use of House Servants Many well-meaning servants are ignorant of the best means of managing, and thereby waste as much as would maintain a small family, besides causing the mistress of the house much chagrin by their irregularity: and many families, from a want of method, have the appearance of chance rather than of regular system. To avoid this, the following hints may be useful as well as economical:– Every article should be kept in that place best suited to it, as much waste may thereby be avoided, viz. Vegetables will best keep on a stone floor; if the air be excluded.—Meat in a cold dry place.—Sugar and sweetmeats require a dry place; so does salt.—Candles cold, but not damp.—Dried meats, hams, &c. the same.—All sorts of seeds for puddings, saloop, rice, &c. should be close covered, to preserve from insects; but that will not prevent it, if long kept. Bread is so heavy and article of expense, that all waste should be guarded against; and having it cut in the room will tend much to prevent it. It should not be cut until a day old. Earthen pans and covers keep it best. Straw to lay apples on, should be quite dry, to prevent a musty taste. Large pears should be tied up by the stalk. Basil, savoury, or knotted marjoram, or thyme, to be used when herbs are ordered; but with discretion, as they are very pungent. The best means to preserve blankets (more…)