The foods of the fall season are as iconic as foods for Christmas. Pumpkins, apples, squash, and of course, turkey, make their way to the dinner table in many homes during the month of October. However, it seems as if large gatherings diminish during this time as the warm days of summer picnics come to an end. To combat this apparent doldrum, why not host you own Autumn Supper Party. Popular during the turn of the 20th century, these happy gatherings feature rustic decorations, hearty food, and plenty of happy company!
Here is an excerpt from an article in Good Housekeeping (c. 1904) detailing the table decor and some rather interesting menu options…
“Always use a bare table for a supper….veil its imperfections with doilies, small dishes, candles, and plenty of flowers. To light the table, use silver or brass individual sticks if you have them, if not, invest in two pairs of the pretty twisted candlesticks to be had now for fifty cents a pair.
In small dishes on the table have peeled radishes, olives, celery tips, salted nuts and bonbons, and, if the table is a long one with plenty of room, a glass or two of prettily colored jelly or spiced peaches or candied ginger.
As to the menu, remember that it is no longer good form to have a prolonged meal, even at dinner there are fewer coursed than formerly. Do not end with an ice, for, absurd as it may seem, it is tabooed at supper. Serve coffee in large cups with the main course, or, if the party is a large one, offer a choice of coffee or chocolate.
This menu is easily prepared and very nice:
One more menu, and a short one, suitable for a supper served late at night. In this the sweet is especially good, and one seldom seen:”
Recipes for many of these dishes are readily found on the internet or in vintage cookbooks. Here is one version of the French Charlotte Russe.
Wish to host a Autumn Supper of your own? See below for my top picks to create the perfect fall gathering:
Plaid Picnic Blanket from Pier One
Birchbark candles from World Market
Autumn in the Country Cookbook
Autumn Plates from Pfaltzgraff
Autumn Supper Parties by Caroline French Benten, Good Housekeeping, October 1904
Menu 1 Photo: Autumn in the Wasatch by David C. Schultz
Menu 2 Painting: Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947), Sycamore in Autumn, Orange County Park, c. 1917