Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Food and Decor from the 20s, 40s, 60s, 80s and Today

The complete menu that we served for this event:

If you are a regular reader, you will already know that we put on an annual bash for Catholic Charities of the North Shore each year, here at the Hawthorne Hotel.

This year's theme was Celebrating 90 -- in honor of their 90th anniversary of service to the people of the North Shore of Massachusetts.

We decided to create five decade-representative areas of food, drink and festivities to celebrate that achievement. This blog post will give you a look at what went on for the event.

I hope you enjoy seeing what we did.

The 1920s marked the beginning of Catholic Charities of the North Shore. It also was the decade of the speakeasy, bathtub gin, flappers, jazz, and all things "roaring twenties" that we know and love.

A popular hors d'oeuvre would have been celery stuffed with pimento cream cheese.

Deviled Eggs were also popularized during this decade.

A classic entree of the period was patty shells with Chicken a la King

Meat Balls in "Italian Gravy" were definitely popular during this decade, and many to come. They are still a favorite of our staff!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake made its debut during this time period.

. . . as did Snickerdoodles.

The 40s were great fun for us to replicate. An antique stove that was 'rented' from a local second-hand store set the tone, and the clothesline full of 40s clothing that we hung across our Grand Ballroom added just the right touch. The use of 'lace' table runners, and some other accessories really gave everyone the feeling that they had happened into their grandmother's house. Just what we were looking for.

Life it too uncertain -- eat dessert first! These yummy "York" peppermint patty brownies were awesome.

Did you know that Rice Krispies Treats were invented in the 40s?

You either love it or hate it, but the people that loved it really made this a 'hit' of the evening -- creamed chipped beef on toast.

Trout Amandine was the 40s nod to 'fancy' food.

Hearts of iceberg lettuce with two classic '40s' dressings.

The 60s were a decade of peace, love, flower-power, tie-dye, and other iconic symbols. This colorful decade was easy to replicate, and we chose this time to represent in the ice carving as well.

Flower-power, lava lamps and bright colors were all fun to use in creating this themed area of the 60s.

Using 'store-bought' ingredients to create menu items really gained steam in the 60s. These hors d'oeuvres of Ritz crackers with a spicy tomato aspic are very representative of that trend.

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes
Crepes were something that became very popular in the 60s with the input and influence created by Julia Child's and her "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"

Grilled Beef Brochettes over Rice

Gelatin and Fruit Salad
While we began exploring cuisines of different cultures in this decade, we were still holding firmly to our comfort foods of the 50s, including all manner of molded gelatin desserts.

Penny Candies really began to take off in the 60s with much more disposable income, as well as the need for 'munchies' created by a number of influences.

For the 80's we turned our Tavern into a Fern Bar. The first Fern Bar was likely a place called "Henry Africa's" in San Francisco. It's huge popularity spawned chains of similar places, such as Bennigan's and TGI Friday's.

During the 80s more exotic foods became popular, such as tropical fruits, and especially kiwis. In addition, regional cuisine started to become recognized in mainstream dining, with the rise of Cajun chefs such as Paul Prudhomme from New Orleans. We served Red Beans and Rice, and Blackened Fish on our menu.

Tropical Fruit Salad with Kiwi

Red Beans and Rice

Chocolate Chip Cookie "Bars"

Boboli Pizza was created in the 80s so we set up a Boboli Pizza Stations, where guests could create their own pizza slice with the variety of toppings we offered.

The 90's through today:

African Hummus

Steamship Roast of Beef

I hope you have enjoyed this stroll through our food timeline, and our re-creation of some of the great decades of the last 90 years.

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