Monday, September 26, 2011

FLAPPER: The name of this book says it all!

iconWith a title like this, how could I not read this book?

Earlier this summer, I posted a review of another book about the 1920s, Anything Goes by Lucy MooreFlapper is similar in some ways, but also very different.  Whereas Anything Goes served more as a book about the 20s — discussing Prohibition, organized crime, and the economy as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald and flapper culture — Flapper focuses more on, well, flappers.

This book has a little less detail on the Fitzgeralds, but devotes whole chapters to the popular movie stars of the times, the ones that epitomized the flapper phenomenon: Colleen Moore, Clara Bow, and Louise Brooks.  The author talks about how each of them portrayed the flapper a little differently, influenced by their dramatically different backgrounds.

If you have to choose a single book to read to get information for your 1920s-themed wedding or party, I'd say this one is probably the better choice — but if I can at least flip through both, do.  Each of these books contains information that the other does not.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Talk like a flapper!

Sometimes novels set in the 1920s can be great resources for anyone planning a 1920s wedding or party.  Earlier this year I blogged about two YA novels about the 1920s that had a lot of great, authentic-feeling settings and clothing details.  Recently I read the sequel to one of those novels (review coming soon).

At the end of the novel, I noticed that the series has its own website,  I headed over to check it out, and was delighted by one of the features on the site: a glossary of 1920s slang. Anyone planning a 1920s party or wedding is sure to find this useful.  You could use some of the slang to plan the text for invitations, or you could include a card with your own version of the glossary in the invitation, and encourage everyone to "talk like a flapper" at the wedding or party!

What were you surprised to see on this list?  I had no idea that the term "putting on the Ritz" and words like "nifty," "ducky," and "swell" originated in the 1920s.  What were you surprised about?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vintage-themed bridal shower: Choosing the menu

I'm returning to a series of posts that I started earlier this year and abandoned: Planning a vintage-themed bridal shower or party.  Click on the link to find a complete list of posts and links to each.

This post is about what food to serve at the party.  Inspired by a tea party I held for my mom's birthday back in February, I already had some ideas of what food to serve, but I made sure to do some research first too.  These suggestions are all for a 1920s-themed party, but with a quick Internet search you should be able to find plenty of information on authentic party foods for other eras, as well.

Salted Nuts

Believe it or not, salted nuts actually came into vogue in the 1920s.  During this era, vegetarianism as we would recognize it today was starting to gain traction, and nuts were being marketed as an alternative source of protein.  They were also used as a party food, so be sure to stock your buffet with nuts such as peanuts, almonds, and pecans (and maybe include a bowl of fancy olives for good measure).

Tea Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches were apparently popular party food in the 1920s.  These should be small, finger-size sandwiches on thin-sliced white bread — I cut the crusts off and then cut each sandwich into two or four triangles (depending on the size of the bread), but you can also cut them into long, thin rectangles.  Egg salad, chicken salad, meat sandwiches such as turkey, chicken, or ham, and cream cheese sandwiches are all good choices.

I made cucumber sandwiches for my mom's party — for these you arrange a layer of thinly-sliced cucumber between 2 pieces of bread spread with butter or mayonnaise.  I chose mayonnaise for the taste, but the real purpose is to keep the cucumber from making the bread soggy.  Also be sure to pat the cucumber slices with paper towels before putting the sandwiches together, and don't make the sandwiches too soon before they are to be eaten!

Sweets and Desserts

Sweet foods were very popular in the 1920s.  Pineapple upside down cake and Jell-o salad molds are a couple of traditional sweet desserts that were popular in the 1920s.  These are also relatively easy to make and feed a lot of people cheaply, so they make great desserts to have at a vintage-themed party.  Retro candy can also be used as treats and favors for an authentic feel.  Most people don't realize how many of today's candies actually debuted in the 1920s, but the combination of a booming economy and a newfound interest in products and marketing led to the creation of lot of our favorite treats.


Of course, one can't forget drinks, especially when we're talking about planning a 1920s-themed party!  Drinks in the 1920s were typically sweet mixed drinks — because of Prohibition, a lot of the alcohol circulating wasn't of very high quality, so soda, juice, and sweet syrups were used to disguise the taste.  If you don't plan on having alcohol at your party, you can mix fruity syrup with ginger ale for a similar authentic feel.  I also like the idea of using one of the punch recipes in my vintage copy of The Joy of Cooking — these are alcoholic punches, though, and judging by the recipe, they pack a wallop!  I'm thinking women's bridge parties had way more fun than one might think!

If you are interested in doing further research on what to serve at a vintage-themed party, a quick Internet search should provide plenty of information, such as this page on foods by decade.  The page also recommends looking for vintage cookbooks and menus, and (speaking as an amateur book collector with several vintage cookbooks) I think this is a fabulous idea.  Your library may be able to help you get many of these through interlibrary loan, if necessary, and Project Gutenberg (a site dedicated to providing free ebooks of works in the public domain) may also be useful.

Stay tuned — future posts will discuss selecting favors, dressing up, and entertaining your guests!


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Download a novel about the 1920s for free!

iconiconA while back, I read and blogged about two novels about the 1920s.  One was Bright Young Things, the first in a YA series by author Anna Godbersen.

The next book in the series, Beautiful Daysicon, is coming out later this month, so the publisher has made a special edition ebook of Bright Young Things, including bonus material (probably a preview of the next book), available as a free download.  Click on the image link here to get the free ebook from Barnes & Noble.

It's a great novel, and (I think) accurately portrays the feel of the 1920s.  There are lots of descriptions of 20s parties and culture, so it's a good book to read if you are planning a 1920s party or wedding!