An April Fool’s Day Dinner.
The choice was forced on me today – an Easter Monday story or an April Fool’s Day story? The latter won, because it was easier, thanks to the Washington Post of March 29, 1913 (I need to take the easy option for a few more weeks – there is a book to finish and a few days holiday to squeeze in!)
A column called The Housewife’s Daily Economy Calendar had the following suggestions for an April Fool’s Day dinner:
"Practical jokes of a rough sort ought to be opposed by everyone with sense and feeling. Serious results have often ensued from the ill-timed efforts of someone to be funny. But human nature likes laughter, and April Fool’s day can be celebrated in a way to produce fun and laughter, without bringing any possible harm to anybody. The way to do it is with an April Fool’s dinner."
The guests at the dinner, of course, should not know that jokes are to be indulged in. They will find out soon enough without being told.
To begin with, there should be a centerpiece of fruit containing favors for the guests. The fruit must be carefully prepared and arranged with smilax or some ferns to cover up any suspicious looking spots. Cut oranges and grapefruit in halves, and remove the pulp, which can be used later on. Slit several bananas lengthwise and remove the fruit. Scoop out the inside of several apples, and prepare any other availalble fruit so that only the shell is left. Then line the cavity with waxed paper, wrap some amusing little knickknack in tissue paper, and pack it carefully in the fruit. Arrange the fruit with the uncut sides to the top, and twine the smilax or other green about it to cover cuts and creases. The favors might consist of little gifts which would call attention to some liking or hobby of each guest.
The place cards can have jokes written on them – wholesome, laugh-producing jokes, - or they can have some cryptic word traced on them in milk and the guests can be asked to read the words on their cards. A good deal of fun will result before someone discovers that by holding the cards over candle or othe flame the word turns brown and becomes visible.
Surprise dishes should be served. The meat course can be hidden in big baked potatoes. Green peppers can be stuffed with rice. A salad of surprise tomatoes, hiding celery and mayonnaise, can be served. The dessert can consist of a good-sized sponge cake which, just before it is brought to table, is hollowed out and put, cake side up, on a platter.
Nuts for Surprises.
Surprise nuts can be served. They can be bought ready made but they can also be made at home. To make them split walnuts, hazel nuts, and peanuts as neatly as possible. In each shell put a tiny trinket – little tin favours that can be bought for a few cents a dozen, answering that purpose. Then, with a little strong glue, fasten the shells together again. Arrange the nuts in small bonbon dishes and use them as table decorations until time to pass them.