Swinging New Year's Eve

Joined Jan 5, 2001
For my next catering class project we have to plan a New Year's Eve celebration. We have to do the demographics, the marketing plan, the menu planning and costing, come up with a theme, etc. We are at the brain storming stage, and I thought I could get ides from you folks, seeing as you are all so clever ;)!

Before I get into any trouble here, let me just say, this is just an exercise in creativity, I'm not looking for anyone to do my homework, ok?

Here goes. We decided on a 1940's swing (as in the dance, not the bizarre conjugal practice) party. I need to come up with the menu, 2 or 3 options per course. But we also have to think about decorations, entertainment, advertising.

I wasn't around in the forties. Not really sure what was 'in'. I'm doing some surfing to find forties menu ideas and will look at old cookbooks, but if you have ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Be creative! Thanks!


Joined Apr 4, 2000
On new year's eve go back in time

come celebrate 1940's style

You should try and research what was serve in the 40's. Surely there are books on food history. Keep in mind that because the war wa in full swing, no pun intended, you might have to go a bit further in time to find what was serve in that era.

Check this out: Food in the 40's
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Yup, been there already. I wish she-whom-I-love-to-hate (Martha) had a book on theme parties! ;)

I thought about the war thing too. I think it's less relevant than it would have been for WWI but you are right.

Other than beef wellington, what did people eat in those days? I'm actually a bit worried about the answer to that question... food today allows us so many more possibilities.

I should mention, we'd like this to be extravagant and showy. Maybe have the band play a different song with the serving of each course, something appropriate.

Guess we'll have to invest some of our budget in centrepieces.

Any thoughts?
Joined Feb 17, 2001
Shoot, I just took back to the library without reading "Here Let Us Feast" by MFK Fisher (took out too many books to read this time). I think it may have been written in 1948, and it basically a book of banquets. This book might give you some ideas and should be available at your library.

It sounds like a fun project!



Joined Apr 4, 2000
A few years ago Bon Apétit published a issue with some food history of every deccade of the XX century. I'll try to dig it up.

I just recall I have this old French cookbook, I'll find it too.
Joined Jul 31, 2000
My dear parents that were born in 1922-1923 were having a blast in the forties,I have to run this thread by them and see what they have to say.
They were always out dancing and listening to swing.
Gotta see what they chowed on.

I'll get back


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Why is it the computer always crash when you’re just about to finish writing a long post??

Bon Appétit is not good for what you had in mind. I doubt you want meat love and devil food cake.

The book I had in mind is Cuisine et vin de France by Curnonsky. First edition was 1953 but it looks very old fashioned, pieces montees and all.

How about a croquembouche with spun sugar and nougatine for dessert? It’s surely old fashionned and impressive.

Back to Curnonsky, at the end of the book, he provides menu suggestions. For a reveillon he suggest:

Consommé à la royale
Huîtres Mornay
Homard Alexandre cold lobster with a fines herbes sauce
Faisan Charbonnière stuffed with liver and chipolatas sauce cognac
Omelette surprise au Grand Marnier omelette norvégienne an elegant relative of the baked alaska
Fours glacées

Boudin blanc et noir
Perdreau sur canapé
Champignons Nichette roasted mushrooms with horseradish and tarragon
Salade d’endive
Bombe glacée
Bûche au marrons et chocolat

For big reception like a wedding he suggest:


Saucisses grillées
Brioches au foie gras
Allumettes au fromage


Canapés variés:

Au jambon - ham
À la tomate et œuf dur mayonnaise - tomatoes and hard boiled egg
Au gruyère
Au foie gras ou à la mousse de foie gras ou au pâté de foie
Au saumon fumé, ou au caviar rose, ou au caviar


Olives fourrées aux anchois - Olives studffed with anchovy
Amandes salées - Salted almonds
Biscuits au fromage


Éclairs au chocolat et au café
Petits choux
Tartelettes aux fruits
Fruits glacés ou déguisés

In fashion in the early years of the XX century, the foie gras truffé en brioche served on a bed of gelée. To be served, of course with champagne.

For sweets, silver plater lined with truffles, chocolates and fruits confits
Joined May 26, 2001
Another MFK Fisher reference: How to Cook a Wolf, written in 1942 and revised in '51. Could be a help in coming up with creative ways to do cheap stuff -- after all, anyone can make a great party with caviar and champagne!

The issue of Bon Appetit is from September, 1999: "The American Century in Food." Maybe not very inspiring, those recipes, nor the products introduced during the decade (e.g., La Choy canned Chinese food, Nestle's Quik, ...)
Joined Mar 13, 2001

Go to your nearest bookstore and find "The Last Days of Haute Cuisine" by Patric Kuh. I think there's many more menus in there. Here's a menu sample of the times, fit for New Year's Eve celebration:

Double Consommé de Viveur
Paillettes Dorées
Homard Pavillon de France
Riz Pilau
Noisettes de Prés-Salé Ambassadrice
Chapon Fin à la Gelée d'Estragon
Cœur de Laitue Princesse
Fraises Sati
Frivolités Parisiennes

Here's the translation:

"Chicken consommé with twisted cheese sticks
Broiled lobster with cream sauce served over rice
Saddle of lamb with potato balls and stuffed artichokes
Cold capon with aspic
Asparagus with French dressing served on lettuce leaves
Strawberries with ice cream and whipped cream
Petit fours and coffee." :rolleyes:

Click here for an excerpt

Hope it helps.

Joined Mar 13, 2001
I totally agree with you. All that's required are fancy french names. Look above for an example. ;)
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Thanks for to all of you for the great info! I'm printing it out and will have to sit down with it and think more seriously about it tomorrow. I am now off to dine with my husband in the restaurant where I work. Ta-ta!
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Thank you, and a lovely experience it was indeed! The staff took a while to recognise me. They've never seen me wearing anything but whites, a black baker's cap, and usually very little makeup. Anyway, the food was fabulous, the wine was incredible, and they tested our winter menu dessert on me. Complimentary amuse-bouche. Nice discount on everything too! We felt really special and outrageously pampered. My husband fell in love with the place and I feel very proud to work there..
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Our amuse-bouche was a piece of tuna sashimi served with frozen spiced yuzu lychee custard and 2 sauces which I have to ask next time I work what they are... Really nice stuff.

My husband's app was a taro-wrapped venison loin, tomato relish, miso bean salad, pomelo mayo, and curried quail egg. I had grilled foie gras, poached tomato, sake fig syrup and truffle foam.

Our mains: black bean prawns, shitake mushroom tempura, smoked mango jam, pea-sprout and hijiki salad. I had potato wrapped black cod with ginger beet pavé, scallops on a sugar cane skewer and jasmine tea and thai chili jus.

For dessert my husband had a pear concoction, a poached pear stuffed with a white chocolate mixture, served with a quenelle of ginger vanilla pear butter and a sesame roasted pear (the really tiny ones, I forget the name) and gooseberry fritters on a candied vanilla pod skewer with ginger lemongrass anglaise. I was testing the winter menu's new dessert which is a hollowed persimmon, with a pumpkin brulée and some kind of small cakey thing which I have to find out what it was, a pumpkin seed cinnamon brittle and a tuile with pumpkin foam. Sorry, I haven't figured out what everything was yet.

We had a fabulous Argentinian wine, which I later found out is only available at the restaurant. Bummer!
Joined Jan 5, 2001
..by the way, any thoughts on the non-menu related aspects of the theme? It would be nice if the music and decor tied in with the courses of the meal... When you walk into the room, it should say 1940's swing-fest. How to achieve this? I'm drawing blanks...:confused:
Joined Mar 13, 2001

Would it be Forelle pears? They are one of the smallest varieties of pears and my favourite! :lips:
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