Transports readers back in time to lavish banquet tables set with snow-white linen tablecloths, delicate china, and sparkling crystal glasses. Detailed and entertaining stories of celebrities from the era are melded with historic menus and recipes updated for modern kitchens. Well illustrated in colour.
The excessive opulence and novel inventions of the Gilded Age spawned new opportunities for cooking-related endeavors. The restaurant and hotel industries experienced explosive growth in order to keep up with the steady stream of people flowing into large cities such as New York. Lavish banquet dinners and debutante balls hosted by high society magnates such as Ward McAllister, Caroline Astor, and Mamie Fish flourished as a way to flaunt wealth and define who was “in.” In the warmer months, social activities moved outside, including picnics, ice cream socials, strawberry fetes and festivals, and beach excursions. The holiday season was another reason for celebratory gatherings, with both Thanksgiving and Christmas typically the most carefully planned meals of the year for many families. All of these factors helped define the Gilded Age and its significance to America’s culinary history.