How I Made My Husband Happy This Summer
By MARION FAIRFAX (Mrs. [Tully] Marshall)
(Author and Playright [sic])
If you want to keep your husband happy in hot weather, give him those things to eat and drink that he likes, and that are good for him. You note the saving clause, “that are good for him.” If he like meats, let him have few of them and seldom, for however he clamors for them they are not good for him in hot weather. Don’t let him eat meat oftener than once a day, better two or three times a week. Meat heats the blood and fires the temper. If necessary for his welfare substitute for the things he likes the things that are good for him. But if you can combine them so much the better. You will have averted the day of wrath.
Husband will expect his alcoholic beverages in Summer as well as Winter, though he himself knows they add to the discomfort of hot weather. Wean him away from them by cooling drinks containing little or no alcohol. My husband I keep in good humor by serving on the veranda or in the dining room, according to our convenience, the following:
On a warm day this is delectable:
Four tablespoonfuls of sugar.
Slice the cucumber lengthwise, keeping the rind on it. Rub these slices inside the pitcher, as an Italian cook rubs a dish with garlic before placing vegetables in it. Squeeze the juice of the lemons into the pitcher. Stir the sugar into the juice and pour in chilled, not ice, water to taste. The addition of the cucumber flavor adds distinctly to the deliciousness of the drink. If husband insists, add a dash of claret.
For a quaffing on a hot day this is incomparable.
One pint of claret.
One teacupful sugar.
Mix the lemon juice and sugar as I before described. Add the claret and ice freely, and make strong or weak as desired.
One of the most complete pictures of masculine good humor I ever saw was that of my father, a Southerner, making a mint julep. Perhaps you do not know that there are two schools of mint julep makers in the South, and that there are rival claims as fiercely contested as the seats of the 92 in the recent convention. One school contends that the mint should be spread over the top of the glass that the drinker may enjoy the full fragrance of the mint. The other school heatedly maintains that the mint should be crushed in the bottom of the glass, where it is mixed with the sugar and increases the pungent flavor of the drink, sacrificing the pleasures of the nose to those of the stomach. My father was an ardent follower of the crush school. He taught me to make the mint juleps in the way with which I regale Mr. Marshall, the one true way my father would say.
THE MINT JULEP.
One-half tumbler crushed ice.
One tablespoonful of sugar.
One large bunch of mint fresh from its bed
Crush the mint with the ice and sugar. Add the spirits to taste. Then fill the glass with the rest of the mint and ice.
I always keep a quantity of cold tea on hand in my Summer home. Cold tea is the best foundation for all the fruit punches. This can be easily prepared.
One large cup of mixed tea.
Juice of a large fresh lime.
One pound brown sugar.
One quart sherry.
Boil the lime juice and sugar together to form a syrup, flavoring them with a spoonful of any favorite preserves from your pantry. Remove from the stove. Pour in sherry and chopped ice.
If Mr. Marshall shows any warm weather testiness, he is quickly appeased by a pear salad.
I cut three large, ripe pears into narrow, lengthwise strips, sprinkle over them a dash of rum and serve with French dressing.
It is green corn time, and to me green corn is the backbone of the Summer edible season. Corn only has a really corny flavor if you have the water boiling on the stove when we go out to pull the ears. We bring them in and, leaving the husks on, shred the ear as well as we can of its silk tassels. The corn is thrust into the boiling water. The corn silk is spread over the top of the water. This keeps in the steam and none of the flavor of the corn is lost by evaporation. Literally it returns unto itself.
Two desserts are my husband’s summer favorites.
Into these I introduced fruit variants according to the season.
One cup of milk.
Two cups of flour.
Two teaspoonfuls baking powder.
One cupful of cherries.
Beat the egg into the cup of milk. Mix with the flour the baking powder. Stir all these into a batter and add a pinch of salt. Stir in the cupful of cherries that have been pitted and well dredged with flour. This keeps them from sticking to the bottom of the pudding. Place it in a cooking mold and put into the fireless cooker with a hot dish above and below. Then go away to a picnic if you like. You can be gone for four hours and when you come home the pudding is done.
The St Louis [MO] Star and Times 1 September 1912: p. 20
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: While some readers may wish to try these receipts at home on their spouses, Mrs Daffodil will here issue a firm disclaimer that she takes no responsibility for ensuing injuries or divorces.
It is axiomatic, of course, that the husband must be kept in a constant state of good humour for the peace of the household and that it is the wife’s duty to ensure that he is happy.
[Brief pause for derisive laughter and/or outrage.]
It is true that some spouses (of both sexes) desire nothing more than the comfort and well-being of their opposite number. This policy, if voluntarily adopted, may lead to a happy and united home.
However, Mrs Daffodil is sceptical that the authoress really grasps her subject. Not only does she treat her lord and master as a kind of “husband-baby*” who does not know what is good for him, she seems to have a positively archaic notion of diet and health: “Meat heats the blood and fires the temper” would seem not out of place in the scheme of Galenic medicine or at King Henry VIII’s court. (Although it occurs to Mrs Daffodil that this capricious, meat-loving, claret-swilling husband has much in common with that irascible monarch.)
And, even as a working author, she is expected to serve up cooling drinks on the veranda in an immaculately pressed summer frock, as if she had done nothing else but pluck mint the entire day, making soothing conversation to placate the over-heated husband, who only longs for a steak and a glass of something drinkable. In the illustration at the head of this article, he looks conspicuously inebriated. No doubt he insisted on extra claret.
Mrs Daffodil does not like to suggest that the authoress was writing a work of fiction, but a character in a novel who became wroth when denied meat and alcoholic stimulants, yet was easily appeased by a pear salad, would be declared by a majority of readers to be utterly implausible. If, in fact, he was so appeased, either he had already had a substantial luncheon at his club, or a good deal of rum must have been surreptitiously applied to those pears, perhaps via a concealed flask.
Mrs Daffodil wonders how the author, one of the most distinguished playwrights in the United States and a woman who would a few years later start her own successful film production company, could write such perfect rot, but perhaps she was merely telling her audience what she thought they wanted to hear. Or the heat and the dash of claret may have gone to her head.
*The phrase is that of novelist Rosie M. Banks, a creation of P.G. Wodehouse.
Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes
You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.