Shake ‘Em Up

September 16, 2009

A friend stopped into town last week for a visit and handed me a paper handled bag filled with vintage books. “Here,” she said. “Teri found these at an Estate Sale and thought immediately of you!” I happily accepted them and tossed the bag into the trunk of my car.

A few days passed before I had time to sift through my lovely gifts. I love old books – the way they smell, the feel of the paper, the penciled in notes from previous owners, and most of all, the content. There were definitely some interesting titles here, “69 Ration Recipes for MEAT”, no publish year listed, but early 1940s assumed. “Living in State – The Adventures of a Foreign Service Wife” – published 1959. And my personal favorite “Shake ‘Em Up” – A practical handbook of polite drinking, published in 1931.

“Shake ‘Em Up” is filled with gems like, what to serve if conversation languishes and your party needs a “Shot in the Arm”. Haven’t we all been there?
Or, how to prepare a phony bottle of booze, a “Bottle for a Certain Purpose”, for that party guest who doesn’t know when to say when. I may know one or two of those sorts!
And one I’ve tried just recently, “Hot Weather Drinks” – which “consist of Juleps, Highballs and Rickeys, and also the magnificent John Collins, whoever he was.” My latest Summer soiree was a hit thanks in large part to the Joe Rickey, a whiskey, lime, and seltzer concoction that looked fantastic served in my tall vintage ice tea glasses!

This skinny little hardcover publication “made for people who fling parties, people who go to parties, people who just have a table of Bridge, people who don’t really drink but feel that a cocktail or two enlivens conversation – in short for the American people in the twelfth year of Volstead, 1930.” is chock full of drinking etiquette, recipes and menu suggestions that may have been written for a certain time, and even a certain American, but prove no less entertaining and valuable today. My parties and gatherings will indeed be richer for its discovery!

I’ll leave you with this final excerpt on the possible ways to stave off the impending hangover. Cheers to the party flingers!

“Try to impress upon your subconscious that you must not go to sleep or to bed while your head is whirling. The penalty is a marvelous hangover. Drink quantities of water and hot coffee and keep moving; take violent exercise if you can. An extremely hot bath is also recommended, though it induces drowsiness. Another successful antidote for imprudent absorption is a series of long and very deep breaths. Fill your lungs completely, but rather slowly. The amount of alcohol one can work off in this way is amazing.”