Does a young woman wearing hot pants as her “going away” outfit need tea cups and saucers, pickle trays, tiered serving stands, and a deviled egg platter?
A lot of people thought she did. Instead, she was trying to find a nice cover for the used sofa that was sharing a room with a refinished/antiqued TV, and a brick and board bookcase - a stark clash of youth culture and tradition.
I grew up in a time when some still thought young girls should assemble a trousseau for their inevitable marriage. In a perfect world it would include some things that reflected her own handiwork in the form of embroidery. As it turns out, I didn’t go that route, though in early adolescence I used to wait for a bus transfer in front of a china shop and had my “pattern” picked out. I suppose they had bridal registries in those days. If they did – and by the time I got married – I had no interest in the china, silverware, glassware etc. I was affected by feminist, “modern” social trends and rejected (or tried to) (some of?) the trappings of a typical wedding. To this day, I am somewhat puzzled by wedding registries. Why so much stuff? It’s understandable that newlyweds prefer to get what they want, but the registries can be so long, listing some things that seem inconsequential to a good life. The continued popularity of registries is surely a testament to the success of the wedding consumer industry.
Admittedly, if I’d had a registry I may not have ended up with “tea cups and saucers, pickle trays, tiered serving stands, and a deviled egg platter”.
Now here’s the kicker.
If you follow (food celebrity) Mairlyn Smith on Instagram you know she LOVES tea cups – and sometimes when I see her photos I think – hmmm – what did I do with all the ones I got? They were a very popular shower gift – and in my day probably cost about $5.00 each. In fact, guests who chose not to buy a teacup tended to donate $5 to a collection for a larger gift.
Tiered serving stands? Disposed of them all and now they are trendy again – ugh.
[Speaking of trendy – I bet there are young women today who’d love retro tea cups, and dishes for their pickling projects – and tiered serving trays. Props at a food blogger photo session I recently attended very much resembled what I have been discarding from my mom’s house. ]
The deviled egg platter? When my DIL (KBK) became part of our lives and I discovered she was fond of deviled eggs I began to make them – food as a gift of love. I didn’t go looking for the deviled egg platter, and even wondered if I had a false memory about receiving one. One day, mysteriously, it revealed itself in a cluttered cupboard – and since then I have used it countless times.
I’m becoming annoyed with myself for writing so many “reminiscences” posts – but I am emptying my mother’s house and my body, head and heart are spending hours each week in the past. The craziest reminders of my wedding have been the gift cards – yes! my mother kept them. The Shower cards were so small (costing only 10 cents) and the bridesmaids noted the gift on the reverse. Shortly after, my mother prepared a list of who gave what – to the shower and wedding – and for years after, that became her guide to gifting others. I always thought that was a peculiar thing to do, until recently an (Italian) friend said her mother did this as well. Maybe that was “a thing” at the time.
Earlier in this post I used a few “conditional” words – trying to prepare you for the fact that I was not entirely a cultural rebel. I was young and my parents exerted a fair bit of influence over many aspects of the wedding. The wedding shower – 125 women; the wedding – 300+ guests – and in those days children were welcome. They had the time of their lives running around until they collapsed. Old men became drunk singing loud ballads at the back of the hall – competing with the lively music of the gypsy band (don’t hit me with political correctness – that’s what they called themselves). The closest thing to my wedding I have ever seen on film is the wedding reception in Deer Hunter – different culture but similar vibe.
I have a visceral memory of dancing all night (waltzes, polkas and the Hungarian csardas). That part of the evening ended with a custom called “eladó a menyasszony” - literal translation - “the bride is for sale”. Yup, we did that, I liked it – doesn’t sound like a liberated young woman does it? People – women and men – threw money in a pot in order to dance/spin you around for seconds and wish you well. Close to the end, you’d dance with grandparents, parents and finally the groom. Mr KB was required to throw his wallet into the pot and after a few spins in the centre of a loving circle, he scooped me up, along with the pot of money and we ran from the hall and left to change. Loved it – and it was fun counting the cash – haha!
Times change… son #1’s wedding was on a BC beach, attended by 10 people – it was absolutely lovely!!
I haven’t done a proper inventory, but I’m not sure how many of my wedding gifts remain. Most useful and touching are my first cookbooks – one from my best friend since grade one and several amazing Hungarian cookbooks still used often. The “101 Ways to Make Hamburger” must have been discarded a long time ago.
Who could ever have predicted that I would still have, and often use, the deviled egg platter!! You just never know. Maybe gift registries are robbing young couples of serendipitous gifts!
Here’s my deviled egg recipe. Enjoy - even if you don't have a deviled egg platter!
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Would love to hear your own wedding gift memories!
[From this time last year read... "Time is on my side" about Lemon Ricotta Buns - oh yum!]