Tray Luncheon is popular for this sort of semi-official entertaining, since it is easily served and its informality creates just the atmosphere needed. A tray luncheon can be decorative as well as delicious. Matching Italian papier-mache trays, rattan trays, or brightly lacquered Japanese trays, or a set made in the school carpentery shop add interest to the party. So do novelty stainless steel knives and forks with colored plastic or wooden handles in place of your best silver.
A tray luncheon also gives you free reign in the matter of napkins, anything from large flower-printed paper napkins to fringed cotton or embroidered and hemstitched dinner-size linen. They should harmonize with the tray, however. Embroidered linen goes with the rococo Italian trays, bold solid color napkins are good with Japan lacquer, fringed cotton or paper with rattan and wood trays.
Menu for the trays might be: hot chicken or beef pie baked in individual casseroles, mold of tomato and chopped raw vegetable aspic on lettuce leaf, raspberry sherbet and cookies, and hot coffee. The same menu can be served as a buffet luncheon or at the dining-room table.
Memorial Day in countless cities, towns, and villages, school children, school bands, and other young as well as older citizens participate in memorial services at a local soldiers’ monument or military cemetery, veterans’ hospital or community center. When the services are concluded, officials and the onlookers follow an old American custom and go home to a holiday lunch. In some parts of the country a picnic is traditional, since this is the first holiday of the summer. In others, a church luncheon or lawn luncheon is served to honor the speakers and other guests.
A Home Luncheon on this occasion might be planned to entertain a guest speaker or committee member, school band leader, or family marchers in a parade, or visiting relatives. Only the most informal type of invitation, that is, by telephone or in person, is indicated.
Decoration In honor of the day, use a color scheme related to the flag’s colors. For the table centerpiece, put clusters of small American flags in two matching vases, and place one at each side of a bowl of whatever red, white, and blue flowers are available – red peonies, white peonies, blue iris, or red roses, white iris, blue larkspur . Set the table with straw mats, with bright blue, solid-color linen napkins, or a white cloth or white mat set, and blue and white china.
Menu Serve chilled tomato juice cocktail first, crisp cheese crackers; then chilled shrimp salad in lettuce leaf garnished with sliced stuffed olives, onion rings and tiny tomatoes filled with horse-radish flavored mayonnaise, and hot popovers as large as possible. For dessert, serve raspberry tarts, with hot or iced coffee or tea.
Another menu is: mixed fruit juice cocktail with anchovy canape, chicken croquettes with cheese sauce, herbed lima beans, hot biscuits and apple jelly, stewed dried apricots with whipped cream, and iced coffee or tea.
A third suggestion for this menu: iced grape juice, celery, radishes, curried rice ring filled with creamed tuna and chopped green pepper, tiny raisin muffins, orange chiffon pie, and hot or iced coffee or tea.