The Daily Telegraph

When a dinner party turns into a test of tact

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SIR – Memories of my first dinner party came flooding back while reading William Sitwell’s piece (Features, September 9).

I was living in Kenya, newly married, and had never cooked, but I boldly invited my husband’s commanding officer and his wife. The local guinea fowl did not fit into my Baby Belling stove, so a friend’s cook prepared them and delivered them by bicycle. My pudding was some sort of mushy grape pie on a sponge base, presented on a paper lace doily on a silver salver.

All was going swimmingly until I realised that the doily had melded with the soggy sponge – and the guests, manfully and without comment, were chomping their way through it.

Sandra Hawke

Andover, Hampshire

SIR – I would take issue with one of William Sitwell’s dinner party tips: cancelling isn’t always an easy option, even with plenty of notice.

Some years ago, an American couple invited us to dinner about a month ahead of the date. During the week before, we had a close family bereavemen­t. I phoned and said we’d be unable to come on Saturday.

The response: “You’ve got to. I’ve laid the table!” It was only Tuesday. Marlene Kemp

Walton-on-thames, Surrey

 ??  ?? Compliment­s to the chef: an advertisem­ent for Batchelors soup from 1952
Compliment­s to the chef: an advertisem­ent for Batchelors soup from 1952

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