Clear, cut glass dishes lighten summer table settings

During early Georgian years hostesses were highly concerned with the serving of desserts. They indulged in a ritual called "dressing out of desserts" for their parties and other festive social gatherings.

Clear glass dishes of various sizes and shapes were favored so that the color of the dessert might be more fully appreciated. And, at times, a "correct" hostess offered a pyramid of desserts.

Footed salvers (much like today's footed cake plates) of diminishing sizes were piled one upon the other to provide tiers for desserts in glasses that we think of today as sherbets, parfaits, and large-bowled goblets. It was not unusual for a hostess to require three dozen of the salvers for the presentation of the many desserts served and consumed at an 18th-century gala.

Today, vintaged or contemporary glass pieces -- sherbets, goblets, bowls, plates, and so on -- continue to "lighten" a table setting. And clear patterned glass brings a charming "frost" to a table on a warm day.

A colorful cold fruit or vegetable soup becomes a hard-to-resist luncheon inclusion when served in a small glass bowl on a glass plate. And cold carrot soup is not only a pretty color, but is refreshing in the summertime. Cold Carrot Soup 10 carrots 2 cups of water 1 can undiluted potato soup 1 green pepper

Boil carrots in water until tender. Add undiluted soup which has first been brought to a boil and cooled. Pour into blender and blend until smooth.

Float slice of green pepper or, if preferred, chopped fresh spinach, on soup when served in glass bowls. Makes four servings.

A timely way to use large-bowled goblets, during this year when Prince Charle's wedding is a simmertime highlight, would be to serve Prince of Wales Russe. This "royal" treat was introduced around the turn of the century and lends itself to modern interpretation. And because the russe requires a short time in the oven, use a pretty oven-proof souffle dish for the presentation of it at the table and spoon the russe into the goblets. Prince of Wales Russe 18 to 20 ladyfingers 13-once package egg custard mix 2 1/2 cups milk 6 good-sized peaches

Split ladyfingers and line sides and bottom of souffle dish (2 quart) with them. Prepare custard mix according to instructions on package, increasing amount of milk to 2 1/2 cups. Remove from heat and cool. Pour mixture into souffle dish and cover with waxed paper.

Peel and slice peaches. Dotting with lemon juice will prevent browning. Do not cover custard with peaches until just prior to serving and you have first prepared a favorite meringue topping. Spread meringue in ring over peaches and with knife lift meringue in large peaks to resemble a crown for royalty. Place in pre-heated 500 degree F. oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned.

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