I think Fanny Cradock was a frustrated wedding planner. She was forever banging on about 'suitable' things to make, and ways to decorate your own home 'simply' for the reception. She was determined to plan it, even if you didn't ask her to. She tells us she had recently decided to give a reception for someone or other which was 'one of those occasions Johnnie and I were driven almost hairless', which doesn't sound like the most glowing of references does it? My dear blogging pal, Cakeyboi, recently got married to Disneyboi on a trip to Canada. They are having their reception soon back home, but sadly I am unable to make it, as I will be away. I'm gutted. Perhaps they'd benefit from some of Fanny's advice instead - no need to thank me Cakey, Disney and anyone else planning a big bash, just call it my wedding gift to you...
Fanny insisted that she catered the wedding without any hired help whatsoever. It simply wouldn't be fair to those of us that cannot hire any help for her to do so. So she didn't. She only had the help of her army of assistants, who were already on board I imagine. No need to hire any more. Fanny's wedding plans are all based around Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue. I do hope Cakey and Disney are paying attention to this. Don't hire any help. There are more detailed suggestions to come.
For something old, Fanny insisted an old tradition be revived. A Receiving Arch. Presumably to be received under. Essential for a wedding. She gives detailed instructions on it's construction. Diagrams and plans. For something new, it's an idea to have two cakes - a three-tiered one and a fancy nancy French one, a Croquembouche. Fanny borrows an idea in the shape of making a third cake, or set of cakes, for the Bridesmaids. Seemingly it's a good trick, as they too will become brides one day and will remember your kindness by asking you to cater their wedding too. The gift that keeps on giving. The something blue is a homemade ice-bucket for the champagne, made by filling a plastic bucket with water, coloured blue, frozen (if you can find a freezer large enough), removed from the bucket, hollowed out ready for the bottle to be inserted. And then melts all over your impressive table, presumably?
Fanny is full of helpful advice that I am sure Cakey and Disney will be pleased to have. 'Continue whipping until very stiff' are excellent words of encouragement in themselves for newly-weds, but Fanny also suggests that you 'neaten off your blobs and stud them with glacé cherries' just to be sure. Fanny continues with her words of wisdom. 'Just line them all up, and go down the line and PUSH, PUSH, PUSH' and if need be 'spread all over and right down to the base of each side, before you slip them in.' Fanny reassures us that 'when it comes to filling and clapping together in pairs' that there is nothing to it really, 'no skill, just patience and a steady hand'. Indeed Johnnie 'always steadies his hand with the other and supports his elbow on the table.' So fear not Cakey and Disney, all will be well.
This advice may not suit all however, especially those challenged by temperature control. Fanny says 'if by any chance you suffer from hot, moist hands' you can forget about doing it yourself. The 'excessive palm moisture will penetrate' seemingly and everything will just stick. No-one wants that, especially at a wedding. So there we have it Cakey and Disney, all the advice you will ever need for a perfect wedding reception. Fanny does warn though that 'after a while the skin on your finger-tips will become hard', so take extra care won't you? She's talking about the Croquembouche, clearly. You knew that though, right? Enjoy the reception!