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Napkin Folding Pictures

Food History Fashion & Fads
Napkin Folding Pictures
1923 Edition
Mrs Beeton's Family Cookery

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

Mrs Beeton's Napkin Folding Illustrations 1923 Edition

Napery reached an art form some time ago and 10 methods of folding napkins are illustrated in the 1923 edition of the book.  Many of these napkin folds are still used today in catering. 

It was obviously a very important feature to set the table just so.

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1923 Edition of Mrs. Beeton's Family Cookery Book

Here are some napkin folding fashion plates from the book

To make these folded napkins you will need crisp linen for best results.

The Slipper

Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of a lily.

The Lily

Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of a rose. Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of a bishop. Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of a fan. Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of mitre.
The Rose The Bishop The Fan The Mitre
Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of a boar's head. Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of the vase. Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of the sachet. Napery. Picture of stages of a napkin fold in the style of boats.
The Boar's Head The Vase The Sachet Boats

By the Victorian era, many wealthier households had open or closed 'ranges' to cook food. These were labour making devices that needed staff to run them. Such ranges needing feeding with coal and needed to be lit early to warm effectively, kept clean and maintained.

By the 1880s, Gas was introduced into British towns clearly on the map. Gas fired stoves gave a cook more control. Control in the kitchen had been missing and gas stoves were the first real attempt to maintain and control temperature.  Even so, I find my 1923 the 'new edition' makes no mention of cooking temperatures as such and so the best recipes to follow are those that are cooked on the top of the stove.

However, you can still use the old art of napery as shown above.   Fold your crisp napkins into some of these interesting shapes and create a talking point at the table.  They are perfect for special celebrations such as New Year's Eve, Easter, Weddings, anniversaries, Valentines' Day and Christmas and other festivals.   Soft fabric napkins do not fold as well as sharp crisp linen will fold.

Catering students will find them very useful when doing seminar presentations.  It's also interesting to note how these artful constructions are so very different from napkin place settings of the 1990s and the noughties where simplicity has taken over in all, but the most ostentatious restaurants.

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See Topics Below for More Ideas on Christmas Traditions, Customs, and Recipes

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