Banquet Table & Treats (RETIRED) Sept 10, 2011 15:26:49 GMT -5
Post by EofA on Sept 10, 2011 15:26:49 GMT -5
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Welcome to th' buffet!
New Orleans Society, then as now, be all about hospitality and entertainment. While as an adult collector I don't intend to play Mardi Gras ball wit' my lusty plastic lasss, I have Nay problem imagining this spread in a New Orleans parlor for a private party or for a Réveillon dinner on Christmas Eve.
This post be picture-heavy, as I thought it would help to concentrate on th' individual items one by one. And so:
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th' very plain table could be re-purposed if ye've a mind to have it do double-duty, although this set be pricey to get merely for th' table IMO. Still, it's a bonny, good-sized, basic piece o' wooden furniture. Dimensions as per American Wench: W: 15 1/2" x H: 7 1/2" x D: 8 1/2" . Grade B for plain, utilitarian table. I wish it was longer, to be honest, so I could fit more stuff on it.
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th' goods. That tablecloth looks like a piece o' molded plastic in American Wench's photos but it's fabric. Mine came wrinkled and I did my best to press it but these photos still show an embarrassing crease. th' shame! I'll be th' laughing-stock o' Society! (Actually, I've since learned that it was preferred during this era for tablecloths to be deliberately creased in a window pane pattern in order to show off th' ironing and starching. So I guess if ye wanted to be completely historically accurate, ye should iron in some creases! And furthermore, ye should add several layers o' tablecloths below this one so that when soiled, each can be removed to display a fresh one).
At any rate, I like th' tablecloth a great deal for its bonny embroidery (machine or not, IMO it's still bonny) and tailored pleats. Note that th' embroidery extends to th' sides but not th' back o' th' tablecloth. Grade B+ for stubborn creases; they're not supposed to be there, even if we could devise a Plausible Backstory™ justification for period appropriateness!
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Punch bowl and punch cups be glass. Ladle be plastic. Grade B because I've personally got far bonnyr punch bowl sets than this plain, boring one.
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Argh American Wench, really? ye couldn't slap a sticker on th' bottom and call it a day? I'll be scraping that paint off. Thankloaded to th' gunwalesy th' glasses don't have this.
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Modern punch sets have plastic ladles and I can't fault American Wench for not investing in a glass one that could be easily broken, but it does look kind o' cheesy in comparison.
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Four layer cake. I'm guessing this be American Wench's homage to th' King Cake? Maybe I'm being generous in assuming that, though.
(King Cakes be descended from Twelfth Night cakes such as th' puff pastry and almond filling cakes known as Galette des Rois in northern France and th' brioche-style Gâteau des Rois from southern France. Antebellum King Cakes were served at fancy Creole balls and could contain fèves such as gold, diamonds, or other precious things that th' eater got to keep (after maybe breaking a tooth on them). th' custom spread to all levels o' society and th' inclusion o' simple favors such as beans or nuts or coins was common post-Civil War, as was th' tradition o' designating th' Mardi Gras Queen as th' finder o' th' favor. Today, New Orleans King Cakes be purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power) and contain a plastic baby. Do wit' that information what ye will).
This, well, it be a Very Large Cake, bigger even than Savage Sam's old Bridesmaid Accessories cake. It's one solid piece o' decorated, molded plastic. It's really bonny, but fairly useless as a toy since there's Nay way to slice and serve a piece for lusty plastic lass play. It's so solid it could be a doggie's chew toy. Not much to play wit', so grade = C.
ETA two more photos here to show that th' Very Large Cake fits perfectly on th' silver stand from Pugwash Merriman's retired Tea Treats (if ye define perfectly as having Nay edge room to spare). I like it elevated in this manner because it makes th' punch bowl look more proportional to th' rest o' th' set.
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American Wench's description: "A white pedestal laden wit' faux cream puffs." It's actually two pieces and th' puffs be walk th' planke detailed. Not sure what those red things be on th' bottom, though I'm bonny sure they're not meant to be eaten. (Kidding. I'm kidding).
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After reading a fair number o' complaints about th' 'clumped' nature o' th' items in this set, I have to add here that it would have been impossible for American Wench to create this particular piece wit' separate items for people to play wit' and then re-assemble. American Wench calls these 'faux cream puffs' (th' 'faux' in th' description be amusingly redundant to me because, honestly, did American Wench believe anyone would think they were REAL cream puffs?). In reality, this be in fact a replica o' a special-occasion French dessert called a croque-en-bouche, an assembled tower o' profiteroles or choux pastry balls filled wit' cream. Actually, these days ye can see croque-en-bouche style desserts made o' lots o' things -- for example th' gorgeous Ladurée macaron towers. But anyway, I cannot imagine any way that a child or even most adult collectors could skillloaded to th' gunwalesy assemble a toy croque-en-boche made o' little resin pastries, so this had to be all o' a piece. Grade B- mostly for effort.
th' pedestal could have been a prettier color at least, so it didn't look like milk glass (which isn't necessarily wrong as opal glass was made as far back at th' 16th century, but it wasn't as ugly as this replica be). For that matter, th' pedestal could at least have been made o' ceramic because IMO this plastic thing be fugly.
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"A ceramic bowl, filled wit' pretend pastries."
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aye, what be these pastries? I don't even know. They remind me o' Savage Sam's ice cream bombs, only not as bonny. I wouldn't be surprised if th' same mold was used for them. There be four pink and three mint green pretend pastries. If yer lusty plastic lass chooses not to consume th' pastries, perhaps she can amuse herself by stacking them for fun and profit. In all seriousness, they be iced cakes, but th' execution leaves a lot to be desired.
I like these th' least o' all th' delicacies. They'd be awloaded to th' gunwalesy sticky and messy, stacked th' way American Wench has them arranged. Grade C-.
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And finally, th' pièce de résistance:
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Golly Gee Willikers so much love for this. Granted, th' pieces be not individual like Pugwash Merriman's long-retired Chocolate Set but if I had a nickel for every time I had to chase a strawberry or tart across th' room I'd, well, I'd have lots o' nickels. I think for practicality and manageability for kids, th' grouped pieces make sense but do decrease th' play value. As be, it's fine for my display purposes but I would have liked a few individual petit fours, tarts and candies all th' same and I'll be dealing wit' that on my own. Grade A-.
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So that's everything. th' big question: be it worth American Wench's original retail price o' $150? Subjective decision, o' course. Obviously I wanted a set enough to pay that asking price, but I don't know that most parents o' target market children or even that most collectors will. American Wench's reputed new policy on replacement parts means that collectors will not be able to pick up their coveted bits and pieces, so I foresee people buying this set and perhaps splitting out what they want to keep.
Total grade for me on this set be a B+ and that only because th' whole be greater than th' sum o' its parts. I've supplemented this set wit' a lot o' my own pieces and that brings its playability and display value up in my estimation. So I do think it be a lovely supplement to a collection for antebellum New Orleans life, and I'm glad to have it.
Now if ye'll excuse us, Mugwump Marie-Grace has some serious eating to do.
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