Hostess Snack Sets

I have this collection of Hostess Snack Sets.

I’ll bet someone in your family had a set, if not several.  They’re those beautiful little glass plates, with a little matching punch cup, and an upraised ring on the plate so the cup can’t slide.  They’re delicate and petite… just enough space for a triangular sandwich with the crust cut off and some chips, or perhaps a slice of cake, three butter mints and a spoonful of mixed nuts.

Through the good fortune of family hand-me-downs and fellowship halls making room for paper plates, I’ve acquired over a hundred… maybe two hundred of these lovely clear plates with their special little cups.  I love to use them.   Attending a grand celebration with an elaborate feast is always marvelous.  Beautiful wedding dinners, anniversary celebrations, fabulous dining halls in old mansions… oh yes, I love a good feast!  But I cherish the thought of those simpler gatherings, where the fare was a delicious pimiento cheese sandwich, Lay’s potato chips, and a pastel fruit punch made with sherbet and ginger ale, all served on a glass hostess snack set.

As I typically do when I’m writing like this – I’ve paused for a very long time here, remembering wedding receptions in the Portales Women’s Club Building, baby showers in the homes of all those wonderful church ladies of my childhood, my own rice-bag-making party for all my young cousins just before I was married, and one particular party has stayed at the top of the memory list today.  It’s a bingo party.

My Nana sold Stanley Home Products.  (Someday I may have to tell some Germtrol stories, but they just don’t belong in this kinder, gentler piece!)  Every year she had a bingo party for the women who sold under her.  It was during the holidays, and it was so festive.  She prepared for it throughout the year, buying all kinds of prizes for the winners.  One year I was her little helper.  I don’t remember for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the helping meant that I was to play my guitar and do some “special numbers” for the entertainment.

This was no high-society affair.  It was a group of hard-working, small town women who made a few extra dollars selling scouring pads and furniture polish.  And they sat around Nana’s dining room table playing bingo, winning spatulas and faux pearl necklaces, laughing and enjoying their friendships.  And the meal was served on the pretty little snack sets.  And I helped prepare each plate, placing the maraschino cherry on top of the cottage cheese just so.

Paper plates are easier.  You don’t have to have 4 hostesses standing in the kitchen washing those glass plates to keep rotating them for the next guests arriving at the 2:00 to 4:00, Come-and-Go, Sunday afternoon, 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in the Hospitality Room of the First National Bank.  But those sure were special times, weren’t they?

The next time you come over to my barn, you may be eating one of those crust-cut-off-diagonal sandwiches.  I hope you’ll love it served up on such a pretty little plate.

7 Responses to “Hostess Snack Sets”

  1. Linda Davis says:

    oh yes the snack sets! We break them out at church for showers…love it! Of course you can’t drink out of the cups without your pinky automatically sticking out! :O)

  2. Marcea Clive says:

    Love this story. Some were round and some were square. You have quite a collection.

  3. Cheryl says:

    I love these plates as well. Years ago I bought a set at a flea market even though it was missing one cup. About a year ago the same set I have came up on an ebay site I was browsing. Well, I had to have them much to Brie’s annoyance! Turns out there are quite a few available in this particular pattern. It is actually really heavy. So far I haven’t had a party with mine…only have about 10…but that is my plan. I’m amazed you have so many. And I would love to eat a “fancy” sandwich off one of yours!

  4. Lawanda Calton says:

    Once again the reels are running in my head as I read your words of days gone by! I can see faces, hear voices and taste the pimento cheese! Thank you again for this wonderful “memory”!!

  5. Robin Green says:

    My mom was in two ladies’ groups: the Saturday Afternoon Club, and the Dry Creek Club. I remember the preparation of treats and sandwiches, carefully carrying the plates in to serve, drinking the punch made from 7-Up and sherbet. Clubs of that kind don’t exist in the small town I grew up in anymore. But stashed away in many basements and attics are boxes of snack sets awaiting the light of day.

  6. Sue Moore says:

    What fun to read and remember!
    My mom had some of these sets. I know she felt like such a lady when she was able to use them to serve her guests.
    As Bob Hope used to sing, “Thanks for the memories…”
    Smiles ~ Sue

  7. Mary Anne says:

    Sandy, I love your trips down memory lane. My mom had a few of these. I got some green ones when I got married but have never used them. Keep thinking I should use them but either I don’t have enough for what I am doing or I am just too lazy. Maybe one of these days there will be a party just the right size. I think they make a party much nicer. You are lucky to have so many.
    Thanks again for the memory.

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