This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
Another form of entertaining that lends itself to the maid-less home is the cocktail party. Men and women living alone, as well as householders, find this a simple method of bringing their friends together in both small and large numbers. The larger the party, the more formal it is apt to be but this need not necessarily hold. A refectory table against the wall is the usual setting but nothing is served that cannot be eaten with the fingers. No individual silver is necessary and only a tiny napkin is used. Drinks are the special province of the host. He will make up his own shopping list and often does his own buying. He will know the particular tastes and aversions of many of the guests (in a small party, of all of them) and guide himself accordingly. A woman alone will have a relative or friend act in this capacity. Likewise, a man entertaining alone may ask his sister or friend to attend to the menu. Served with the drinks are tiny and attractive open sandwiches, made of tart, smoked or spiced ingredients. Sweets are never used, except that in every group there are those who do not use spirituous liquors, for whatever reason. For them, there should be fruit juices, ginger ale, fruitades or whatever taste dictates. Then serve sweets. In addition there should be olives, small pickles, stuffed celery, carrot strips, potato chips in their various shapes or salted nuts. In cold weather hot hors d'oeuvres served with a toothpick are especially acceptable: small filled broiled mushrooms, broiled cocktail sausages with or without a bacon wrapping, broiled olives wrapped in bacon and many others. It is well to remember that all varnished furniture needs protection from the occasional careless guest. The foot of every stemmed glass should be provided with a jacket, and tall glasses equally well protected. Have plenty of coasters in addition.