Century-Old Advice for Giving an Awesome Toast

drawing of woman making a speech
Source: Source: Stickney & Poor advertisement, American Cookery (November, 1919)

Making a toast can be nerve-racking. And, it’s always especially stressful to decide what to say. It may be a little out of date, but here is some hundred-year-old advice:

Toasts for Dinner Occasions

Since much of the enjoyment of good toasts comes from clever local allusions, it would be difficult to make specific suggestions for dinners in general. Almost any subject, if well handled, will stimulate a good response. Such topics of current interest as the coal strike and the “wet” and “dry” issues, treated with humor and without political bias, furnish unfailing springs of interest.

Local practices and happenings, covert and complimentary allusions to the guest of honor, or to the business or profession of other prominent guests will be in order.

American Cookery (December, 1919)

27 thoughts on “Century-Old Advice for Giving an Awesome Toast

  1. Nerve-racking, indeed! The first time I met my son-in-law’s parents we had invited them over for dinner. They toast like crazy! And the toasts were frequent and lengthy. Even though my daughter warned us about this ahead of time I still could not think of anything to say. Fortunately my husband was able to add a few short toasts into the mix. 🙂

  2. Love this line: “treated with humor and without political bias, furnish unfailing springs of interest.” That could be the best advice for everyone everywhere in every situation. I want to be an unfailing spring of interest in all I do.

  3. I recognized that little character standing on the counter, off to the side. It reminds me of the old Reddy Kilowatt — remember him? He served sort of the same function as that abominable paper clip named Clippy that used to be a part of Microsoft Office.

      1. My father also had a tie clip with Reddy Kilowatt on it. I don’t remember him ever actually wearing it, but it was in the box with his other tie clips.

    1. Now that you mention it, I do remember Reddy Kilowatt. I hadn’t thought about him in years. The figure in the drawing actually is a character associated with the Stickney and Poor Spice Company. The ad is about a woman expounding on the reasons why Stickney & Poor’s spices are so good. The ad and the story about toasts actually are from different places. I found a short article about toasts in an issue of American Cookery. I then started flipping through other issues trying to find a picture to illustrate it. I was amazed when I found this advertisement. Even though I did it, maybe it’s not really appropriate to combine two things like that. Not sure.

    1. hmm. . . I can’t even imagine where I’d start, but I bet that some of the actors who do improvision could come up with a really funny skit.

    1. I wonder what the etymology of “toast” is. It intriguing that two things that are so different from each other, both are called the same thing.

  4. I love the title of the source… Stickney and Poor Advertisement. I was never good at speeches, my brother inherited all that charm.😄

  5. Thank you for the post; it should be read by a lot of people! Its advice to celebrate together, without political bias should be heeded by us all. With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s even more timely!

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