LUPEC's work to reveal those unknown heroines
of women's history has been going well. So well, in fact, that it took us
FOREVER to find a lady for this year's Holiday Party. The Holiday Party
is, traditionally, when LUPEC chooses a Pittsburgh Lady to honor with creation
of a cocktail created based on her story/accomplishments. Sapphi compiled
a list of notable ladies but we put the list off to the side as most of
the gals listed: Martha Graham, Gertrude Stein, Willa Cather, Julia Warhola-were
all fairly well known. Monday, Filly and Brandy hit the Pennsylvania Room
of the Carnegie Public Library and looked thru their clipping files, biography
collections and scrapbooks but either had the same problems of current fame
or just plain ho-humness (no offense to all the Club Ladies out there but,
geez, hospital volunteer work doesn't make for a good party theme). In going
thru one of the many Vanity Press Biography collections in the Pennsylvania
room, the LUPEC researchers came across a photograph of a winsome lady in
a chignon and a lovely lace dress. Who was she, this lady sharing a book
with all the Robber Barons and upscale merchants? Was she was a famous operatic
mezzo soprano or an elocutionist? Turning the page to the text, we were
rewarded with information better than any we had come up with: she was Mrs.
Jane Ferguson Wood, first woman in Allegheny County to obtain a Mortician's
We had our girl.
The lateness of our discovery did not give the good folks at the Lava Lounge much time to prepare. As usual, Del was far too good to us, coming up with a cocktail he coined "The Elegant Embalmer." It looked luscious, obviously creamy, maybe with a berry cordial tinting it pink, and white carnation petals floating on top. When he explained to us that he tried to replicate the color and consistency of embalming fluid in the drink, we hesitated only briefly. If this is the stuff they actually used to embalm you, the line at the Mortician's would be a lot longer.
The lateness of our discovery also prohibited LUPEC from spending too much money at Oriental Trading Company on party favors. Thanks to new member Salty Dog, however, we wowed the crowd with free cookies, Gingerdead Men to be precise, the traditional Gingerbread Men with X's for eyes-brilliant in their simplicity, magnificent in execution (no pun intended…).
Whether it was the free cookies or the pretty lady on
the postcard, the crowd at Lava Lounge was HUGE. Near the end of our hostessing,
there was not enough room to not get stepped on or hit with the door.
Our mailing list grew by two sheets, the fine Lava Lounge bartenders got
many tips, and the LUPEC ladies brought an amazing Pittsburgh lady back
to life, if only for a night.