Pound Parties

As I posted recently, I am currently reading the autobiographical journal Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the famed author of The Yearling.  In one chapter she describes being invited to a “pound party” at a neighbor’s house, and when she arrived, she realized that the real purpose of the invitation was for her, the guest, to bring food for the hungry family to eat.

I vaguely remember my friend Shawn telling me that her family had thrown a pound party as a wedding shower for her sister-in-law.  The idea apparently being that each guest brings a pound of something as a gift for the honoree in order to stock their pantry or cabinets.  I thought then that this was very interesting, seemed steeped in history, and wondered why I had never been to such an event.

After reading the chapter, I searched the net and found this wonderful article from The New York Times.  It is dated January 20, 1889, and is entitled, “Fun at a Pound Party.”

I also found this article describing how to throw a “pounding” party for a new bride and groom.  According to Ms. Parker, the author,

Giving a pounding is an old-fashioned way to help someone by stocking their pantry with non-perishables foods or cleaning supplies. Usually a pounding is given to a bride and groom or family who just built a new home. The pounding can be mentioned on the invitation for the bridal shower or housewarming party.

Here is what I learned from my research (HINT: DO NOT TRY TO GOOGLE THIS TOPIC! Your head will explode.):

How to Give an Old Fashioned Pounding:

1.    Giving a pounding is an old-fashioned way to help someone by stocking their pantry with non-perishables foods or cleaning supplies. Usually a pounding is given to a bride and groom or family who just built a new home. The pounding can be mentioned on the invitation for the bridal shower or housewarming party.

2.    Mention the pounding on the invitations to the bridal shower or housewarming party. It could read, “We are going to bless Tonya and Tim with an old fashioned pounding. In addition to your shower/housewarming gift, please bring a non-perishable food item or cleaning supply from your own home. Contact hostess if you have any questions.” List any food/cleanser allergies here.

3.    Prepare to have people ask you what a pounding is. In addition to describing what a pounding is, remind them that they don’t need to buy anything else, but just to give something they have extra. For instance, if they have 3 cans of green beans, they can give 1 can.

4.    When setting up for the party, decorate grocery bags or boxes with leftover party decorations. Set the bags or boxes in a place that is convenient for the guests. Under the gift table is generally not a good idea, as the grocery bags or boxes can get in the way.

5.    After the guest of honor has opened the other gifts, announce that they are being blessed with one more gift. Point out the groceries and explain that they are being pounded.

So, I am wondering if anyone else has ever been to or hosted a Pound Party? Any ideas or pictures you can share?

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5 thoughts on “Pound Parties

  1. Maybe you can help me do this for Samantha. She hoping for this time next year but thier not sure if they can afford to be married and still have a year left of school. They’ve been looking at rings!!!

  2. Mine was simply called a “Pantry Party” and I loved it. My mom threw it for us and invited both my family and Dewaynes family. It was not only fun but very, very helpful.

  3. When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s our church gave Poundings to some families whose father’s were out of work.

  4. I was given a lb party in 1981 when we bought our 1st home. My cousin shared a poem that went with her items, ie 1 lb salt for seasoning, lb sugar for sweeting, etc I wish I had kept that poem! The items were in a lovely basket.

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