dessert called, perhaps a shade hysterically

AlexanderIII

Senior Member
Russian
Dear all,
this from the story 'The Game' by Dorothy Parker (1948).

The dinner itself might well have been planned by the same mind that had devised the décor: black bean soup, crab meat and slivers of crab shell done in cream, roasted crown of lamb with bone tips decently encased in little paper drawers, tiny hard potatoes, green peas ruined by chopped carrots, asparagus instead of salad, and the dessert called, perhaps a shade hysterically, cherries Jubilee.

The dessert consists of black cherries and vanilla ice-cream. It is served being sprinkled with brandy and set on fire. Why hysterically?
  1. of, relating to, characterized by, or suffering from hysteria.
  2. uncontrollably emotional or agitated:nearly hysterical after the accident.
  3. very funny; hilarious.
Neither of the meanings seems to make any sense. Could you help out please?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    the dessert called, perhaps a shade hysterically, cherries Jubilee.= the dessert called cherries Jubilee, a name that was somewhat laughably inappropriate.

    Dorothy Parker is suggesting that a pile of flaming cherries does not really evoke a "jubilee" and it would be ridiculous to think that it did.
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    the dessert called, perhaps a shade hysterically, cherries Jubilee.= the dessert called cherries Jubilee, a name that was somewhat laughably inappropriate.

    Dorothy Parker is suggesting that a pile of flaming cherries does not really evoke a "jubilee" and it would be ridiculous to think that it did.
    Cherries jubilee is a bit ludicrous because it is not golden/silver/diamon jubilee?
     
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