They made a specialty of sandwich-salad-coffee lap suppers

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "They made a specialty of sandwich-salad-coffee lap suppers" means in the following sentences:

It was a frail and blue and lonely Carol who trotted to the flat of the Johnson Marburys for Sunday evening supper. Mrs. Marbury was a neighbor and friend of Carol's sister; Mr. Marbury a traveling representative of an insurance company. They made a specialty of sandwich-salad-coffee lap suppers, and they regarded Carol as their literary and artistic representative. She was the one who could be depended upon to appreciate the Caruso phonograph record, and the Chinese lantern which Mr. Marbury had brought back as his present from San Francisco.

- Sinclair Lewis, Main Street, Chapter 2

Carol was working as a librarian at St. Paul Library, and was not very satisfied with her work. Then one day, she came to visit the Marburys for Sunday evening supper.

In this part, I could not grasp what exactly they did. What does it mean that they "made a specialty"?
And what does "sandwich-salad-coffee lap suppers" mean? Does it mean that they placed the sandwich and salad and coffee and all on a tray and put it on their lap and enjoyed?

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    This should mean that they normally ate simple suppers that could be held in the lap during their informal social gatherings, Tea Addict. Lewis is trying to tell you that they didn't meet regularly to have formal dinners at a big dining table. Instead, they got together occasionally to have a bite to eat and socialize for a while.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear owlman5,

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    Then does the expression "make a specialty of lap suppers" mean they usually ate lap suppers, rather than they were good at cooking and serving lap suppers?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You are welcome. If this is a private social gathering, I believe that some member of this little group prepared the meals. I believe that all members of this little group ate something as they socialized.
     
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