HOW TO PREPARE AND SERVE A MEAL
LILLIAN B. LANSDOWN
HOW TO PREPARE AND SERVE A MEAL
I. BEFORE THE MEAL IS SERVED
II. ENTER THE WAITRESS
V. THE INFORMAL (HOME) DINNER
VI. THE FORMAL DINNER
VII. AFTERNOON TEAS
IX. OUTSIDE THE EIGHTEENTH AMENDMENT
X. CARVING HINTS
XI. PLANNING A MENU
XII. MENUS FOR A THANKSGIVING, A CHRISTMAS AND A LENTEN DINNER
I. LINES AND CURVES
II. FORM, COLOR AND PROPORTION
III. INDIVIDUAL ROOMS OF THE HOUSE
IV. LIVING-ROOM, DRAWING-ROOM AND LIBRARY
V. BED ROOM, NURSERY AND PLAY ROOM
VI. SOME HINTS ANENT PERIOD FURNITURE
BEFORE THE MEAL IS SERVED
Before the meal which is to be served comes from the kitchen by way of
the butler's pantry to the dining room, there are many things to be
considered. The preparation of the meal (not the process of its
cooking, but its _planning_ as a composite whole) and all the
various details which precede the actual sitting down at the table of
those who expect to enjoy it, must be seen to. The preparation of the
meal, its _menu_, will be dealt with later, in connection with the
meal itself. For the present we will concentrate on its preparatory
IN THE BUTLER'S PANTRY
The butler's pantry is the connecting link between kitchen and dining
room. It is at the same time an arsenal and a reserve line, equipped
with requisites to meet all emergencies. The perfect butler's pantry
should contain everything, from vegetable brushes for cleaning celery
to a galvanized refuse can. In between come matches, bread boards,
soap, ammonia and washing soda, a dish drainer, every kind of towel,
cheesecloth and holder, strainers (for tea, coffee and punch), ice
water, punch and soup pitchers of enamel ware, the tools and seasonings
for salad making, cut-glass brushes, and knives of different sizes.
In the butler's pantry the soiled linen should be kept, if possible in
a hamper, if not, in a bag. There should also be a towel rack, an
electric or hot-water heater for keeping food hot and--we are speaking
of the ideal pantry, of course--a small icebox where table butter,
cream and salad dressing may be kept, and plates chilled for serving
cold dishes. Adding a linen closet with shelves, a chest of drawers
(for tablecloths, napkins, doilies, centerpieces, etc.) and the
necessary shelves for china and glass (hang your cups and save space!),
and we may leave the butler's pantry and enter the dining room.
BEFORE ANYTHING EDIBLE COMES TO THE TABLE
We will not waste time on directions regarding the laying of the
tablecloth. Only remember that it must form a true line through the
center of the table (your "silence cloth" had best be of table padding,
a doubled cotton flannel or asbestos) and not hang below the table less
than nine inches. The usual arrangement of the centerpiece in the
center of the table (the table itself being immediately under the
light, unless the waitress is thereby prevented from moving between the
table and sideboard) with its dish of fruit or ferns or flowers (never
so high as to cut off view or conversation) can be varied to suit
individual taste. But the covers (the plates, glasses, napkin and
silver of each individual) must always be in line, opposite each other
on the opposite sides of the table. The plate doilies indicate the
covers when a bare table is laid. The service plate which each person
receives stays where put unless it is replaced by a hot plate.
NAPKINS, SILVER, CHINA AND GLASS
Napkins (fold flat and square) lie at the left of the forks. The hem of
the napkin, turned up, should parallel the forks and the table edge.
When dinner is served without a maid, everything yields to avoiding
leaving the table. In that case put on the dessert silver (which
otherwise should not be done) with the other dinner silver. Place all
silver in its order of use, and remember that three forks are enough.
If more are needed let them appear with the courses which demand them.
The quietest and therefore most desirable way of putting the dessert
silver on the table, is to serve it from a napkin, from the right.
Knives should have their cutting edge toward the plate, at its right,
and lie half an inch from the table edge. Spoons, bowls facing upward,
lie at the right of the knife; forks at the left of the plate. When
shell food is served (clams, oysters or mussels) the fork is placed at
the right of the plate. The upper right-hand side of the bread and
butter plate is the place for the butter spreader.
In general do not arrange your cover too loosely, and see to it that
the glass, china and silver for each cover sets close without the
pieces touching. Glasses are placed just above the knives, a little to
the right. Neither cups nor glasses should ever be filled to the brim.
The bread and butter plate (bread and butter are, as a rule, _not_
served with _formal_ dinners) somewhat to the left, beyond the
service plate. Between each two covers, or just in front of each, place
your pepper and salt sets. The salt spoon lies across the open
When the table is set for some impromptu meal at which a knife will not
be used, the fork takes the place of the knife at the right-hand side,
and the teaspoon is laid beside the fork.
No one wants to see the inner economy of the butler's pantry, nor
should the perhaps fragrant but cloying odors of the kitchen be wafted
into the dining room whenever the swingdoor of the pantry opens or
closes. The screen obviates both disadvantages. Another improvement has
been the introduction of the serving table in place of the sideboard.
It now conveniently holds all the extras needed for the meal.
ENTER THE WAITRESS
The waitress has already been busy, as we have seen, laying the cloth
and covers for the meal. Now, however, she must live up more closely to
the implied meaning of her name. Either the hostess or the daughter of
the family who is acting as waitress, or the waitress herself announces
the meal. For informal service, with a member of the family acting as a
waitress, the former may quietly leave the table to attend to the
bringing on or carrying off of a course, or to supplying water, butter,
etc. But the same care and attention to everyone's needs is expected of
her as of a regular waitress. Water, butter, rolls, bread, etc., should
never have to be asked for. Within reach of hand the waitress should
always have a soft napkin to remove any liquid spilled during the meal,
at once covering the spot with a fresh doily. She must see to it that
there are hot plates for hot dishes, and chilled plates for cold ones.
THE MAID AT THE TABLE
The waitress should serve and remove everything, except beverages and
extra silver from the guest's _left_. Fork and spoon should always
be easily at hand for the person served, and dishes should _never_
be offered and removed by _reaching across a cover_. Remove
glasses, cups and saucers from the _right_, and serve all
beverages from the right. Plates should be placed and removed, one by
one. Two plates of food (especially salads or soup) may be brought into
the dining room at the same time, but _one should be left on the
The host is served last, the hostess first, then the guest of honor (at
the hostess' right), then the guest at the right of the host, and so on
till all have been served.
Waitresses should _not_ grasp the edge of the plate or put the
thumb over the rim in placing or handling. The left hand should always
be used for removing plates. Take away with each course whatever is
needed for a later one, large dishes of food, soiled china, glass and
silver. Then crumb the table with a small plate and clean, folded
When serving dishes of food do so with a dinner napkin folded square on
the palm of the hand. The serving dish should be held firmly and not
too high. If necessary steady with right hand on edge of dish. Close
contact with the person served always should be avoided. The serving
tray comes into its own for removing or passing cream and sugar, pepper
and salt, etc. Candies, salted nuts, water and wineglasses stay on the
table until the meal is over.
In clearing the table remove glass and silver first, brush up crumbs
which may have fallen on the floor, and carefully shake, fold and put
away the table linen.
Breakfast is the first meal of the American day. It should be daintily
and deftly served. Fruit, cereal and some main dish (bacon, fish, eggs)
together with toast, hot rolls or muffins, coffee, tea or cocoa, are
its main essentials. The bare, doilied table is popular for breakfast
Fresh pears, plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, mandarins and apples
are all served in the same manner--on a plate about six inches across,
with a silver fruit knife for quartering and peeling. If a waitress
serves, fruit knife and plate are placed first, and then the dish
containing the fruit is passed.
Berries--raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, as also
baked apples, stewed fruits (peaches, prunes and apricots) and all
cooked fruits, are offered in little fruit dishes on service plates,
together with powdered (or fine granulated) sugar and cream.
Strawberries are sometimes left unhulled, when of "exhibition" size.
They then should be served in apple bowls or plates, with powdered
sugar on the side.
In serving grapes, the waitress, after supplying fruit plates, passes a
compote containing the grapes and offers fruit shears, so that each
guest may cut what he or she desire. Cherries are served in the same
manner, with the addition of a finger bowl.
When grapefruit is served, it is usually as a half, the core removed
and sugar added, on a fruit plate or in a grapefruit bowl, together
with an orange spoon.
Oranges may be served from a compote, whole, and may be eaten cut
crosswise in halves, with the orange spoon; or peeled and eaten in
sections. If oranges are served peeled and sliced on a fruit plate they
may be eaten with a fork. Sugar should always be passed when they are
eaten in this way. Orange juice is the extracted juice served in small
glasses two-thirds full.
Cantaloupe (filled with cracked ice) and honeydew melon (it is smart to
accompany the latter with a slice of lemon) are served in halves or
quarters, on fruit plates (or special melon dishes) and eaten with a
fruit spoon. Sugar, salt and pepper should be offered with these by the
waitress. Watermelon is usually cut in wedges or circles. It should
always be served very cold, on a large fruit plate, and with fruit
knife and fork. If half-melons are served, with the rind, the host cuts
egg-shaped pieces from the fruit, and places it on individual plates
for passing by the waitress.
Bananas may be served "in the skin" at breakfast, or peeled and sliced,
with sugar and cream, or sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice.
Shredded pineapple, sprinkled with sugar, or sliced pineapple (slices
an inch thick) may be served from a large dish by the waitress.
Fruit at breakfast does not _necessarily_ demand a waitress. In
may be served at each cover before the guests and family seat
themselves. It does call for a finger bowl, however. Only when berries
or sliced fruits are served can the finger bowl be omitted.
Cereals are a matter of personal taste. Cooked cereals, such as
oatmeal, rolled oats, hominy, corn-meal mush and cracked wheat should
come on the table hot, and be served in bowls with sugar (brown sugar,
if preferred) and cream. Again, the host may serve the cereal from a
large porringer, the waitress bringing him the individual bowls, and
taking them to the guests when filled. Dry cereals are served in the
same way. Puffed grains or flakes gain crispness and flavor when
reheated, _not browned_, before serving.
The best breakfast toast is that made at the table over an electric
toaster. Be sure, if you have French toast, hot cakes or waffles
served, that they come from the kitchen _hot_. A perforated silver
cover should cover the plate containing them to prevent their cooling.
_Never use a soup plate or bowl for the purpose!_ The steam cannot
escape and the toast grows soggy. Do not forget syrup when waffles, hot
cakes or French toast are served. Some prefer cinnamon and sugar to
syrup with hot cakes, and they should also be on hand.
Bacon is the ideal breakfast meat. The rasher of bacon should be served
piping hot on a hot silver platter, in crisp, curling slices.
Incidentally, it should be just as crisp when it appears with a
favorite companion, as "bacon and eggs."
Cooked in the shell (medium or soft-boiled) eggs should be served in an
egg cup or egg glass, on a plate, and _under cup or glass_. Each
egg thus served should be accompanied by a silver egg cutter and
(unless there is plenty of silver at the cover) a silver spoon,
A vegetable dish or a small plate will do for the hard-boiled egg.
Poached eggs appear in individual shirred egg dishes, to the left of
each cover, on small plates with service spoon.
Scrambled eggs are served in individual portions, as above; or
distributed by the host from a large platter, and passed by the
Omelet should be served on a large platter with hot individual service
plates before the host. The waitress may pass the individual portions
or--it is customary with scrambled eggs--they may be passed from host
to guest around the table.
Coffee is the favorite and logical breakfast drink, though some prefer
tea, cocoa and milk. The breakfast coffee service should be placed
before the hostess. In its most attractive form it comprises a large
silver tray, which holds coffee (or percolator), the hot-water pot,
creamer, sugar bowl with tongs, and cups and saucers. (There may also
be a bowl for the water used to heat the cups.) When tea is the
breakfast beverage the samovar takes the place of the percolator.
The large silver service platter may be dispensed with, if desired, in
favor of a tile to hold the coffee urn, the other components of the
service being grouped about it. There is a charming touch of intimacy
about coffee made at the table with an electric percolator, poured by
the hostess and passed at the table (or by a waitress). When the
hostess pours she should at the same time ask the guest's preferences
(those of members of the family are supposed to be known) as regards
cream and sugar. Cream and sugar always enter the cup _first_! The
true coffee-drinker at once notices a difference in flavor if the
coffee first be poured, and the cream and sugar added.
FOR THE CHILDREN
If the children eat breakfast with the family, a regular child's
service, with attractive little knives and spoons should be provided,
and his whole service, preferably, should be arranged on a tray near
the table's edge. Every child likes to have his own porridge bowl, his
mug and little milk pitcher, and having his own table tools teaches him
to be neat and self-reliant.
THE INFORMAL LUNCHEON
The informal luncheon or lunch--originally the light meal eaten between
breakfast and dinner, but now often taking the place of dinner, the
fashionable hour being one (or half after if cards are to follow)--is
of two kinds. The "buffet" luncheon, at which the guests eat standing;
and the luncheon served at small tables, at which the guests are
seated. (In general all that is here said with regard to the "buffet"
luncheon, applies to the "buffet" supper or evening "spread." The only
actual difference is that lighted candles may be used at an evening
luncheon, and that the daytime luncheon may offer courses more
variegated and solid in character than would be suitable for evening
Plates, silver and napkins are conveniently arranged on a laid table in
the case of the "buffet" lunch. One or two hot and one or two cold
dishes (according to the number of guests who are to be fed), and one
or two iced desserts with one cream or jelly in mold should be
sufficient. The knife is tabooed at the "buffet" lunch, hence all the
food must be such as can be eaten with fork or spoon. As a rule,
friends of the hostess serve (host and hostess may help), though, if
convenient, waitresses may see to the wants of the guests. To keep the
table from looking crowded, maids may replenish the dishes from pantry
or serving table as may be necessary. Plates of sandwiches or filled
rolls (not too far from the table edge) olives and relishes should also
be arranged on the table, though cakes, candies and salted nuts may be
passed by the maids. The rolls go with the hot course, the sandwiches
with the salad. When a "buffet" lunch is served at a big reception,
with any number of guests coming and going, all the buffet refreshments
should appear on the table at the same time.
The following dishes cover the essentials of a "buffet" luncheon.
Beverages: punch, coffee, chocolate (poured from urn, or filled cups
brought from pantry on tray); hot entrees of various sorts (served from
chafing dish or platter) preceded by hot bouillon; cold entrees,
salads, lobster, potatoes, chicken, shrimp, with heavy dressings; hot
rolls, wafer-cut sandwiches (lettuce, tomato, deviled ham, etc.); small
cakes, frozen creams and ices.
The informal luncheon at small tables calls for service by a number of
maids, hence the "buffet" plan is preferable.
THE FORMAL LUNCHEON
A "luncheon set" (a luncheon cloth or center-piece with doilies of the
same color and design) or a bare table may be used for the formal
luncheon, with special luncheon napkins, in a three-cornered fold.
Butter is not usually served, the individual dishes (filled) are placed
at the top of the plate without doily, and if a "cup" of some sort is
to be served, an apollinaris glass is placed a little below the water
glass. Bread and rolls had best be passed, though they may be placed in
or on a napkin, instead of a bread dish. Favors, if used, should appear
at the top of the plate, or grouped about the center-piece, with
connecting ribbons to the plates. This is an attractive form of
arrangement. Dishes of candies and bonbons (with bonbon spoon beside
them) are placed on the table at will, wherever they make the best
appearance, but large dishes with spoon must be taken from the serving
table and passed.
THE FORMAL LUNCHEON MENU
The cocktail is the preliminary entering wedge of the formal luncheon.
Some hostesses serve a light cocktail with very thin sandwiches or
wafers in their drawing room before luncheon proper is served. At the
latter the fruit cocktail (served on small plate, with doily, glass and
spoon) or a Lobster or Scallop Cocktail (oyster fork) is followed by
the first course.
Here there is a wide choice--Cream of Pea soup with or without
croutons, Lobster Bisque, Mock Turtle, Consomme (Parmesan or Chicken),
White Soup with Wine--whatever best fits in with the general scheme of
the luncheon may be served. The handles of the bouillon cup, when it is
placed before the guest, should parallel the edge of the table.
The passing of Bread Sticks, Olives and Radishes should precede the
removal of the bouillon cup, and the placing before the guest of the
warmed plates for the fish. Here we have the same embarrassment of
riches. Deviled Crabs, Fried Sardines, Fish Cutlets with Dutch Sauce,
Fried Shad Roe, Oyster and Mushroom Patties, Halibut in any style,
together with rolls (passed in napkins) and Dressed Cucumbers will
answer for the fish course.
Before the meat course the claret cup should be poured, the waitress
ready with napkin in her left hand to catch any drops which may spill
from the pitcher. We will merely indicate five choices for the _piece
de resistance_ of the formal luncheon, 1. Fillets of Beef, with
Raisin Sauce, Parisian Potatoes (ball-shaped) and French Peas. 2.
Broiled Wild Duck, Curried Vegetables, and Currant Jelly Sauce. 3.
Fried Chicken with Tomato Mayonnaise, Steamed New Potatoes and Boiled
Green Corn. 4. Squab Breasts larded around hot ripe Olives, with Brown
Sauce, and Potato Croquettes with Peas. 5. Roast Saddle of Venison,
with Saute Potato Balls and Broiled Tomatoes with Horseradish
Hollandaise Sauce. None of these combinations should disappoint a
formal luncheon guest. When this course is over, the salad should be
substituted for the dinner plate which has been removed.
The salad is by no means the least attractive among the courses. You
may have Pepper and Fruit Salad, with Nut-Bread Sandwiches or an
Asparagus Salad with Lemon Rings. You may incline to Spring Salad with
Horseradish Sandwiches or to Dressed Lettuce with Cheese-Bread Wafers.
Or, again, you may prefer Chicory Salad with Cheese Croquettes. You
have but to choose. With the passing of the salad and its sandwiches,
salt and pepper sets are removed, the table is crumbed and the ice-
cream plates are laid out, together with ice-cream forks and spoons.
Will you have Maroon Ice Cream with Sponge Drops or a Tutti-Frutti Ice?
Canton Mousse with Cream Cones, or Orange Cream Sherbet with Chocolate
Petits Fours? Chocolate Parfait with Lady Fingers or Frozen Neapolitan
Charlotte with Marshmallow Wafers? You must exercise your individual
choice among these and a hundred others.
The passing of the finger-bowl service (plate, bowl and doily) precedes
the appearance of the demi-tasse, and the passing of candies and
bonbons. (At less formal luncheons, the hostess pours the coffee at the
table. When this is done the service usually is placed before her when
the dessert course ends.)
The more formal luncheon dictates that coffee be served in the drawing
room. Here the waitress passes the after-dinner coffee which the
hostess pours. If it seems preferrable to serve coffee at the table,
the waitress, after she has placed the finger-bowl service, puts the
coffee at the guest's left hand, and passes him cream and sugar. When
he has removed his finger bowl the guest uses the plate for his
THE INFORMAL (HOME) DINNER
The setting of the table for the home dinner follows the general rules
already given. As it is a quite informal affair, however, the side dish
(never seen at a formal dinner) is permissible. Dessert, too, may be
served in a small dish set in a plate. A carving cloth (for
_paterfamilias_ usually carves at the home dinner) protects the
tablecloth from spatters and bits of crisp fat which the most skillful
carver cannot always avoid sending over the dish.
If a maid serves, she should always have an extra plate, one more than
the number of individuals to be served. She will need it.
A salad served with meat, at an informal dinner, is placed on the right
side, _from the right_, the exception to the rule of serving from
Vegetables, once served, are taken back to the kitchen, to keep them
warm. If a second serving is desired, the mistress rings. Suit yourself
about having the serving silver placed on the table _before_ the
dish to be served is carried in. The latest wrinkle--and it is a time
and step-saving one--dictates that the silver be brought in on a
platter. The soup, to be served hot (it should always be served in soup
plates at dinner and never in bouillon cups) must be brought in after
the family have taken their places.
A family dinner may be served quite comfortably even without a maid.
The table set and the service laid, the younger members of the family
should attend to her duties. One may bring in the soup, hot, in
individually heated plates. Another may fill the water glasses, pass
butter or sauces and remove dishes between courses. The most convenient
way of serving vegetables, under these circumstances, is for some
member of the family next the carver to attend to it, as soon as meat
has been laid on the plate. It saves extra passing. See to it that too
many things--butter, salt, pepper, cream, sauces, etc.--are not
traveling about the table at once. All the formal features of the more
formal meals may be dropped or modified to suit individual needs or
circumstances in the informal home dinner.
TWELVE MENUS FOR GOOD FAMILY DINNERS
1. Corn Mock Bisque. Roast Chicken with Bread Stuffing, Giblet Gravy.
Boiled Rice. Saute Egg Plant. Stuffed Green Peppers. Prune Pudding.
2. Onion Soup. Fried Smelts, Sauce Tartare. Broiled Porterhouse
Beefsteak. Maitre d'Hotel Butter (1/4 cup butter, 1/2 teaspoonful salt,
1/8 teaspoonful pepper, tablespoonful lemon juice, 1 ditto parsley,
fine chopped; work butter in bowl with wooden spoon till creamy, then
add other ingredients slowly). Potato Strips. Creamed Turnips. Steamed
Chocolate Pudding, Sterling Sauce.
3. Carrot Soup. Braised Beef. Boiled Potatoes with Butter and Parsley.
Fried Parsnips. Onion Souffle. Spiced Apples a la Lyman (6 large
apples, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoonful cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoonful salt,
1/4 cup water: arrange cored and pared apples in baking dish, mix
sugar, salt and cinnamon and fill cavities. Add water, bake till apples
are soft, basting repeatedly with syrup in dish. Remove, cool, pile
meringue on top of each apple. Back to oven and bake for eight minutes.
Chill and serve with sugar and cream). Black coffee.
4. Huntington Soup and Celery. Braised Leg of Mutton. Mashed Sweet
Potatoes. Beets, Sauce Piquant. Stuffed Tomato Salad, Boiled Dressing.
5. Onion Soup. Beefsteak a la Henrietta Saute Potato Balls, Mashed
Turnips. Cheese Salad. Coffee Sponge.
6. Corn and Chicken Soup. Braised Fowl, Chestnut Stuffing. Duchess
Potatoes, Fried Tomatoes (Parmesan). Honeycomb Pudding, Creamy Sauce.
7. Brown Soup with Macaroni Rings. Creamed Mushrooms. Roast Leg of
Veal. Mashed Potatoes. Brussels Sprouts with Celery. Asparagus Salad.
Fruit Tapioca. Coffee.
8. Clam Bouillon. Boiled Leg of Mutton, Caper Sauce, Mashed Potatoes,
Fried Cucumbers. Peach Cabinet Pudding. Crackers and Cheese. Black
9. Broiled Fish, Cold Slaw in Cabbage Shell. Stuffed Hearts with
Vegetables. Potatoes Goldenrod, Almond Pudding, Whipped Cream.
Assorted Fruit. Coffee.
These are samples of what is possible in the way of tasty combinations
for the informal family dinner.
THE FORMAL DINNER
From the informal dinner in which the family waits on itself, to the
formal dinner, at which two waitresses attend to the comfort of the
diners, is but a step. Yet it is a serious one for the hostess who
gives the latter form of dinner. The cook often requires extra help
(dishwashing, etc.); and where a chambermaid is available, she has to
be drafted as a second waitress or an extra waitress engaged. There
must be a helper on duty in the pantry, for there must be no hitch in
any detail of the formal dinner service. So the extra pantry-hand must
serve soup and pour coffee, see that there is crushed ice always ready,
stack up soiled dishes, open wine bottles (yes, this is still done!)
and be prepared to do anything else which will help make the dinner a
THE WHAT'S WHAT OF A FORMAL DINNER
The fine damask tablecloth is a feature--though the table is set
practically as though for a formal luncheon--and large-size dinner
napkins are the rule. The parsnips of circumstance are not buttered at
the formal dinner, though the bread and butter plate sometimes shows
its face as a serving convenience for bread, celery, olives and
radishes. Wineglasses still appear in formal dinners given _in
private_. This provides for quite an array of glassware. At the
point of the knives, in the following order stand the water goblet and
the iced tea glass or appolinaris glass. The wineglasses (usually no
more than three wines are served) are grouped to the right of the water
goblet. Their order is that of use. (There are separate glasses for
high and low cocktail, sherry, sauterne, claret, champagne, cordials
and whiskey.) Each guest has his own nut dish, placed directly before
him. Candles are lit and water glasses half-filled a few minutes in
advance of the dinner announcement, and the hostess already having
arranged place cards before this is done.
The "initial" course may be placed on the table before dinner is
announced or may be served after. If, however, you serve cocktails in
the drawing room with the accompanying caviar or lettuce sandwiches, or
if you serve a canape, do not repeat the latter as the opening of the
dinner. For instance, you should not serve a Lobster Canape in the
drawing room and a Finnan Haddie Canape at the dinner table. Fruit
cocktails of every kind, and canapes are in order for this commencement
of the meal.
A GOOD FRUIT COCKTAIL RECIPE
Mix shredded pineapple, halved strawberries, (fresh, not preserved),
with grapefruit pulp, the pulp in a two to one proportion to the
pineapple, chill and cover with wine dressing. To be served in
champagne glass, with top garnish of a large strawberry for each glass.
The soup course may be preceded by one of fruit, where the cocktail or
canape has been served in the drawing room. Supposing it to be
strawberries, the berries will already be waiting in a small plate when
the guests take their seats upon entering the dining room. They should
be unhulled, large, selected berries, and may be eaten either by hand
(dipped in the sugar mound into which they are thrust on the plate) or
with the strawberry fork. The serving of a finger bowl with this course
is a matter of taste.
When this course has been removed, the soup is served, and the head
waitress pours the sherry, while cakes and olives are passed by a
If fish comes next--we will presume the fish to be Shad a la Delmonico,
Halibut a la Meniere or Turbans of Flounder--it is passed in the
platter, followed by rolls and Cucumber Ribbons, Dressed Cucumbers or
Sliced Cucumbers, as the case may be. Then the fish course is taken
from the table and we come to the entree.
If one entree is the limit it precedes the roast. Where you have two
entrees the heavy (meat) entree comes first, then the lighter
(vegetable) one. Let us say we have only Delmonico Tomatoes or Mushroom
Croquettes. We would carry on next with our roast fowl or flesh. But if
we have Oyster and Mushroom Patties _and_ Roast Ham with Cider
Sauce as entrees, the Roast Ham, being the heavier, should be served
Our roast--the champagne was poured from the _right_ side with the
_right_ hand _after_ the removal of the fish plates--is now
due. The entree plates in turn have been taken away and the warm dinner
plates substituted for them. Ah, the roast! What shall it be? There is
so much from which to choose. It cannot be too epicurean for a formal
dinner. Fillet of Beef Larded with Truffles, with a Brown Mushroom
Sauce; Crown of Lamb (crowned with Green Peas and surrounded by Fried
Potato Balls); Roast Turkey with Truffle Gravy; Venison Saddle,
Chateaubriand of Beef, Sirloin Steak, there is no lack of choice.
When both roast and game are served, a frozen punch is supposed to draw
the line of demarcation between them, and the salad enters _with_
the game instead of being counted as an individual course.
While one waitress passes the roast, another follows with the
potatoes. Other vegetables and rolls then come in order and, if the nut
dishes of any of the guests are empty, they are refilled.
When more than a single meat course is served at a formal dinner, the
sorbets and frozen punches should be dropped. In such a case they are
only permissible at an especially large official dinner, a banquet or a
large hotel spread.
After dinner plates have been taken away the salad (already arranged on
the plate, the fork on the right hand side) is served from the right,
and sandwiches are passed. The variety of possible salads has already
been alluded to in the consideration of the formal luncheon, hence
nothing need be added here on that head.
With the emptied salad plate are removed peppers and salts (on tray)
and the table crumbed, the ice cream plate (as at the formal luncheon)
is placed. The ice cream mold is passed with _the mold already cut,
but retaining its shape_, to facilitate the guest's helping himself.
Together with the ice cream, the accompanying small cakes are passed.
The appearance of the finger bowl service follows the removal of the
dessert plates. The finger bowl should be approximately one-fourth full
of luke-warm water (never cold) and garnished. The dessert plate is
removed with the left hand, the plate, finger bowl, and doily served
with the left. The passing of the bonbons concludes the actual service
at the table.
Coffee, as already mentioned, is poured by the hostess in the drawing
room and, after the waitress has collected and removed the coffee
service (and cups and saucers) she may, in the event that cordials are
served, return with the cordial service, which the hostess pours and
the waitress serves as in the case of the coffee.
If the ladies _only_ retire to the drawing room, one waitress
serves them there with coffee, while another remains in the dining
room. Here she passes cigars and cigarettes on a tray, together with a
lighted candle or matches, and then serves coffee and cordials or
brandy and soda.
It is good form for the waitress to serve carbonated water in
apollinaris glasses in the drawing room about an hour after the
conclusion of the dinner.
THREE FORMAL DINNER MENUS
1. Grapefruit. Chicken Consomme with Oysters. Bread Sticks (served like
roll in napkin). Deviled Crabs. Chicken Mousse with Sauterne Jelly.
Saddle of Mutton. White Potato Croquettes. Carrots and Turnips a la
Poulette. Currant Mint Sorbet. Mushrooms au Casserole. Roast Grouse,
Bread Sauce. Watercress Salad. Willard Souffle. Strawberry Ice Cream.
Salted Almonds. Bonbons. Crackers and Cheese. Black Coffee.
2. Oyster Cocktail. Saltines. Mushroom and Sage Soup. Dinner Braids.
Lobster Chops. Cucumber Boats. Sauce Tartare. Swedish Timbales with
Calf's Brains. Larded Fillet of Beef with Truffles. Brown Mushroom
Sauce, Potato Rings. Flageolets. Buttered Carrots. Asparagus Jelly
with Pistachio Bisque. Ice Cream. Cream Sponge Balls. Salted Almonds.
Bonbons. Water Thins. Neufchatel Cheese. Black Coffee. (From "A Book of
Good Dinners for My Friend": Fannie Merrit Farmer.)
3. Cocktails. Caviar Sandwiches. Selected Strawberries. Mock Bouillon.
Olives. Sherry. Rolled Cassava Cakes. Turbans of Flounder. Dressed
Cucumbers. Rolls. Delmonico Tomatoes. Roasted Incubator Chickens.
Chantilly Asparagus Potatoes. Buttered Asparagus Tips. Champagne.
Grapefruit and Alligator Pear Salad, Paprika Crackers. Montrose
Pudding. Small Cakes. Coffee. Cordials. (From "Table Service," Lucy G.
Afternoon teas are of two kinds, formal and informal, and the informal
outdoor tea in the open, on the lawn or in the garden, is a variant of
the latter variety. Here the tea wagon comes into play, and tea is
often tea in name only, since at summer outdoor teas not only iced tea,
but iced coffee, iced chocolate or punch are often served.
THE INFORMAL TEA
Do not set a table for the informal tea. The tea service is merely
brought to the sun parlor, drawing room or living room in which the tea
is to be served, and placed on the table. There the hostess makes and
pours the tea, unless she prefers to have it brought in on a tea tray
already made for pouring.
The tea service comprises: a teakettle for boiling water with filled
alcohol lamp and matches; a tea caddy with teaspoon and (if only a few
cups are to be made) a tea ball. A tea creamer, cut sugar, a saucer of
sliced lemon, and cups and saucers with spoon on cup saucer, as well as
tea napkins complete the service. The water brought in in the teakettle
should be hot. If this precaution is observed, the tea will boil very
soon after the lamp is lighted. The sandwiches served at an informal
afternoon tea should be very simple: lettuce, olive or nut butter, or
plain bread and butter, nor should the small cakes also passed be
elaborate or rich.
THE FORMAL TEA
The formal tea--a tea becomes formal as soon as cards are sent out for
it--is a very different affair. As many as four ladies may pour, two
during the first, and two during the second hour. Friends of the
hostess--they serve all refreshments, though waitresses assist,
removing soiled cups and plates and bringing in fresh ones--preside at
either table end, and the table is decorated (flowers and candles). At
one end of the luncheon cloth (or the table may be laid with doilies)
stands the service tray, with teapot, hot-water pot, creamer, sugar
bowl with tongs and cut sugar, and sliced lemons in dish with lemon
fork. The tray also contains cup and saucers (each saucer with spoon,
handle paralleling cup). The coffee, bouillon or chocolate service is
established in the same manner at the other end of the table. If
coffee is served, the service tray is equipped with urn, cream and
sugar; if chocolate, whipped cream in bowl with ladle; if bouillon, the
Each lady who pours must have a large napkin convenient to guard her
gown. Arranged along the table should be plates of sandwiches and
cakes, bonbon dishes and dishes with salted nuts. But the table must
not be crowded. This important rule is responsible for the existence
of the frappe table.
The frappe table holds the afternoon tea punch. Since the dining room
is apt to be well filled as it is, the frappe table had best be
established in some other room. On its luncheon cloth is set the punch
or frappe bowl with ladle, and individual ices, frozen creams (not too
rich or elaborate) or punch are served in frappe or punch bowls by a
friend of the hostess. The small plates on which the frappe glasses are
served should be piled on the table with doilies (_linen always_)
between the plates. When served, the glass is filled with the sherbet
or cream, and a sherbet spoon laid at the right-hand side of plate (a
tray of sherbet spoons belongs to the frappe table equipment, as well
as a filled cake basket, dishes of candy, piles of small plates and
small linen napkins). Unless you are entertaining guests to the number
of a hundred or more, _never use paper doilies at a formal afternoon
A pretty custom dictates that young girl friends of the hostess serve
the guests. They provide the latter with plate and napkin, ask their
choice of beverage, and serve it, together with sandwiches and cakes.
Or the plates and napkins may be handed the guests as they enter by a
waitress stationed at the door, before they are served by the young
_A salad should never be offered at a formal afternoon tea_! To do
so is to commit a social solecism.
Supper, "the evening meal," the last of the day, in modern usage often
is actually a dinner, the most elaborate meal; the place of the former
dinner being taken by the luncheon. A supper is often a particularly
elaborate dinner or banquet, as, for instance, the "class supper."
THE LATE SUPPER
The late supper, often given after a theatre party, or a card party, is
always an informal affair. Its favorite form is what might be called
the "chafing dish supper," where should they wish, the guests may help
Two chafing dishes or one may grace the table (laid with luncheon cloth
or luncheon set, flowers and candles) according to the number of
guests. The chafing dish is set before the hostess on a metal tray
resting on an asbestos mat. A teakettle of boiling water, an electric
toaster (the asbestos mat of the chafing dish laid over the flame may
also be used for keeping toast or croutons made in the kitchen warm
while on the table), and plates already heated go with the chafing
dish. Also, near at hand, should be matches, an extra napkin, a
"sampling" fork and spoon, and a bowl of some sort for burned matches
and the "sampling silver."
All that is to be cooked, dry or liquid, should already have been
measured and be ready for use. All bowls, small dishes and pitchers
containing ingredients for any one dish should be grouped on a single
tray, at the left of the person attending to the chafing dish.
Chafing-dish rarebits may be of every kind, and every rarebit should
have some main dominating flavor, as green or red pepper, onion,
tomato, etc. Cheese souffles or sweet souffles are also successful
chafing-dish products, as well as cooked fish heated in a piquant
For chafing-dish purposes there are available: _Meats_: Beef,
Venison, Lamb, Cooked Tongue, Bacon and Ham, Chicken, Chicken Livers
and Sweetbreads. _Sea Food_: Lobster, Terrapin, Crab Meat, Frogs'
Legs, Oysters, Shrimps, Scallops, Sardines, Salmon and Finnan Haddie.
Eggs, Cheese, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Peas should also be included
with this list.
Sliced and toasted bread or crackers heated usually form the basis of
the chafing-dish preparation. Rarebits suppose toast or crackers, but
creamed dishes demand toast. The chafing dish also pays homage to the
sweet tooth in the shape of fudges (Ginger, Nut Raisin, Peanut Butter,
Marshmallow, etc.); and hot coffee, wine cup, mineral water, beer,
ale and cider are the customary chafing-dish supper drinkables.
OUTSIDE THE EIGHTEENTH AMENDMENT
From the alcoholic beverages of the chafing-dish supper to those of
the dinner is a natural transition. At the formal dinner wines often
accompany the courses and, as already mentioned, liqueurs and cordials
supply the final liquid note after the coffee. The theory of alcoholic
beverages at the formal dinner is a simple one. Certain fixed and
definite rules obtain and are generally observed. Three wines may be
served, though the best social form prefers one or two.
SHERRY OR MADEIRA
Sherry or Madeira may accompany the soup course. They should be poured
_after_ the soup has been placed, and served from a decanter. In
general wine should always be poured slowly, and glasses should be
filled only two-thirds. The etiquette is for the waitress to pour a
little wine into the host's glass, then filling the glasses beginning
at the host's right. Sherry should always be served cold, at a
temperature of 40o Fahrenheit; the Madeira may be served at a
temperature of 65o F., or that of the room.
SAUTERNE OR RHINE WINE
Sauterne or Rhine Wine go with the fish course. They are poured, like
the Claret, at the end of the preceding course, before the next course
comes on. They (like Sparkling Burgundy and Champagne) are served from
the bottle, and the bottle should be held in a folded napkin or bottle
holder. The mean average temperature of Sauterne should be 50o F. Some
prefer it decidedly cold (chilled in the icebox), others only slightly
cold. Rhine Wine should always be cold: 40o F.
Claret is the wine for the entree and, as a rule, is served from a
claret pitcher. Being a light wine, it may be served _with_ the
Champagne and _instead_ of it to those who do not prefer the Mumm.
Claret should be poured at the end of the course _immediately_
before the one with which it is served. The room temperature or one of
65o F. is the proper one for Claret.
CHAMPAGNE, BURGUNDY OR PORT
These wines are served with the meat courses. In order that Champagne
or Sparkling Burgundy may come on the table at the proper temperature
(Champagne 35o and Burgundy 70o F.) it must be ice-packed for several
hours before serving. Care must be taken, however, that it does not
frappe when, if required at short notice, it is salt-and-ice packed
half an hour before serving. Sweet Champagne, on the other hand, is
improved in flavor if slightly frappeed. It should always be served
very cold. Like Sauterne, Champagne and Burgundy are served from the
bottle. In serving them the wire should be cut, and the cork carefully
_worked_ out of the bottle by pressing it up with the thumbs. It
is wise to work out the cork _under the edge of the table_, since
it is sometimes projected with much power. The temperature for Port is
CORDIALS AND LIQUEURS
Cordial glasses holding a small quantity are used for serving these
sweet, aromatic beverages. Cordials are served plain, with crushed ice
or with cream. In serving Creme de Menthe the straw is unusual in
private home service, though customary in some hotels. Creme de Menthe
glasses should be filled two-thirds full with fine crushed ice, then a
little of the cordial poured over it. Chartreuse (green or yellow),
Benedictine, Grenadine, Apricot Brandy, Curacoa, and Dantzig Eau de Vie
arc usually served without additions or ice. Benedictine or Creme de
Cacoa, however, may be served with a dash of plain or whipped cream.
The exceedingly sweet Creme Yvette should he served with cracked ice,
like Creme de Menthe. Noyau, Kirschwasser, Maraschino and Grenadine may
be served as cordials, or reserved for the flavoring of puddings, ices
Whether it be the waitress or the master of the house who carves, a
firm hand, an appraising eye and a sharp carving knife are needed.
Some of the chief carving points for roasts are worth knowing.
_Beefsteak (Porterhouse)_: Carve in two pieces, cutting tenderloin
and sirloin from the middle bone. Cut in uniformly thick slices,
serving a piece for a portion, rare, medium or well done, as may be
preferred. _Rib or Sirloin Roast_: Hold firmly, skin side up.
Carve in thin, parallel slices, from crisp edge to bone, then slip
knife under slices and cut from bones. _Rump Steak_: Cut in thin,
parallel slices with grain of meat. Serve like rib or sirloin with dish
gravy for each portion. _Fillet of Beefs_: Cut across diagonally,
beginning at thick end. Slices should be no more than half an inch
thick. _Leg of Lamb_: With rounding side up, plunge carving fork
in center of roast, and cut in thin, parallel slices _across
grain_ to bone. Boned leg of lamb is more easily carved. _Saddle
of Mutton_: Make cuts parallel to backbone, half to three-quarters
inch apart; then crosscuts at right angles to former, two to two and a
half inches long. Slip knife beneath bone to free meat. _Loin of Veal
or Lamb_: Cut backbone of each rib before cooking. Cut roast between
ribs, serving one for a portion. Carve _Crown of Lamb_ in the same
way. _Roast Turkey or Roast Chicken, Capon or Guinea Hen_: With
bird on back, insert carving fork across highest point of breastbone.
Holding it here firmly, cut through skin between second joint and body,
close to the latter. Pull back leg and second joint in one piece with
knife; disjoint, then cut off wing. Breast meat must be carved in thin,
parallel slices. Use knife to part second joints from drumsticks and
carve them in slices. Always complete carving one side of a bird before
carving the other. Light meat and dark meat, together with stuffing,
should be included in each portion, unless a preference is indicated.
_Broilers_: Should be cut in halves, and the halves halved,
severing at joints. According to size of broiler a quarter or a half is
served as an individual portion. _Domestic Duck_: Bird on back
(drumsticks to right of carver, as with all fowl) the carving fork is
thrust through breast. The joints lie much farther back than those of
chickens or turkeys. After removing leg and wing, make cuts in breast
meat parallel to breastbone, three-quarters of an inch apart, and
remove by sliding knife under meat. Small pieces of rich meat, dark,
may be cut from the sides of the duck. _Game Duck_: First cut
breast meat from one side, then from other. Half a breast is the
individual portion. Legs and wings are too tough, as a rule, for
satisfactory table use.
PLANNING A MENU
Food value and contrast--the avoidance of duplicating flavors--are main
points in menu planning. An elaborate menu must alternate its light and
Thin soups for formal dinners, cream or thick soups for informal ones
is the rule. With Consomme, Bread or Cheese Sticks; with thick soups
Crackers or Croutons; with Oyster Stew, Oyster Crackers are the proper
thing. Soup garnishings (clear soup) include: Shredded Sprouts, Boiled
Macaroni cut in rings, Noodles, Lemon Slices, Italian Pastes and Grated
Parmesan Cheese, and Sliced Cooked Chestnuts and Royal Custard.
Radishes, Celery and Olives are served _after_ the soup.
Cocktails or Canapes beginning a dinner call for plain sandwiches or
wafers. When Oysters or Clams (or any seafood cocktails) are served,
Graham or Brown Bread Sandwiches are grateful. With oysters served raw
on shell, a Horseradish Sandwich is proper. Tabasco, Grated
Horseradish, Catsup, Cayenne, or Cocktail Sauce are in order for
oysters or clams, and a half lemon should _always_ be laid on the
Fish flavoring's include Lemon Juice (lemon sliced with or without the
rind, or served in quarters or halves) or Tarragon Vinegar. Sauce
Tartare is always appropriate for fried fish. Broiled Halibut or
Pompano gain by a Sauce Hollandaise. With Baked or Broiled Shad
Cucumber Cream Sauce is in order. Broiled fish in general should be
mated with rich, heavy sauces, and may be accompanied by Boiled Potato
Balls, and Maitre d'Hotel butter. When Halibut or Flounder are steamed
or baked in fillets, they call for a piquantly flavored sauce: Caper,
Brown Tomato, Shrimp or Lobster. Drawn Butter Sauce, Caper or
Hollandaise Sauce, are best with Boiled Hot Salmon; Green Mayonnaise,
Vinaigrette or Sauce Tartare with Cold Boiled Salmon. Vegetables do not
properly accompany fish in a dinner of many courses. Yet broiled fish
may be served with Corn and Shell Beans; white fish of various sorts
with Tomatoes, stuffed or fried; and Salmon with Peas.
Every entree should have the sauce which properly befits it. Patties,
however, are not served with the rolls which accompany other entrees,
their pastry taking its place. A Puree of Peas may be offered with meat
For simply dressed salads Cheese Balls or croquettes are appropriate.
Fruit salads require thin, unsugared crackers--they may be served hot,
sprinkled with mild paprika over butter. Anything of the sort served
with a salad is merely served to _bring out_ its flavor, not to
When the dinner is a heavy or elaborate one the heavy pudding with a
rich sauce is distinctly out of keeping. Frappeed or cold desserts are
the proper thing, served together with small wafers or cakes. At less
formal dinners the sweet dessert may be omitted, and cheese and hard
crackers, a fruit salad, or toasted wafers and coffee may be
Under this head we will list for the reader's convenience a grouping of
roasts, together with the sauces and vegetables with which they may be
combined for menu purposes in a natural and satisfactory manner.
_Beefsteak and Roast Beef:_ As sauces, Mushroom Sauce is
appropriate for both; then for Beefsteak we have Sauce Bearnaise, and
Maitre d'Hotel Butter; for the Roast Beef, Horseradish Sauce, Banana
Sauce and as an accompanying dish, Yorkshire Pudding. Accompanying
vegetables for both include: Potatoes, white and sweet, Lima and String
Beans, Macaroni, Corn, Peas, Spinach and Onions, Eggplant and Squash,
Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower and Tomatoes.
_Boiled Beef_: Horseradish Sauce is the preferred one, and
Dumplings may accompany it. Potatoes (white), Parsnips, Turnips,
Carrots are the first concomitants.
_Corned Beef_: Plain Boiled Potatoes and Cabbage are the first
concomitants. Spinach or Dandelion Greens, Parsnips, Beets, Turnips and
Carrots are also indicated.
_Roast Lamb_: May be accompanied by Banana Croquettes or Bananas
baked, by Currant Jelly, Mint Sauce, Mint Jelly or Mint Sherbet. In
addition to most of the vegetables already listed, Asparagus, and
Jerusalem Artichokes are in order, and Cauliflower may be served with
Cream Sauce or _au gratin_.
_Lamb Chops Broiled_: Potatoes in any form desired, Cauliflower or
Brussels Sprouts, and practically any green vegetables, _but
piquantly served_, are in order.
_Boiled Lamb and Mutton_: Caper Sauce and accompanying Dumplings
are in order for both. Potatoes (white) Carrots, Turnips and Parsnips
are the vegetables.
_Saddle of Mutton_: Takes all vegetables served with Lamb. It
should be served with Currant Jelly or Mint Sauce and, aside from
Asparagus, Spinach, French Peas and String Beans, may be accompanied by
Fried Rice Balls or Rice Croquettes.
_Fowl in General and Chicken_: These take Cranberry Jelly and
Sauce, also Chestnut, Mushroom, Oysters, Celery and Curry Sauce, and
fresh Celery. Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Corn Fritters, Croquettes (Rice,
Chestnut, Hominy), all fresh summer vegetables, including String and
Lima Beans, Mushrooms, Onions and Squash are in order with fowl.
_Roast Turkey_: Here, while we may have Cranberry Sauce or Jelly,
we _must_ have crisp, fresh Celery. There is a choice of stuffings
--Sausage, Chestnut, Oyster, Sage and Nut. Potatoes (white and sweet),
Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower, Squash, Turnips and Onions are the
_Roast Goose_: The vegetables are the same as for Roast Turkey,
and Brown Giblet Gravy, Apple Sauce and Celery are accompaniments. The
stuffings mentioned for Turkey are also in order here.
_Duck (Domestic)_: The vegetables served for all fowl, plus Fried
Hominy if desired, are indicated. Either Boiled or Souffled Onions are
a tradition with duck.
_Duck (Game)_: Salads are preferred to vegetables as an
accompaniment for Wild Duck. The Salad Greens--any salad green may be
used--should be dressed in a simple manner. If preferred, Olive and
Orange Jellies and Sauces, and Currant and Plum Jellies, Orange and
Cress or Orange and Walnut on Lettuce may be served.
_Roast Grouse or Guinea Hen_: With Bread Sauce may be served
Potatoes (as croquettes or French fried), Celery Croquettes, String
Beans, Asparagus, and French Peas, also Currant Jelly and Currant Jelly
_Quail, Roasted or Broiled_: Green salads in which Orange
dominates should accompany this game bird. Ideal ways of serving are:
1. In a nest of Chestnut Puree. 2. On Buttered Toast. 3. On toast
spread with Puree of Cooked Calf's Liver moistened with Sherry.
_Squab, Roasted or Broiled_: Serve with Currant Jelly and--if
offered as a main course at a luncheon--with light vegetables,
Mushrooms, Peas, Beans, Asparagus on Toast, Spinach in Puff Paste or
Fried Potato Balls.
_Boiled Ham_: For Boiled Ham Champagne or Cider Sauce is best.
Potatoes in practically any form desired, Creamed, Chantilly,
Escalloped, etc., with Spinach, Beet Greens, Cauliflower, Brussels
Sprouts are vegetable choices.
_Pork_: Implies the presence of the apple, as Apple Sauce, Cider
Apple Sauce, Fried Apples or Apple Croquettes, though Sauce Soubise or
Sauce Piquant may also be used with it. Potatoes, if desired, and
practically any vegetable are in order.
_Roast Veal_: A Brown Gravy or Sauce Soubise are proper for veal.
Rice, Spaghetti, Macaroni, are accompanying dishes; and practically all
the usual garden vegetables are in order.
_Roast Venison_: A Wild Plum Sauce is especially appropriate, plus
Currant Jelly. Potatoes should be Saratoga or French Fried. French
String Beans and French Peas, Brussels Sprouts (with Chestnuts) and
Mushrooms (in Brown Madeira Sauce) will add to the occasion.
MENUS FOR A THANKSGIVING--A CHRISTMAS AND A LENTEN DINNER
[Footnote: From "A Book of Good Dinners for My Friend." FANNY
Clam Soup, Browned Crackers. Halibut Rolls, Sauce Tartare, Dressed
Cucumbers. Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing, Giblet Gravy, Maitre
d'Hotel Potatoes. Mashed Winter Squash, Onions in Cream, Cranberry
Punch. Pear Salad, French Dressing, Thanksgiving Pudding, Hard Sauce,
Vanilla Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate Sauce, Sponge Cake, Assorted Nuts,
Fruit, Black Coffee.
Clam and Tomato Consomme. Browned Soup Rings. Olives and Salted Pecans.
Fillets of Sole, Mushroom Sauce. Roast Goose, Giblet Gravy, Frozen
Apples. Riced Potatoes, Glazed Silver Skins. Pimento Timbales.
Chiffonade Salad. English Plum Pudding, Sherry Sauce. Coffee Ice Cream,
Almond Cakes. Bonbons. Crackers and Cheese. Black Coffee.
Smoked Salmon and Anchovy Canapes. Tomato Bisque Soup. Buttered
Croquettes, Croutons. Tartlets of Egg with Curry. Boiled Cod, Venetian
Sauce. Hot Potato Salad. Cauliflower au Gratin. Cheese Souffle.
Chocolate Bavarian Cream. Black Coffee.
[Illustration: DIAGRAM OF A BUFFET TABLE]
HOW TO PREPARE A MEAL
[Illustration: DIAGRAM OF TABLE LAID FOR HOME DINNER WITHOUT SERVICE
[Illustration: LUNCHEON COVER IN DETAIL]
[Illustration: FORMAL DINNER COVER IN DETAIL]
LINES AND CURVES
Straight lines in a room call for straight lines in furniture, rugs and
hangings. They make a room dignified and serious in appearance. Italian
Renaissance chairs and other pieces of that period, and our modern
Craftsman and Mission chairs (often hard and stiff examples of the
straight-line type of furniture, just as Bokhara, Kazan and Afghan rugs
are of the straight-line rug) are furniture of this kind. The severe
line is also produced by velvet draperies topped by straight-lined
lambrequins. A straight line is to be preferred to a weak curve. And
it is usually possible to redeem too straight and rigid an appearance
in furniture by relieving long, straight lines (as in tables) by carved
ornamentation and the application of curved lines on a secondary plane,
i. e., in parts of the legs. In general, when not too rigid, straight
lines in interior decoration stand for repose, sobriety and dignity.
Curved lines in decoration and furniture are of various kinds. The
rococo styles (Louis XV and the Regency) are overluxurious and often
weak; the curves in Arabic or Celtic ornamentation vague and obscure.
The undulating curves of Persian rugs suggest movement. Curves, in
general, which turn _up_, make an effect of animation and
happiness. Wall papers and draperies used to emphasize such furniture
curves lend an air of happy animation to the rooms in which they are
Contrast to stiff, straight lines is afforded by the use of the curved
line in decoration, which offers soft, rich and lovely effects. In
general, curved lines make for grace, flexibility and softness.
Broken lines give us a feeling of life and movement. But they should
not be used for the permanent decorative lines of a room--the lines of
the walls, openings, hangings, draperies, carpets, or large, immovable
pieces of furniture which have a fixed place. In pillows which break
the long back line of a couch, in cornice moldings, lambrequin bottoms,
chair backs, screens, etc., they lend life. But as a rule they should
be sparingly used.
Vertical lines express aspiration and disquietude; diagonal lines,
action. In wall paper designs and rug patterns the diagonal line is not
always excellent. Diagonal lines are sometimes effective in rugs; but
the feeling of energetic movement they produce in wall papers or drop
patterns is objectionable. It annoys the eye and is usually inartistic.
FORM, COLOR AND PROPORTION
Never overemphasize one of the dimensions of _height, width_ and
_depth_ at the expense of one of the others. They must be
The proportions of any room are best when they make a normal impression
on the eye. The oblong is the best decorative art _form_, as a
rule. It can be used in nearly all ornaments, in walls, doors and
windows, ceilings and floors, in rugs and furniture, because it is
The square form is solid and firm, but tends to be monotonous. Square
windows, fireplaces and wall spaces, as well as square rooms in general
and pictures, are usually uninteresting, and this applies to cubes as
well. The big cubical chair, for instance, is something to be avoided.
The triangular form (in mantel clocks, lampshades, highboys, bookcase
foundations, and sometimes where it appears in wall paper or Turcoman
rug designs) expresses movement in repose admirably, and has real
Curved forms, the circle, the oval and the ellipse, are all agreeable.
There is in them "a hint of the mysterious dualism of life."
Colors makes decorative shapes easy to see. (For the character of the
colors and the principles of their effective combination the reader
will find much useful information in the "Color Harmony and Design in
Dress" included in this series.) Art, Nature and books will all help
the interior decorator in the matter of color adjustment. Trim in most
houses compels the adjustment of the color harmony to suit it. In
general white paneling calls for the use of one warm and one cool
color, while dark brown or black paneling needs two or more warm
All parts of a furnished room must help express one ideal of balance.
The realization of this ideal is proportion. A horizontal room calls
for horizontal furniture and lines, a vertical room for vertical ones.
Every important decorative feature of a room must be selected in
accordance with its proportion in general. The size of a room
increases the form scale (or scale of the forms) represented by
furniture, pictures, rugs, etc. In every room the important individual
pieces, such as library table, piano, bed, dresser, must parallel one
or another wall. Do not violate proportion and artistic effect by
INDIVIDUAL ROOMS OF THE HOUSE
THE DINING ROOM AND "WORK ROOMS"
The dining room, with which we were so directly concerned in the
preceding portion of this book, offers a natural point of departure for
considering the individual rooms of the house with regard to
decoration. First, as to a dominant dining room color: The dining room
should be a room of good cheer, a bright, happy room. But it should not
be too bright. If it is on the sunny side of the house, let one of the
colors dominate--white, cream white, blues, greens, grays or violet--
if on the shady side, gain warmth by the use of yellows (save lemon),
orange, warm tans, russets, pinks, yellowish greens and reds. (This
applies to all rooms.)
Do not use restless-patterned wall papers. Leather (used with paneling
or above wainscot), modern tapestries, fabrics of all kinds are
suitable for covering dining-room walls. If low, the ceiling should
never be dark, since this makes the room appear still lower. (A
breakfast room done in lacquer is very effective, however, if not too
low.) A single large rug, harmonizing with the wall color scheme is
admirable in any room. In the dining room, however, a figured carpet is
often preferred for practical reasons: it stands wear and tear around
the table better. Well-chosen paper (See Chapter II) often improves a
badly proportioned room by optical illusion. The ideal lightings for
dining rooms are side lights. Dining-room drop lights or domes are very
trying to the eyes of those who dine, and are unbecoming. Side lights
(adding candles for grace and charm) are far pleasanter to the eyes and
In the dining room the table is the dominating furniture note. A round
table, an oblong table or a square table may be the more desirable
according to the shape of the room. But a round dining table may be
harmonized with an oblong dining room by means of an oblong rug, with
rounded medallion, by a round flower bowl, a round tray or even the
wheels of the tea table. In the dining room, as elsewhere, repetition
in color establishes the color tone of the room. In the dining room, as
elsewhere, every individual room presents an individual case, to be
worked out decoratively in accordance with the principles already
given. One more color hint regarding the dining room, drawn from a
modern authority: "When we think of the ideal dinner--the soft lights,
the hospitable warmth, the sparkle of crystal, the gleam of silver, the
quick talk and gay laughter of the guests--we think of _red,_ for
that color is indissolubly bound in thought with the idea of richness,
hospitality and excitement." Yet red, as we will see later, is a color
to be used with great caution.
WORKING ROOMS VERSUS LIVING ROOMS
Before passing to the other rooms of the house, we will pause to
consider a more purely utilitarian group.
_The Kitchen_.--These rooms which are strictly utilitarian, more
or less escape decorative control. The kitchen, aside from the elements
of proportion in arrangement of its furnishings, is not properly a room
for decoration. A cheerful color, plenty of light--a practical
essential--and practical arrangement of its furniture and equipment
are of more importance than the decorative element. Neatness, color
harmony and a restful eye effect should be obtained. This applies as
well to the butler's pantry. Pantry and kitchen should always be shut
off from the dining room, so that the latter's decorative values are
not affected by them.
_The Bathroom_.--Tiled or hardwood flooring, painted or glazed
washable walls, sanitary plumbing, glass shelves, washable cotton rugs
and bath mats, all the modern conveniences in keeping with the purposes
of the room, thrust the decorative element into the background. The
curtains must be simple and quite easily washed.
_The Home Sewing Room_.--The home sewing room, too, may be viewed
decoratively as well as practically. A sunny room with western
exposure, kalsomined in pale warm gray, the floor covered with cream-
colored matting, windows fitted with white Holland shades--a
combination restful to the eye--and furnished with hard-wood framed,
LIVING ROOM, DRAWING ROOM AND LIBRARY
We now return to the rooms where decoration is the rule. While always
remembering that connecting rooms must harmonize with one another in
color, individual colors may always be appropriately chosen for certain
rooms, because they express the dominant mood and character of the room
in question. Thus, for the living room or drawing room, the yellows,
oranges and golden browns, which combine the cheer of yellow and the
warmth of red, are excellent. If a restful instead of a cheerful
quality is desired for the living room or drawing room, green may be
made the dominant hue. Yellow is a joyous tint, also a good breakfast-
room hue. It will harmonize in the living room with plain fumed oak,
willow furniture and cretonne hangings as well as with painted and
paneled ivory walls, old Chinese rugs, damask hangings and satinwood
and lacquered furniture. But furniture, bric-a-brac and walls always
_must_ be good in line and color. For proper floor balance use a
large rug in a large living room, and several small ones in a small
one. Furniture, too, should be chosen in view of the emphasis each
individual piece has; and its relations to the room in general. The
effect of stiffness is not overcome by placing heavy pieces of
furniture askew in a room. Yet this is often done. Scale and
proportion should always dictate the choice of furniture, lamps and
pictures. Each has its place in the general decorative scheme. Red is a
hard color for the eyes. Many a red living room has been the cause of
chronic headache. Not that red need be entirely tabooed. A living room
for example, paneled in oak, with a soft red-toned Oriental rug, red
draperies, a touch of red in a stained glass window panel, and red
cushioned window seat will have far more warmth and charm than a room
whose walls are completely covered with red.
_The Hall and Library_.--Red, however, makes a hall seem
hospitable and full of welcome. It is also a good library color. In
halls where walls are papered or paneled with stripes or draperies rich
red may appear in the ground of an Oriental rug on the floor, and be
matched in the hue of the portieres or stair runner. With damask or
tapestry, or large-figured duplex papered hall walls, a soft-toned red
rug, with hangings and stair runner matching it, is best. The walls
should show a neutral tint, and red will dominate with pleasing effect.
In the library, in winter, with a glow from the open fire playing over
a red rug, "revealing shadowy outline of bookcases, and dim velvet
draperies, as a deep-shaded lamp throws a beam of light over the arm of
a big reading chair," red seems indeed an ideal color for the room.
BED ROOM, NURSERY AND PLAY ROOM
For the bedroom, though other colors such as green and violet, in
particular (save red, which is a poor bedroom hue) are not barred, blue
is an ideal color, expressive of repose and tranquil ease. In the
bedroom, however, as in all other rooms, the light and location must
always be considered in establishing the color note. Curtains either
make or mar a room, especially a bedroom. Bedroom curtains, whether of
expensive or cheap material, must emphasize the restful charm of the
room. If a bedroom (or other room) is plain in color, the curtains may
be either plain or figured. But it is dangerous when wall designs of
bedrooms is apt to convey a feeling of restlessness. The bedroom may be
provided with one large or several smaller rugs as a floor covering,
according to size. Plain rugs are more restful in effect, and with
plain walls and chintz often present a charming effect.
NURSERY AND PLAY ROOM
These children's rooms should always give out a gay and cheerful
atmosphere. To obtain this wall papers with colorful friezes with
characters from fairy tale, Mother Goose or Noah's Ark, may be used
above a simple wainscot. Painted walls with stenciled designs are also
attractive. Small chairs and tables with good lines, a bookcase, a toy
cupboard, a sand table, and window boxes where the children may plant
seeds, are all possible decorative units of such a room. The general
color scheme must be soft and cheerful, plain linoleum is the best
floor covering, the few pictures should hang low, and the window
curtains should be of white muslin, with side hangings (down to sill)
with some special nursery design in cretonne.
SOME HINTS ANENT PERIOD FURNITURE
Period furniture is a means to a decorative end. It is a _part_ of
the decoration of a room, and must be adapted to its lines and
proportions. Halls for instance, call for tall chairs and cabinets and
long and narrow wall tables. Pictures and bric-a-brac are out of place
in the hall. In the living room, where spaciousness and repose are
wanted, substantial, comfortable chairs, long, low sofas, cabinets and
tables, and no fussy furniture adjuncts are demanded. Similarly in the
dining room, the furniture lines should make the room a more
comfortable and restful one in which to eat; and bedroom furniture
must in all decorative ways carry out the idea of rest and sleeping. If
period furniture is used, the drawing room usually gives the dominant
note, which should be carried out (in more or less modified form)
throughout the other rooms. Do not make too abrupt contrasts in using
period furniture. Late Louis XVI and Early Empire have much in common.
But it is a shock to find Louis XV and Late Empire in the same room.
Sheraton and Rococo, Early Jacobean oak and late eighteenth century
English mahogany do not mix. If your rooms are Colonial use Colonial or
Georgian styles of furniture. For ball rooms, small reception rooms,
and the boudoirs of blooming young beauty--not those of dignified old
age--Louis XV is to be commended. Formal dining rooms stand Louis XV
and Louis XVI styles very well. On the other hand the simple beauty of
line of Adam, Sheraton, Heppelwhite and Chippendale are better suited
to simpler rooms--though they may be quite as subtly and perfectly
finished. In general, the choice of all furniture--chairs, tables,
beds, mirrors--should be influenced by the size of the house and
rooms, individual circumstances and individual taste, where the last
does not conflict with established laws of decoration.
Interior Decoration is a very extensive and complicated subject. What
we have here attempted to do has been to give an idea of the general
principles underlying it, together with as many direct and practical
hints and suggestions as has been possible within the limits allotted.
It is hoped that they may lead the reader to take a more personal
interest in a fascinating subject of study. If this be the case, a
large number of specialized works which treat every least phase of
"Interior Decoration" in exhaustive detail, are available.