Thursday, December 2, 2010

Taking to Table: Part 3 - Dinner ~ General Service

TAKING TO TABLE: Part 3 - Dinner ~ General Service

Dinner - General Service:

From the Text:

“For Dinner:
The table should be well polished and covered with a green baise cloth over which a fine damask one should be spread. If the white cloth is to be kept on after dinner, (some persons us an entire upper cloth, to prevent gravy stains or accidents, which is removed after dinner,) it does not require the tedious brushing the cloth.

When the cloth has been spread (. . .) place a large and small knife, fork, and spoon to each guest, with two wine glasses, a champagne glass, and tumbler to the right of each person, and the bread placed on or under folded napkins, between the knives and forks and spoons. At grand entertainments, or public dinners, the name card and rank of each guest should be neatly written on a card, in front of napkin, to prevent confusion and jealousy.

The centre ornament, usually a candelabrum, or epergne, or a vase of real or artificial flowers, must be set on the table, and the mats for the various dishes arranged. The wine coolers, or ornamental vases, are placed between the centre-piece and the top and bottom dishes, with the wines in the original bottles, loosely corked. The spoons for assisting the various dishes, asparagus tongs, fish knife and fork, are placed in front of the dishes to which they belong, and a knife rests opposite to those who carve, with a bill of fare, and a pile of soup plates before those that have to assist with the soup.

Particular attention must be made to the cleanliness of the plate and glasses, so that they have a bright polish. Nothing looks as bad as dirty, greasy looking silver and glasses. Glass should be rubbed with a fine wash leather, dipped in a solution of whiting and stone blue, and then dried and polished with an old silk handkerchief. Plates and dishes must be hot. Bread should be cut in pieces about an inch thick, or pastry rolls should be used. Lights, either at or after dinner, should be subdued and above the guests, if possible, so as to shed upon the table without intercepting the view. Sauces, either bottled or sweet, or both, vegetables and sliced cucumbers, or glazed onions, for fall goose, should always be placed on the sideboard. A plate for removing the soiled plates is usually placed under the sideboard or some other convenient part of the room, and two knife trays, covered with napkins, are placed upon a tray. These are used for removing the soiled knives and forks, and the soiled silver. There should always be a corkscrew ready, and funnel with strainer, and brad-awl to break the wire of the champagne bottles, and the other to strain port wine, if required for dinner. "

On a well cleaned and polished wood table, lay out the table with a green felt (baise) cloth, covered with a white damask tablecloth. Follow with the additional items needed for the meal.
At each place of diner, set as follows:

General Setting:
* Dinner plate & small plate
* Forks (large & small), knives (large & small), spoons (large & small – top of plate)
* Napkin (on dinner plate – wrapping bread)
* Wine glasses (white and red), champagne glass, & tumbler (water)
* Salt & pepper shakers (between each setting)
* Covered butter dish (right corner foot)
* Tray or basket for additional bread (left corner foot)
**At formal or public dinners – name cards at top of place setting

Center of Table:
* Branched candelabrum or epergne
* Vases with flowers (flanking centerpiece)
* Wine castors with decanters or original bottles (between vases and top/bottom dishes)
* Mats or trivets for dishes served, and serving utensils.

Sideboard Items:
* Removal tray for dirty plates
* Water pitcher
* Extra napkins
* Tray for dirty knives & silverware
* Corkscrew, funnel, brad awl (for wine coverings & port straining)
* Cruet set, sauce bowls, pickled vegetables & sides

DIAGRAM: Dinner ~ General Service Setting


Images 1: Green Baise (cotton flannel) Cloth

Images 2 & 3: Sides of Table

Image 4: Place Setting

Images 5 & 6: Sideboard Setting

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