A prudent housekeeper, in providing for a family, or for company, will endeavonr to secure variety, and avoid extravagance, taking care not to have two dishes alike, or nearly alike, such as ducks and pork, veal and fowls; and avoiding, when several sorts are required, to have such things as cannot be eaten cold, or cannot be warmed or re-cooked. There is a great waste occasioned if these principles are overlooked in providing for a party. When a table is to be set out, it is usual to place nearly the whole provisions at once; but if comfort is the object, it is better to have each dish and its accompanying sauces and vegetables sent in separately, hot from the kitchen.
For plain family dinners, soup or pudding is placed at the head of the table, and meat at the lower end; vegetables on each side of the middle, and sauce boats in the middle. Boiled meat at the top; roast meat at bottom; soup in the middle; then the vegetables and sauce boats at cross corners of the middle dish. Poultry or mutton at bottom; boiled poultry at top; roast poultry, or game, at bottom; vegetables and sauces so disposed as to give the appearance of the whole table being covered without being crowded.
When there are several courses, the first consists of soups, stews, boiled fish, fricassees; poultry with ham, bacon, tongue, or chine; and roast or boiled meat.
For second course, birds and game of all sorts, fish fried, pickled, or potted; pigeon pies, patties, brawn, omelets, oysters stewed or scolloped, and lobsters or crabs. Tarts, cheesecakes, and sweet dishes of all kinds, are sometimes placed with the second course, but more frequently form separate courses by themselves.
The dessert is usually served in another room, which is a great accommodation both to the servants, who can prepare it at leisure, and to the guests in quitting the smell of a hot dinner. A d'oyley, a finger-glass, two wine-glasses, a China dessert plate, and silver knife and fork, and spoon, to each person. Every variety of fruit, fresh and preserved, is admissible; and biscuits, and pound-cake, with an epergne or stand of jellies in the middle. Varieties of wine are generally placed at each end.
The modern practice of dining late has added importance to the luncheon, and almost annihilated the supper meal. The following are suitable for either: soups, sandwiches of ham, tongue, dried sausage, or beef; anchovy, toast or husks; potted beef, lobster, or cheese; dried salmon, lobsters, crayfish, or oysters, poached eggs; patties; pigeon-pies; sausages; toast with marrow (served on a water-plate), cheesecakes; puffs, mashed or scolloped potatoes, brocoli; asparagus, sea-kale with toast, creams, jellies, preserved or dried fruits, salad, radishes, etc. If a more substantial supper is required, it may consist of fish, poultry, game; slices of cold meat, pies of chickens, pigeons, or game; lamb or mutton chops, cold poultry, broiled with high seasoning, or fricasseed; rations or toasted cheese. 25