This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"The Paris 'fish dinners' for Wednesdays and Fridays are especially studied by hostesses to impress their visitors with the cleverness of their cook, who can serve up a most varied banquet without hurting the most tender devotee's conscience by heretical meats. There is even a churchly touch in the menu, which represents a tiny illuminated missal. Flowers are banished from the taule, but foliage of all kinds and tints is equally pretty and more novel for decoration. At dessert the fruits are no longer put on dishes, but served up as if hanging on their own trees, grapes, apples, and oranges being deftly fastened on small shrubs, and the pots being hidden by gold-embroidered plush coverings".
"From information supplied by a Parisian caterer it appears that there are at present four fashionable styles of dinner-table decorations in vogue in the Gay City. These are known respectively as the ' Diner Parterre,' the 'DinerForetVierge,' the 'Diner Virtuine,' and the 'Diner Reposoir.' In the first the table is ornamented with little flat silver saucers filled with green moss, in the centre of which is a glass tulip-lamp. In the second the decora'ions consist of numerous old Dresden china statuettes and similar articles de vertu in porcelain: Cupids, Venuses, Watteau lords and ladies, set here and there singly or in groups or half hidden in clusters of flowers. The object of the Diner Repo-oir is to remind one of the simple decoration of the village church on the occasion of the great Catholic festival of the Fete-Dieu. A garland, thick in foliage and composed of roses, violets and ivy, goes round the table. In the centre a large basket containing the same flowers is placed. In the Diner Foret Vierge the decoration consists of a number of silver baskets fashioned in the shape of the bales or hampers in which coffee is shipped from the plantations.
These baskets are filled with bunches of orchids tied together with knots of brilliantly colored and variegated ribbons".
"The fashionable dinner parties in Paris have taken up a new craze - to have all their principal viands brought from great distances. These chic dinners have sterlets brought from the distant Volga, haunch of reindeer from Lapland, a bear ham from the frozen regions of North Russia, and other novelties from other inhospitable and uncomeatable places".
"Emperor William recently expressed to Grand Duke Vladimir, of Russia, his regret at not being able to get a taste once more of a certain Russian soup, called uchat of which he had been excessively fond on his former visits to St. Petersburg, and the proper recipe for which seemed to be a secret, even to his chief cook. He was pleasantly surprised shortly afterward at having this favorite dish served to him in a masterly manner. Grand Duke Vladimir had quietly sent his cook to Berlin with two enormous live sturgeons, taken fresh from the Volga, this fish forming the essential ingredients of the ucha. The difficulty attending this little attention may readily be appreciated from the fact that the sturgeon had to be transported from the frontier of Asia, and that this fish, like trout, has to be kept constantly supplied with fresh water during the transit in order to keep it alive".
" The bill of fare at the banquet which was given at Madrid last week in honor of the anniversary of the discovery of America was an international curiosity in its way. By way of doing ' homage to Co lumbus' the guests who sat down to dine at the Theatre Royal on the 12th inst. were supplied with the following menu: Soup - Isabel, the Catholic and American soup; fish from the port of Palos, from which Columbus set sail on his first voyage to America, loin a l'Amiral, Castiliar. partridge, Andes pheasants, Jamaica punch, roasted Brazilian peacock, Estremadura beans, Havana sweetbread,-New York ires, Granada fruit, and Puerto Rico coffee".