The coffee-urn and silver service necessary are placed in a straight line before the hostess. The one or two kinds of sub-stantials are set before the host; vegetables or entrées are placed on the sides. Do not have them askew. It is quite as easy for an attendant to place a dish in a straight line as in an oblique angle with every other dish on the table.
I advocate the general use of oatmeal porridge for breakfast. Nothing is more wholesome, and nothing more relished after a little use. If not natural, the taste should be acquired. It is invaluable for children, and of no less benefit for persons of mature years. Nearly all the little Scotch and Irish children are brought up on it. When Queen Victoria first visited Scot-land, she noticed the particularly ruddy and healthy appearance of the children, and, after inquiry about their diet and habits, became at once a great advocate for the use of porridge. She used it for her own children, and it was at once introduced very generally into England. Another of its advantages is that serving it as a first course enables the cook to prepare many dishes, such as steaks, omelets, etc., just as the family sit down to breakfast; and when the porridge is eaten, she is ready with the other dishes "smoking hot."
It would be well if more attention were given to breakfasts than is usually bestowed. The table might have a fresher look with flowers or a flowering plant in the centre. The breakfast napery is very pretty now, with colored borders to suit the col-or of the room, the table-cloth and napkins matching.
The beefsteaks should be varied, for instance, one morning with a tomato sauce, another à la maître d'hôtel, or with a brown sauce, or garnished with water-cresses, green pease, fried potatoes, potato-balls, etc., instead of being always the same beefsteak, too frequently overcooked or undercooked, and often floating in butter.
Melons, oranges, compotes, any and all kinds of fruits, should be served at breakfast. In the season, sliced tomatoes, with a French or Mayonnaise dressing, is a most refreshing breakfast dish. A great resource is in the variety of omelets, and with a little practice, nothing is so easily made. One morning it may be a plain omelet; another, with macaroni and cheese; another, with fine herbs; another, with little strips of ham or with oysters. The English receipt on page 148 makes a pleasant change for a veal cutlet. When chickens are no longer very young, the receipt on page 175 (deviled chicken), with a Cunard sauce or a white sauce, is another change. The different arrangements of meat-balls and croquettes, with tomato, cream, apple, or brown sauces, are delicious when they are freshly and carefully made.
As there are hundreds of delicious breakfast dishes, which only require a little attention and interest to understand, how unfortunate it must be for a man to have a wife who has nothing for breakfast but an alternation of juiceless beefsteak, greasy and ragged mutton-chops, and swimming hash, with unwholesome hot breads to make up deficiencies!
Breakfast parties are very fashionable, being less expensive than dinners, and just as satisfactory to guests. They are served generally about ten o'clock, although any time from ten to twelve o'clock may be chosen for the purpose. It seems to me that ten o'clock, or even nine o'clock (it depends upon the persons invited), is the preferable hour. Guests might prefer to retain their strength by a repast at home if the breakfast-hour were at twelve o'clock, and then the fine breakfast would be less appreciated. At breakfast parties, with the exception of the silver service being on the table all the time for tea and coffee, the dishes are served in courses precisely as for dinner.
In England, breakfast parties are perhaps more in favor than lunch parties, especially among the literati. Macaulay said, when extolling the merits of breakfast parties as compared with all other entertainments, "Dinner parties are mere formalities; but you invite a man to breakfast because you want to see him."
Three bills of fare are given for breakfast parties, which will show the order of different courses:
French rolls or petits pains. Sauterne. 3d Course. - Small fillets or the tender cuts from porter-house-steaks, served on little square slices of toast, with mushrooms. 4th Course. - Fried oysters; breakfast puffs. 5th Course. - Fillets of grouse (each fillet eut in two), on little thin slices of fried mush, garnished with potatoes à la Parisienne. 6th Course. - Sliced oranges, with sugar. 7th Course. - Waffles, with maple sirup.
1st Course. - An Havana orange for each person, dressed on a fork (page 338). 2d Course. - Boiled shad, maître d'hôtel sauce; Saratoga potatoes. Tea or coffee. 3d Course. - Lamb-chops, tomato sauce. Château Yquem. 4th Course. - Omelet, with green pease, or garnished with parsley and thin diamonds of ham, or with shrimps, etc., etc. 5th Course. - Fillets of beef, garnished with water-cresses and little round radishes; muffins. 6th Course. - Rice pancakes, with maple sirup.
1st Course. - Melons.
4th Course. - Poached eggs on anchovy-toast.
5th Course. - Little fillets of porter-house-steaks, with tomatoes à la Mayonnaise.
6th Course. - Peaches, quartered, sweetened, and half-frozen.