This is more espccially a ladies' meal. If one gives a lunch party, ladies alone are generally invited. It is an informal meal on ordinary occasions, when every thing is placed upon the ta ble at once. A servant remains in the room only long enough to serve the first round of dishes, then leaves, supposing that confidential conversation may be desired. Familiar friends oft-en "happen in" to lunch, and are always to be expected.
Some fashionable ladies have the reputation of having very fine lunches - chops, chickens, oysters, salads, chocolate, and many other good things being provided; and others, just as fashionable, have nothing but a cup of tea or chocolate, some thin slices of bread and butter, and cold meat; or, if of Teu-tonic taste, nothing but cheese, crackers, and ale, thus reserv-ing the appetite for dinner.
In entertaining at lunch, the dishes are served in the same manner as for dinner. Each dish is served as a separate course. It may be placed on the table before the hostess, if the lunch party is not very large; but it is generally served from the side. The table is also decorated in the same manner as for dinner, with a centre-piece of flowers or of fruit, and with various compotiers around the centre, containing fruits, bonbons, little fancy cakes, Indian or other preserves, etc. Other ornaments, in Dres-den china, majolica ware, Venetian or French glass, etc., filled with flowers, are often seen. Little dishes of common glass in different shapes, as crosses, quarter-moons, etc., about an inch high (see cuts, page 58), are also filled with flowers, and placed at symmetrical distances. As the last-mentioned decorations are very cheap, every one may indulge in them, and consider that there are no more beautiful ornaments, after all.
The lunch-table is generally covered with a colored table-cloth.
The principal dishes served are patés, croquettes, shell-fish, game, salads - in fact, ail kinds of entrées and cold desserts, or I may say dishes are preferred which do not require carving. Bouillon is generally served as a first course in bouillon cups, which are quite like large coffee-cups, or coffee or tea cups may be used, although any dinner soup served in soup-plates is en regle. A cup of chocolate, with whipped cream on the top, is often served as another course.
I will give five bills of fare, reserved from five very nice little lunch parties:
Bouillon; sherry. Roast oysters on half-shell; Sauterne. Little vols-au-vent of oysters. Thin scollops, or cuts of fillet of beef, braised; French pease; Champagne. Chicken croquettes, garnished with fried parsley; potato croquettes. Cups of chocolate, with whipped cream. Salad - lettuce dressed with tarragon. Biscuits glacés; fruit-ices. Fruit. Bonbons.
Raw oysters on half-shell.
Chicken croquettes; French pease.
Snipe; potatoes à la Parisienne.
Salad of lettuce.
Neuchâtel cheese; milk wafers, toasted.
Vanilla ice-cream; fancy cakes.
Deviled crabs; olives; claret punch.
Sweet-breads à la Milanaise.
Fried oysters, garnished with chow-chow.
Chicken salad, or, rather, Mayonnaise of chicken.
Wine jelly, and whipped cream.
Fried frogs' legs; French pease.
Chicken in scallop-shells; Champagne.
Sweet-bread croquettes; tomato sauce.
Peaches and cream, frozen; fancy cakes.
Lamb-chops, en papillote.
Chetney of slices of baked fillet of beef.
Chocolate, with whipped cream.
Spinach on tongue slices (page 145), sauce Tartare.
Cheese; lettuce, garnished with slices of radishes and nasturtium blossoms, French dressing.
Mince-meat patties; Champagne.
Ices and fancy cakes.