A. Prepare and Serve a Breakfast. Calculate the cost per individual. Suggested menu:
a. French omelet.
Use the same proportions as in scrambled eggs. Have the bottom and sides of a frying pan wellbuttered. Do not stir, but as the mixture sets, draw in the edges with a knife and tip the pan so that the liquid portion runs into the bottom of the pan. When brown on the bottom, fold and turn upside down on a hot platter. b. Fluffy omelet.
Beat the yolk and seasoning with the milk and fold in the egg white, stiffly beaten. When it is brown on the bottom, place in an oven or under a gas broiler to dry out the top before folding. Since it requires some skill to make omelets and since large ones are more difficult to handle than smaller ones, it might be well here, for practice, to have one-egg omelets made for each person to be served.
2. Fried Mush.
Pack mush made of hominy or other breakfast cereal into a wet pan, until cold. Cut into slices; if moist dip into flour, and brown on both sides in a little fat in a frying pan.
It is commonly said, and surely with much truth, that it is easy to judge of a person's training by his ability to write a correct letter and his manners at table. While such manners are partly convention, in most cases there is a reason underlying the convention. For example, if chairs are close together and two people start to sit down from the space between adjacent chairs, confusion results. Therefore, convention says, sit down and get up from the left-hand side of the chair. If the chairs are placed at the table so that the front edge of the chair is in line with the hanging edge of the table cloth, there will be little if any adjustment and much noise will be avoided. Unless there are place cards with the names of guests the hostess indicates where each is to be seated. The guest of honor, if a man, is placed to the right of the hostess; if a woman, to the right of the host. Host and hostess are seated at opposite ends of the table. If there is a waitress, the hostess enters the dining room last and sits at the end nearest the entrance door, but if there is no waitress she places herself at the opposite end in order to facilitate serving. As far as possible men and women are arranged alternately, at a formal dinner coming out in couples. A hostess shows her social skill in placing congenial people together. All stand until the hostess is ready to sit down.
Silver, as explained in the directions for table setting, should be so placed that there is no difficulty in telling which article should be used at any time, but convention says the hostess should begin to eat first and anybody in doubt has only to follow her lead. A child often grasps the handle of his spoon with the back of his hand up. When he raises it to his mouth, this throws his arm up with his elbow out where it is almost certain to interfere with his neighbor. Instead, he should be instructed to hold it as he would a pen; then it will be raised with a wrist movement and with his elbow down. The soup spoon is dipped into the soup away from the person, so that the edge which is covered by the soup will be the higher edge as the soup is eaten and there will be less tendency to drip. Soup is eaten from the side instead of from the point of the spoon, because the spoon is too large to go into the mouth and one is less likely to put it in too far from the side. Bread and crackers are not broken into soup, because this is apt to scatter crumbs. If croutons or oyster crackers are served, these are already prepared and may be dropped into the soup without difficulty.
The hands are placed as far up on the handles of knives and forks as possible, so the fingers will not come in contact with the soiled parts. The fork may be used either in the right hand, as the spoon is, with the tines up, or it may be used in the left with the tines down. It is not good form in cutting meat to hold the fork in an upright position, grasping it around the middle of the handle by the fingers. Perhaps the reason for this is that it is not nearly so secure a hold as by the other method. The knife is never put into the mouth, because of the suggestion of cutting the lips or tongue. Since it is not used in the mouth, the knife should be used instead of the fork for taking butter from one's own butter plate.
Only such food is eaten with the fingers as will not soil them. When in doubt, do not use them. It is not etiquette to cut up all the meat before beginning to eat, as we do for children. There should be time between bites for the necessary preparation of the next mouthful. A whole slice of bread should not be spread at a time, partly for the same reason but mainly because of the difficulty. Spreading it on the left hand gives too much contact to be dainty.
Plates should not be shifted as one finishes with them, - that is the duty of the waitress; to do so looks as if the person concerned were in too great a hurry. Nor should they be piled together. In passing a plate for a second serving the knife and fork should be left on the plate because there is no other place to put them. They should be placed neatly together so that there shall be room on the plate to place the food and in such a position that there shall be as little danger as possible of their falling off. When the main course at dinner is finished, the knife and fork should again be arranged so that there is no danger of disturbing them in lifting the plate. At no time during a meal should the knife and fork be laid with the handles on the cloth and the other ends on the plate. This may cause liquids to run up toward the handles, beside implying that the plate is too full.
Salad and pie are eaten with a fork. If cut with a knife it implies that the salad is not crisp or the pie is not tender. There is a fashion, not always followed, of eating ice cream with a fork instead of a spoon. Perhaps this is to show that the cream is frozen hard enough not to drip. A spoon should not be left in a cup, because that makes it easy to tip the cup over.
The napkin should be placed on the lap with one fold left in it and should not be crumpled up. Dainty people sometimes contend that only a corner of the inside of the fold should be used to wipe the mouth so that the soiled part shall be kept inside. But perhaps one should not have such a soiled mouth as to make this necessary. Care must be taken to wipe the lips before drinking if there is danger of making a greasy mark on the glass, and after drinking if the lips are at all wet. This is especially necessary after drinking milk, but, with care, there is no need to dip much of the upper lip in the milk.
Noiselessness in eating means special care in eating soup not to suck in the breath. This is a common fault, and there are many jokes about the man who will make his fortune by inventing a noiseless soup spoon. For the same reason, the lips must be kept closed in chewing and only small mouthfuls should be taken. One should eat slowly, so as not to appear too hungry, and with sufficient deliberation to appear to be enjoying and appreciating what is served.
When asked to express a preference in regard to food, do so promptly even if you have no strong feeling. In offering second servings, it is better to say "May I give you some meat "instead of " some more meat." "Yes, please" or "Yes, thank you" are correct forms of accepting; " No more, thank you" of refusing. "No, thank you, I would not care for any" is awkward.
If at table articles are passed around by the people seated, then thoughtfulness in seeing that others are served with what they wish is necessary. Serving one's self without passing the dish shows selfishness. If it is necessary to ask to have something passed to you, do not address your request to the table in general, but to the one who is nearest the dish. Then the others are not unnecessarily troubled to discover who can pass it. At most formal dinners, however, guests are relieved of all passing by a waitress or butler, and then to pass a dish implies a reflection on the service.
During the meal one should sit erect, alertly attending to what is going on. Lolling or leaning back in the chair implies one is fatigued or bored. Elbows off the table is a good rule. Most of our movements are habits and the only way to acquire table manners is by constant practice. We cannot be careless every day and then expect to go through a formal occasion without a slip. We shall find ourselves automatically doing the thing we intended to avoid.
Remarks on the food are usually considered in bad taste. It should be taken for granted that it will be delicious, and appreciation can be shown in other ways than in words. Unpleasant and too intimate topics of conversation should be avoided. At a small table the conversation is usually general, at a larger party where a general conversation can hardly be heard, conversation alternately with those immediately around is the rule.
The handkerchief should not be in evidence at table and, if possible, should not be used. Picking the teeth or putting the fingers in the mouth, touching the hair, or even the face, should all be avoided.
The hostess knows when the meal is concluded, and so she is the one to give the signal for leaving the table. At some dinners the ladies go first, leaving the men to smoke. Everyone rises, however, while the ladies pass out. If one is not to be present at the next meal at the same place, it is not necessary to fold the napkin. It should be placed on the table as compactly as possible and not spread out, so that it is in danger of coming into contact with soiled dishes. If the napkin is folded, this should not be done on the table.
A dinner invitation necessitates a call afterward as an acknowledgment of the courtesy.
1. What points must be taken into consideration in determining the character of the breakfast to be served to a given family?
2. List as many points as possible that seem to you necessary to make breakfast a comfortable meal.