Baked shad - Sauce Allemand
Fillet of beef - Mushroom sauce
Mashed potatoes Browned sweet potatoes
Salted wafers Edam cheese
Queen of Pudding
Table Laid for Dinner
The tablecloth should be heavy and handsome, with large, square napkins to match. The same care must be exercised as before to have the size of the table suit the number of guests, and the cloth and the silence cloth perfectly straight and smooth. Place a center piece of flowers in the middle of the table. Let this be of medium size and height. Candles and mirrors are sometimes used. Candlesticks are placed in a square a short distance from the flowers. Candelabra are placed one on each side of the flowers. The decorations may set on an embroidered piece, or on one of lace-work, or of silk or satin, if preferred.
It is very generally customary to have olives and salted almonds on the table when the guests are seated. These are served in small, beautiful, oval-shaped dishes, placed at intervals along the table, and the guests help themselves to them between the courses.
Celery is used in the same way, but served on a low, long dish made for the purpose. It is customary at the present time to further decorate the table by placing at each end a high dish of beautiful fruit, artistically arranged. Each of these dishes is accompanied by two low dishes, containing small cakes, bonbons, etc. When these are used for the decorations, they always form a portion of the dessert. The cakes are passed with the ices, and the fruit is served afterwards.
The dinner plates should be the handsomest the house affords, and be put on with the same exactness directed for breakfast and luncheon. At the right of and next to each plate, place a knife for the roast, next to this a soup spoon. Next the plate on the left, place a dinner fork, then the fish fork, and on the outside an oyster fork. Place the napkin at the left of the plate, with a dinner roll folded in it. At the right, place the water glass,- a goblet is at present most desirable.
The oysters must be free from shells, perfectly cold, and served on cold plates. It is best to have shaved ice among them. As soon as the guests are seated, serve the oysters, with a lemon point on the edge of each plate. The dinner plate must be removed from the left with the left hand, and the oysters placed from the right with the right hand. If time and space are of any consequence, it is better to leave the hand-some plate off, and simply place the oysters from the right. Remove the course as directed before.
Place the soup tureen and some warm soup plates before the hostess. Lay the soup ladle conveniently at the right. When a portion of the soup is served, the waiter, who stands at the left of the hostess, should take it in the right hand and place it on the tray, step to the person sitting at the right of the host, and place it quietly on the plate before the guest. Serve the others in regular order.
To remove the course, first take the soup tureen on the tray, then remove the soup plates, one in each hand. Carry the platter of fish, the fish slicer, and the fish fork in on the tray. Place the platter before the host, and lay the fish slicer at the right of the platter, and the fish fork at the left of it. Bring the warm fish plates in, and place them where they can be conveniently taken with the left hand. When a plate of fish is served, take it with the right hand, and, standing at the right of the guest of honor, put it down, first removing the handsome plate, if one is used. Serve all in the same, way, then place the sauce boat on the tray, and offer at the left of each person. The host might serve this on the plate with the fish, except that some prefer fish without sauce. To remove the fish course, place the platter on the tray with the fish slicer and fish fork beside it, and carry away. Afterwards take the soiled plates, one in each hand. If the celery and almonds have not been served by those at the table, offer first the celery and then the almonds. Place the roast before the host, and lay the carving knife and gravy spoon at the right and the carving fork at the left of the platter. Place the warm plates in the same position as for fish. Bring in the sweet potatoes and the white potatoes, remove the covers, and let the host serve a portion of each vegetable with the meat.
When a plate is ready, serve in the same manner as the fish, and pass the sauce for the same reason as before. The potatoes of both kinds might be set on the side table, and passed by the waiter after he has served the meat, and returned to the side table, but it is just as good form to serve them on the plates, and lessen the time and service needed for the meal.
If birds are served, they are brought in immediately after the meat course is removed. The salad course comes next, and fashion at the present time, dictates that the salad shall be served by the waiter. Whether it is served by the waiter or a member of the family it is brought in on a tray in a handsome salad bowl. A salad fork and spoon are in the bowl. The waiter places a salad fork quietly at each place. If a member of the family is to serve the salad, place the bowl of salad before the host, and place cold salad plates at the left, convenient for serving. The waiter stands at the left of the host, and carries the plates the same as in the other courses.
After the salad, remove everything except the decorations and water glasses and the fruit and cakes, if they have been used on the table, as they often are at the present time. If there is a carving cloth, turn the corners together, and lift it quickly to the tray and carry out. Remove the crumbs. The waiter then brings the dessert, one plate at a time on a small silver tray, and places before the guests.
If the pudding is to be served by one of the family, it is brought in and placed in front of the hostess, with the pudding slicer at the right of the pudding dish, and the spoon at the left. The waiter serves each person as the hostess makes the plates ready. This course is removed the same as the others, and the coffee is served. If fruit is used after an ice, it and the coffee are on the table at the same time.
At fashionable dinners at the present time, black coffee is used, and is poured by the waiter from a silver coffee pot. Cream is never used with it, but sugar may be used. If it is desirable to have this office performed by a member of the family, a coffee tray and the coffee or chocolate pot would be placed before the hostess.
In an ideal dinner party, each guest is perfectly comfortable and happy during the entire time spent under the hostess' roof. Happy is the hostess who understands sufficiently the personal relations of her friends to invite only those who are congenial. Fortunate is she if she can cast all care aside, and without any apparent effort infuse the spirit of good cheer into each of her guests. It is not only the good pleasure of the hostess to do these things, but it is her duty, as well. She meets her guests in the drawing room, and tactfully and skillfully aids them in forming pleasant little groups, and keeps them chatting merrily until all have arrived. Then the party enters the dining room.
The host leads the way, taking the most honored lady. She may be the oldest lady, or the one in whose honor the dinner is given. The other guests enter in any order they please. The hostess leaves the drawing room last, with the most honored gentleman.
At the table, the hostess must be gracious and happy, and perfectly at ease, seemingly unconscious of all that passes, yet deftly managing to have the serving well done, and keep the guests all engaged in bright and cheerful conversation. When the hostess sees that all are ready, she lays her napkin on the table, and the host rises and leads the way to the drawing room.