Experience has shown that some foods are more acceptable at one time of day than other foods, and that certain combinations are more pleasing than others. The choice of foods will also depend upon the season of the year. For example, breakfast is, as a rule, made up of simple foods that are not highly seasoned nor subjected to elaborate methods of cooking. A fruit, a cereal, and bread, with, possibly, eggs or meat, are served at breakfast. A hot beverage is added by most people to this meal.
Fundamentally, dinner consists of a hot meat or other protein dish, with one or two vegetables. Soup, salad, and a sweet dessert are often served. The soup is served before the meat course, and the salad and dessert follow it. The dessert may be a fruit, a cookie or other pastry, a pudding, or a frozen dish.
Lunch or supper may be a very simple meal, consisting of a soup with crackers, one protein dish (eggs, milk, or meat) with bread and stewed fruit, or a salad, with a simple dessert.
The table should always be neatly set, with individual places arranged for each one who is to partake of the meal. Each place should be wide enough for a plate, with a knife and spoon at the right and a fork at the left side. A tumbler should be placed at the point of the knife and a napkin at the left of the fork. Everything on the table should be perfectly clean, the napkin should be neatly folded, and all the articles should be uniformly arranged, in order to give a neat appearance to the table. A flower or plant in the centre will add to its attractiveness. Salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, and anything of the kind that may be needed with the meal should be arranged where it can be easily reached. Fresh water should be poured into the tumblers just before the meal is served. The bread, butter, and so on, may be put on the table several minutes before the meal is announced, but the hot dishes should be placed immediately before the family is seated.