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General Rules for a Good Dinner

There should be always two soups, white and brown, two fish, dressed and undressed; a bouilli and petits-patés; and on the sideboard a plain roast joint, besides many savoury articles, such as hung beef, Bologna sausages, pickles, cold ham, cold pie, &c. some or all of these according to the number of guests, the names of which the head-servant ought to whisper about to the company, occasionally offering them. He should likewise carry about all the side-dishes or entrées, after the soups are taken away in rotation. A silver lamp should be kept burning, to put any dish upon that may grow cold.

It is indispensable to have candles, or plateau, or epergne, in the middle of the table.

Beware of letting the table appear loaded; neither should it be too bare. The soups and fish should be dispatched before the rest of the dinner is set on; but, lest any of the guests eat of neither, two small dishes of patés should be on the table. Of course, the meats and vegetables and fruits which compose these dinners must be varied according to the season, the number of guests, and the tastes of the host and hostess. It is also needless to add that without iced champagne and Roman punch a dinner is not called a dinner.

These observations and the following directions for dinners are suitable to persons who chuse to live fashionably; but the receipts contained in this book will suit any mode of living, and the persons consulting it will find matter for all tastes and all establishments. There is many an excellent dish not considered adapted to a fashionable table, which, nevertheless, is given in these pages.


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The Lady's Own Cookery Book (1844).

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