Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Common Sense Advice for Eating in Company

From author Mimi Matthews:
With the holiday season well under way, it seems an appropriate time to review a few of the many Victorian era rules for dining in company. The etiquette of the table hasn’t changed a great deal over the years. Some rules are merely a matter of basic common sense. Nevertheless, we could all do with a refresher now and then. To that end, I’ve gathered ten tips from various Victorian era etiquette books and articles addressing the basics of dining etiquette. I present them to you below.

1) Remove Your Gloves
“At the time of taking refreshment, of course, they must be taken off. No well-educated person would eat in gloves.”
Etiquette for Ladies, 1843.
2) Don’t Eat Too Much or Too Little
“Be careful to avoid the extremes of gluttony or over daintiness at table. To eat enormously is disgusting; but if you eat too sparingly, your host may think that you despise his fare.”
The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness, 1874.
3) Eat and Drink Quietly
“It is decidedly vulgar to make a noise, either in taking the food into the mouth, in its mastication, or in swallowing.”
Good Housekeeping, 1893.
4) Don’t Chew with Your Mouth Open
“Do not fill your mouth so full that you cannot answer if you are addressed; nor open your mouth so wide during the process of chewing that your opposite neighbor may see the semi-chewed viands, which, if she be a delicate lady, might destroy her appetite altogether.”
The Golden Rule and Oddfellows Family Companion, 1847.
5) Don’t Abstain from Taking the Last Piece
“Avoid also, that most vulgar habit which prevails among half-bred country people, of abstaining from taking the last piece on a dish. It amounts almost to an insult toward your host, to do any thing which shows that you fear that the vacancy cannot be supplied and that there is likely to be a scarcity.”
                                                                                                      Etiquette for Gentlemen, 1847
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