Friday, October 31, 2014

Etiquette for Lobster and Shellfish

How to Eat a Lobster Boiled or Broiled: 
Andy (Andrew) Warhol's artwork added to "Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette", as well as her wonderful cookbook
1. Holding the body of the lobster on the plate with the left hand, twist off the claws with the right. Lay on side of plate. 
2. Holding the lobster steady on plate, if necessary, lift up tail meat with fork. Cut into manageable segments with knife, dip in melted butter or mayonnaise.
 3. Break off small claws and gently suck out meat from severed end. 
4. Crack big claws, extract meat with seafood fork or nutpick, dip in melted butter or mayonnaise. 
5. With seafood fork, pick out the good meat in the body, including the tamale, the green liver (and in females, the scarlet roe). Real lobster lovers unhinge the back and open the body of the lobster to extract the remaining sweet morsels.  
A collection of seafood forks and cocktail forks, along with one splayed-tine lemon fork.
Seafood Clams (Steamed)

The steaming process is supposed to open the shell completely but sometimes doesn't. If a shell is not fully open, take it up and bend it back with the fingers. If this doesn't work, forget that one. Do not use a dinner knife or fork as an opener. With shell fully open, take the shell in left hand just over the dish and with the right hand lift out the clam by the neck. Holding the neck with the right hand, pull the body of the clam from it and discard the neck sheath. Holding the clam by the neck with the right hand, place the whole clam first in melted butter or broth, or both alternately, then in the mouth in one bite. 
As empty shells collect, remove to butter plate or shell plates provided (and as clam-eating of this kind is always informal, it is an excellent idea for the hostess to provide platters or bowls for empty shells as well as finger bowls with hot soapy water afterward). Do not spoon up remaining liquid in soup plate- it may be sandy, but drink the broth separately provided in a bouillon cup or small bowl (but not if it is in a little dish). If clams are fried, eat with fork after breaking into two pieces if necessary. As these are greasy they should not be taken in the fingers, even by the neck.

Lobster and Hard-Shelled Crabs (Broiled or Boiled)
Lobster picks, seafood forks and rare Victorian silver lobster tongs.
The claws of both of these require dexterous handling. They should be cracked in the kitchen but further cracking at table (with a nutcracker) may be needed. Then the shells are pulled apart by the fingers and the tender meat extracted carefully so, if possible, it comes out whole. A nut pick is useful for this, but an oyster fork may do it, too. The claw meat, if small and in one piece, is dipped in melted butter or, with cold crab or lobster, in mayonnaise, then put all at once into the mouth. Larger pieces are first cut with a fork. The green material in the stomach cavity, called the "tamale," along with the "coral" or roe in the female, are delicacies and should be eaten with the fork. The small claws are pulled from the body with the fingers, then the body-ends placed between the teeth so the meat may be extracted by chewing (but without a sucking noise). The major portion of meat is found in the stomach cavity and the tail and is first speared, one side at a time, with the fork, then with the help of the knife, if necessary, lifted out and cut as needed into mouthfuls, then dipped in sauce or mayonnaise with the fork.

An odd fact ~ Watch what you serve if you are hosting any of the British monarchy. British Royals are never served shellfish in order to avoid poisoning.
Served pickled or smoked on toothpicks as cocktail titbits and are thus taken via toothpick directly to the mouth. Served in shells and all in a variety of soup styles, too Moules Marinieres (Mussels mariner style) in a soup dish with a delicate thin soup like sauce redolent with garlic. The mussels may be picked out with a small oyster fork provided, but it is easier and just as correct to use the shells containing the mussels as small scoops. Pick up with the right hand and, placing the tip of the shell in the mouth gently (and silently), suck out mussel and sauce, then discard shell onto butter plate or platter provided. When shells have been cleared from dish, eat balance of sauce with spoon and bits of French bread used to sop up sauce, then conveyed to mouth with fork. The Italian variety of this dish has tomato, and is eaten the same way, often as a main dish with salad. A finger bowl is essential.

Oysters and Clams (Half Shell)-
Antique oyster or seafood fork

Hold the shell steady with left hand and, using oyster fork, lift oyster or clam whole from shell, detaching, where necessary, with fork. Dip in cocktail sauce in container on plate, if desired. Eat in one mouthful. Oyster crackers may be dropped whole in sauce, extracted with oyster fork and eaten.
E.B. Mallory and Company's oyster advertisement, circa 1880's.  Eliada Blakesley Mallory canning company in Gladesville and Baltimore, Maryland produced "Arrow Brand" oysters, thus the arrows being used as oyster forks in the advertisement. 
Shrimps, Scallops, Oysters (Fried)-
Diamond brand oyster advertisement.
Eaten like fried clams, except that oriental fried shrimp (French fried with the tails on) are to be taken up by the tail and dipped in sauce, then bitten off to the tail, which is then discarded. Unshelled shrimp are lifted in the fingers, shelled, and conveyed whole to the mouth.
From the original "Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Etiquette Between Nations

the Age Old Perplexing Matter
A 19th century French political cartoon, depicting a helpless China being divided among Britain, Germany, Russia, France and Japan.

In England, in these days of leveling down, it is really inspiriting to those who reverence old times to find that there are, excluding the two sister Kingdoms, eighty-nine sorts of men above the level of a burgess. As to etiquette between nations, that has long been a perplexing matter. 

In I504, Pope Julius II composed and promulgated a complete list of seniority for the use of ambassadors in his own chapel, recommending Europe to adopt it everywhere. It commences with the Pope, and ends with the nephews of the Pope and the Legates of Bologna and Ferrara. It includes twenty-six Potentates and Powers. England is placed eighth on the list. But the question was by no means settled even then. Monsieur, brother of Louis XIV, would not allow his second wife, the Princess Palatine, ever to see her family otherwise than incognito. "Ah," said he, "how can I, a Prince of the blood, pay honour to an elector, because he happens to be the uncle of my wife? As for giving a chair to an elector, I really can't." 

For a long time the republics strove in vain to be accorded what were called Royal Honours. It was one of the fine things Cromwell did, that he insisted on the maintenance towards his Republic of the forms of ceremonial which had been observed towards the monarchy which he had suppressed. The rivalries between Ambassadors to obtain superiority over one another were immense. In 1661 the Spanish envoy gained priority of place by attacking the carriage of the French Ambassador in the streets of London, hamstringing his horses, and killing his men. 

The first Napoleon was very tenacious, as it became him to be, in these matters. A curious proof of this occurred in 1805, when all the copies of the Almanach de Gotha, which had just been printed for the year, were seized and sent to Paris, because, by the old habit always adopted in the volume of arranging reigning houses alphabetically, the list began, not with Napoleon, but with the Anhalt duchies; and, animated by the same spirit, England has always maintained what may be called naval ceremonial, as a proof to other Powers of the Jurisdiction over the High Seas which she once pretended to possess. In the time of James I, England insisted that her maritime supremacy should be acknowledged by the instant disappearance of the flags and sails of all other ships, English vessels showing their own opinion of their own importance by offering no kind of greeting in return. 

In our day, the law, as interpreted by Dr. Fhillimore, is that "maritime ceremonials can be claimed as recognitions of sovereignty, when the sea is subject to the sovereign who claims them." This sovereignty, according to a usage which has acquired the force of law, extends to a maritime league three miles from low water-mark, and within that distance it is laid down that salutes are not optional but necessary. The limit of three miles was originally chosen because it was supposed to represent the range that a cannon ball could cover.
"Emperor Sultan Mahmud, son of the Sultan Moustapha, always victorious..."
Forms and formularies are even more puzzling than questions of ceremonial. The French diplomatic manual alone contains four hundred and sixteen separate types and models. Few of us know the exact signification and minute differences of bulls, brief and protocol, of capitulations and concessions, of exequations and concordats, of prescripts and pragmatic sanctions, of golden bulls and placitum regiums, of verbal notes and memoires and revet sails, of Firmans (a royal mandate or decree issued by a sovereign in certain historical Islamic states) and Hatti-Sherifs (an irrevocable Turkish decree countersigned by the Sultan). It is more instructive to learn that a congress has the power of deciding and concluding, while a conference can only discuss and prepare. 

As a choice specimen of florid formulary we quote The Frenell Treaty in IJ.Kt Willi Turkey. The document is headed by a star, and then begins:—
"The Emperor Sultan Mahmud, son of the Sultan Moustapha, always victorious. "This is what is ordered by this glorious and imperial sign, conqueror of the world, this noble and sublime mark, the efficacity of which proceeds from the divine assistance. 
"I, who by the excellence of the infinite favours of the Most High, and by the eminence of the miracles filled with benediction of the chief of the prophets (to whom be the most ample salutations), am the Sultan of the glorious Sultans; the Emperor of the powerful Emperors; the distributor of crowns to the Chosroes who are seated upon thrones; the shade of God upon earth; the servitor of the two illustrious and noble towns of Mecca and Medina, august and sacred places, where all Mussulmans offer up their prayers; the protector and master of Holy Jerusalem; the sovereign of the three great towns of Constantinople, Adrianople, and Brusa, as also of Damascus, the odour of Paradise; of Tripoli in Syria; of Egypt, the rarity of the century, renowned for its delights; of all Arabia; of Africa; of Barca," . . . and eight other cities;"particularly of Bagdad, capital of the Caliphs; of Erzeroum the delicious," . . . and eleven other places; "of the isles of Morea, Candia, Cyprus, Chio, and Rhodes; of Barbary and Ethiopia; of the war fortresses ofAlgiers, Tripoli, and Tunis; of the isles and shores of the White and the Black Sea; of the country of Natolia and the kingdoms of Roumelia; of all Kurdistan and Greece; of Turcomania, Tartary, Circassia, Cabarta, and Georgia; of the noble tribes of Tartars, and of all the hordes which depend thereon; of Caffa and other surrounding districts; of all Bosnia and its dependencies; of the fortress of Belgrade, place of war; of Servia, and also of the fortresses or castles which are there; of the countries of Albania; of all Walachia and Moldavia, and of the forts and battlements which are in those provinces; possessor, finally, of a vast number of towns and fortresses, the names of which it is unnecessary to enumerate and boast of here; I, who am the Emperor, the asylum of justice, and the king, of kings, the centre of victory, the Sultan son of Sultans, the Emperor Mahmoud, son of Sultan Moustapha, son of Sultan Muhammed; I, who, by my power, origin of felicity, am ornamented with the title of Emperor of the two Earths, and, to fill up the glory of my Caliphat, am made illustrious by the title of Emperor of the two Seas." 
There ends the description of the Turkish monarch: the document then turns westward, and begins to designate the King of France, who is catalogued as follows: "The glory of the great princes of the faith of Jesus; the highest of the great and the magnificent of the religion of the Messiah; the arbitrator and the mediator of the affairs of Christian nations; clothed with the true marks of honour and of dignity; full of grandeur, of glory, and of majesty; the Emperor of France and of the other vast kingdoms which belong thereto; our most magnificent, most honoured, sincere, and ancient friend, Louis XV, to whom may God accord all success and happiness, having sent to our august Court, which is the seat of the Caliphat"—(here we revert to Turkey)—"a letter containing evidences of the most perfect sincerity, and of the most particular affection, candour, and straightforwardness; and the said letter being destined to our Sublime Porte offelicity, which, by the infinite goodness of the incontestably majestic Supreme Being, is the asylum of the most magnificent Sultans, and of the most respectable Emperors; the model of Christian Seigneurs, able, prudent, esteemed, and honoured minister, Louis, Marquis de Villeneuve, his Councillor of State and his Ambassador to our Porte of felicity (may the end thereof be filled up with joy), has demanded the permission to present and hand in the aforesaid letter, which has been granted to him by our imperial consent, conformably to the ancient usage of our Court; and consequently, the said ambassador having been admitted before our imperial throne, surrounded with light and glory, he has given in the aforesaid letter, and has been witness of our Majesty in participating in our power ind imperial grace; and then the translation of its loving meaning has been presented, according to the ancient custom of the Ottomans, atthe foot of our sublime throne, by the channel of the most honourable El Hadji Mehemmed Pacha, our first Minister; the absolute interpreter of our ordinances; the ornament of the world; the preserver of good order amongst peoples; the ordainer of the grades of our empire; the instrument of the glory of our crown; the road of the grace of royal majesty; the very virtuous Grand Vizier; very venerable and fortunate minister, lieutenant-general, whose power and prosperity may God cause to triumph and to endure." 
Then begins the treaty, which goes on through eightyfive articles, and finishes with these words: "On the part of our imperial Majesty I engage myself, under our most sacred and most inviolable august oath, both lor our sacred imperial person and for our august successors, as well as for our imperial viziers, our honoured pachas, and, generally, all our illustrious servitors who have the honour and the felicity to be in our slavery, that nothing shall ever be permitted contrary to the present articles." 
Not quite so gorgeous, but very flowery, nevertheless, is the verbiage of The Persian Formula of Treaty. The heading of the treaty of 1814 between England and the Shah is: "Praise be to God, the all-perfect and all-sufficient. These happy leaves are a nosegay plucked from the thornless garden of concord, and tied by the hands of the plenipotentiaries of the two great States in the form of a definitive treaty, in which the articles of friendship and amity are blended." In another place a firman is spoken of as being "equal to a decree of fate," which is a somewhat strong simile. 
The Persian style does not grow modern, it keeps up its local colour; for even as late as the year 1855, in the treaty then made with France, we find the following designations: "In the name of the clement and merciful God. His High Majesty, the Emperor Napoleon, whose elevation is like that of the planet Saturn; to whom the sun serves as a standard; the luminous star of the firmament of crowned heads; the sun of the heaven of royalty; the ornament of the diadem; the splendour of standards, im. perial ensigns; the illustrious and liberal monarch ;—and his majesty elevated like the planet Saturn; the sovereign to whom the sun serves as a standard; whose splendour and mag. nificence are like those of the heavens; the sublime sovereign; the monarch whose armies are as numerous as the stars; whose greatness recalls that of Djemschid; whose magnificence equals that of Darius, heir of the crown and throne of the Keyanians, the sublime and absolute Emperor ofall Persia." It will be observed that whereas the compliments paid to himself by the Sultan are mainly moral and territorial, the forms of self-adoration adopted by the Shah are astronomical and historical. It would be curious to follow up this difference to its roots, and to seek out the peculiarities of national character which lead a Turk to talk of his dominions and his virtues, and a Persian to quote his ancestors and the solar system.

Titles are of a very remote antiquity in the case of royal persons. Luckily for archaeologists, it was because Darius persisted in calling himself King of Kings that we had a key to the cuneiform writing, of which Grotefence availed himself when he unlocked to mankind the treasures contained in the arrowheaded records of Egypt and the East. There is some interesting matter in the history, as here given, of modern Decoration.
Den Kongelige Norske St. Olavs Orden ~ (Sanct Olafs Orden is the old Norwegian name) is a Norwegian order of chivalry instituted by King Oscar I of Norway and Sweden in August of 1847, as a distinctly Norwegian order.
Of the great chivalric institutions of to-day, the Garter and the Seraphim are the oldest: they are twins, for both saw the light in 1344; both occupy the highest place in European reverence; and if the Garter is admitted on the Continent to be the more glorious of the two, it is not because, as Selden urged, " it exceeds in majesty, honour, and fame, all chivalrous Orders in the world," but, in reality, because England is a bigger and a stronger country than Sweden, and because what belongs to the former inspires, consequently, more awe abroad than the latter is competent to provoke. Next to these patriarchs follows the Annunciada, another most illustrious fraternity, with two legends for its origin; it dates from 1362. 

The Golden Fleece comes fourth: it was set up in Bruges in 1429 by Philip III of Burgundy; but it passed to Spain with the provinces of Flanders, and was transferred again to Austria in 1713 by the Emperor Charles VI, when he acquired the Low Countries. Spain, however, would not consent to lose it; and, after much wrangling, it was tacitly agreed that it should become the joint property of both the Spanish and Imperial Governments. 

The Elephant claims to have come into existence in 1159, when a Danish Crusader having slain an elephant single-handed with his sword, Canute VI is said to have established this very noble Order in memory of that remarkable event. But this story is not admitted by the annalists of chivalry; they allow the Order to date only from 1478. St. Andrew of Russia and the Black Eagle are very modem: the former was established in 1698 by Peter the Great; and the latter in 1701, to commemorate the coronation of the first King of Prussia. St. Stephen of Austria is still more recent; it was set up by Maria Theresa in 1764.

But though these eight majestic Orders are alone included in the first class, there are, as was said just now, several other knighthoods whose antiquity is as great and whose merit is almost as real as theirs. Though we group the latter here with the great mass of Orders of every kind, some of them deserve a special mention. St. Hubert of Bavaria, which dates from 1444; the extinct "Ordres du Roi," in France, St. Michael, St. Louis, and the St. Esprit; the Danebrog of Denmark, with its legend of a flag which fell miraculously from heaven in 1219, in the middle of a fierce battle which it helped the Danes to win; the Spanish Order of Montesa and the Christ of Portugal, which two replaced the Temple when it was extinguished in the Peninsula in 1315; the White Eagle, established in 1325 in Poland, but now absorbed by Russia; our own Bath ;—all these are examples of Orders of this class which possess or have possessed much dignity, and there are several others like them. And, subsidiarily, there are the purely military decorations, such as St. George of Russia, the Iron Cross, and our Victoria Cross, which have a merit and a value of a special kind, and must not be confounded with the mass of ribbons which constitute the third category.

This third category includes, at the present moment, about one hundred-thirty Orders. The number fluctuates; for, though it is increased almost every year by the creation of new institutions, it is diminished, from time to time, by the absorption of independent states, and by the consequent suppression of the Orders belonging to those states. These two conflicting causes make it somewhat difficult to ascertain the exact number of orders in existence on any given day. 

The books which have been published on the subject (and there are a good many of them, copied from each other, in all the languages of Europe) are all far behind the times; the only list which can be admitted as probably correct is the one furnished by the "Almanach de Gotha" for 1875; and even that one will doubtless become inexact before the year is out. It shows that on last New Year's day, forty-three countries possessed Orders: of these countries thirty-three are in Europe; four in America (Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, and Hawaii); five in Asia (Siam, Birmah. Persia, Cambodge, and China); and 1 in Africa (Tunis.) These forty-three countries dispose altogether of one hundred-forty three Orders of the three classes, not including medals of any kind, or commemorative crosses. 

Furthermore, the states which have been recently suppressed (Naples, Hanover", Hesse-Cassel, Mexico, Modena, Nassau, Parma, and Tuscany) possessed three others, all of which are at present in abeyance (a state of temporary disuse or suspension), and ought not to be worn by those who hold them. And it must be remembered that the one hundred forty-three Orders now in force, represent very little more than half the total of all the orders which have existed; for, without including any of the mythical or legendary brotherhoods, the special books present catalogues which, though they vary somewhat between themselves, reach a general total of about two hundred-seventy Orders, of which about one hundred twenty-five have become extinct. 

But, though these figures show the quantities in which Orders have disappeared, other figures indicate that they sprout up again even faster than they fade; for when we analyse the composition of the one hundred forty-three existing Orders, we find that ninety-one of them have been created during the 19th century, that twenty-three were made in the 18th century, and that only twenty-nine of them are anterior to the year 1700. Most ot the old religious and strictly noble confraternities have vanished out of sight; but they have been replaced by modern institutions more in harmony with the spirit of the age. 

And when we look still closer into the subject, and examine the geographical distribution of all these Orders, we naturally find that, as the rush for them is everywhere the same, the development of their number has been everywhere alike, with one exception. That exception, strangely, is in France— in frivolous, vainglorious France—the very place where we should least expect to find it. While sturdy cross-despising England owns seven Orders, Sweden six, Russia eight, Bavaria thirteen, Austria nine, Prussia eleven, Spain ten, Portugal seven, Italy five, Wurtemberg four (the Kingdom of Württemberg was a state in Germany that existed from 1806 to 1918, located in the area that is now Baden-Württemberg), and little Denmark two, France, alone of the real nations, has but one. Proportionately to their population, their power, or their pride, all other European states have gone on multiplying their ribbons; France contents herself with the single Cross of Honour. 

And while most other countries have created special decorations for women (out of the one hundred-forty-three there are thirteen for ladies only, and four others to which they are promiscuously admitted, making seventeen in all, or twelve per cent, of the entire number), France has declined to participate in that pretty court and ballroom form of chivalry: in the rare cases in which women have been considered worthy of it, they have been specially admitted into "the Legion," whose cross is at this moment worn by Rosa Bonheur the painter, and Sceur Rosalie the nun. –By Frederic Marshall, Author of "French Home Life," 1873

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mobile Manners Issued for North Koreans

North Korea is now stressing etiquette in use of mobile phones. "Korean citizens are generally kind and accepting of tourists, but in a culture that is far more conservative than America's, following etiquette is crucial. Respect is paramount, and Koreans may take offense at behavior that you wouldn't blink twice at witnessing at home. Tourists generally visit only South Korea; private American citizens aren't allowed into North Korea on their own. In any case, the same basic manners apply in either place." USA Today 
Photo from

North Korea keeps tight controls on the flow of information within, and even across, its borders. Even so, approximately 2.5 million people are estimated to be subscribed to the country's mobile operator Koryolink, a joint venture with Egypt's Orascom Telecom. With this increasingly growing mobile phone use in North Korea, the strict communist country has published a set of etiquette guidelines on how to treat others with respect through the new medium.

A quarterly North Korean magazine on culture has been obtained by the Yonhap News Agency, and it includes an article entitled "Language etiquette in phone conversations." The article stresses the importance of proper manners in one's mobile phone usage.

"As mobile phones are being used increasingly in today's society, there has been a tendency among some people to neglect proper phone etiquette," reads the article in the August 2014 issue of the magazine.

In an apparent reference to the fact that the caller's number appears on mobile phones, the article states that, "On mobile phones, unlike on land lines, conversations usually take place with knowledge of the other person. However, even in such cases, one must not neglect to introduce oneself or offer greetings.

In one such example, the magazine states that if the recipient does not introduce himself or herself upon answering a call, the caller must go through the time-consuming process of enquiring, "Hello? Is it you, comrade Yeong-cheol?"

It stresses too, that it is more polite for the recipient of the call, to not only introduce himself but to also acknowledge that he is aware of who the caller is, as well. If not, the caller must go through the aforementioned, time-consuming inconvenience of identifying himself, according to the magazine article.

In an attempt to nip in the bud the irritating phenomena known as "cell yell" and "TMI," the article also offers the etiquette tip that, "Speaking loudly or arguing over the phone in public places where many people are gathered is thoughtless and impolite behavior."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Historic Senate Etiquette Breaches

Depiction of  U.S. Senator Henry S. Foote ("a voluble, unscrupulous, sharp and successful stump speaker") drawing a pistol on the Senate floor and attempting to shoot a fellow politician. Foote is the only senator in American history to attempt such a thing. WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 1852 "It is a pity that there are not enough self-respecting gentlemen among the members of the United States Senate to put an end to the disgraceful breaches of decorum and common decency which are now of almost daily occurrence in that once honorable body." –The New York Times

"Senators Rhett and Clemens have contributed largely, in their recent collision, to that unworthy-spirit which is been infused into the United States Senate within the last ten years, and which threatens, unless checked, seriously to impair the character and influence of that distinguished body. They have indulged in personal accusations, and in the use of epithets of the most offensive and reprehensible character. Language, which no man having respect for the ordinary courtesies of life would permit himself to use in private intercourse, has been freely bandied from one to the other upon the floor of what has been styled often times, and with justice, the most dignified deliberative body in the world. Charges of knavery, lying and cowardice have been hurled from one to the other, in open Senate, with all the volubility, and more than the vulgarity, of Billingsgate. Other Senators, so far from preventing these insults and outrages upon the character of that body, took special pains to encourage the actors in them, and to prompt their repetition.

When the degradation in the manners of the Senate shall be complete, and that body shall have been converted into the prize-fight ring to which by such scenes it seems to approximate, the public temper will inevitably sink to a corresponding level. Much of the popular respect for law grows out of the feeling of confidence in those who make it; and nothing is more important to the preservation of a healthy and conservative spirit among the people, than a dignified, decorous, and impressive demeanor, on the part of our highest legislative bodies. When the Senate becomes simply an arena for personal quarrels, -- when attacks upon personal character take the place of deliberation and discussion on themes of national importance, the whole tone of popular feeling will be lowered and the public morality will suffer disastrous change.

What have personal controversies to do with public interest? What right have Senators, met to consult for the common good, to bring their paltry personalities -- their private differences, upon the high platform of national affairs, to be canvassed and adjusted in sight of the world? Mr. Seward never stated a more pertinent fact, than when he said a year or two since, but no man's personal affairs or opinions were worth ten minutes of the time that belongs to the nation. Ten or fifteen years ago, when such men as Clay and Calhoun and Webster gave tone and character to the deliberations of the Senate, such a thing as a low personal squabble was unknown upon that floor. Personal attacks were made and repelled, -- but only upon grounds of important public principal, and in a tone and terms befitting that high position. 

With the advent of Senator Foote, of Mississippi, commenced a new era in the history of the American Senate. He had established a reputation at home as a voluble, unscrupulous, sharp and successful stump speaker; and he evidently regarded the Senate as only a higher field for the exercise of his peculiar gifts. He talked to the Senate just as he had talked to mass meetings at home. He teased and bullied members of the opposite party, -- he hurled epithets and scattered accusations against all with whom he differed, -- he bandied names and drew pistols upon his fellow members, as he found each species of argument most convenient and serviceable for the special occasion. His whole career in the Senate was a systematic crusade against the dignity and decorum of that body. His spirit has lingered behind his retiring steps. And the Senate now has half a dozen members equally lacking in self-respect and in regard for the reputation of the body to which they belong.

Neither house of Congress seems at all sensitive to the degradation which such practices are bringing upon both. From neither are any measures to be expected, which will correct the evil, or check the downward tendency of Congressional manners. The only remedy is in public sentiment, and the Press as its chief organ. It is the duty of the Press never to allow any such outrage upon propriety, to pass unscathed. When members of Congress, in either branch, shall come to feel that no breach of propriety can escape severe censure from the public press, and that neither party adhesion nor personal regard can procure immunity for such offenses, they will be more careful in their conduct, and pay a steadier regard to the requirements of decorum and self-respect. " 1852

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Friday, October 24, 2014

Etiquette and Spain's Coronation of the "Little King"

Alfonso XIII., the Boy King of Spain, whose coronation took place on May 17, 1902 ~ "A Royal reception was held in the Throne-room, where the special Ambassadors from the different European and America States offered their congratulations to the new King. He also, for the first time received the homage of his subjects. The procession to and from the Coronation-room, was of a magnificent mediaeval character, recalling the ancient glories of Spain." From The Northern Star (Lismore, NSW)
The coronation of Alfonso XIII, the boy King of Spain, which is been arranged for his birthday, will mark the majority of the youngest monarch in Europe, sixteen being in the ordinances and Royal etiquette of Spain, the prescribed age majeur. Notable as has ever been such pageantry in Spain, the preparations at Madrid suggest that this event will in all probability exceed in splendor many that have gone before it. 
"The wildest enthusiasm was shown by the people along the route and the King was obliged continually to thrust his head and arms out of the window and acknowledge the applause of his subjects. His naturally pale face was flushed, and it was plain that he was deeply touched by these manifestations of loyalty. Regardless of etiquette, which is nowhere so rigid as in the Spanish court, the members of the Cortes, as he entered, sprang to their feet and broke out into cries of "Long live the King!" The cheering continued for fully ten minutes, during which Alfonso stood calm and cool, unmoved by the excitement which swayed everyone else..." from "The Story of the Greatest Nations," by Charles F. Horne
To realize the surroundings, the pomp, the Oriental splendor characteristic of Spain's Royal ceremonial even into ordinary state functions, climate must be taken into account; and it must not be forgotten that in old days Spain's monarchs -- whatever may have been their shortcomings -- garnered into the Peninsula all that was most precious in the kingdom of art throughout Europe.  
The stately etiquette always rigorously enforced at the Court of Madrid has in nothing degenerated during the Regency of Queen Christina whose Austrian birth and proclivities carried out to the letter the established precedent. Within the palace, the finest residence royalty possesses in Europe, suites of apartments are being prepared, where will be lodged the many princes who come to honor the "Little King". 
On May 17, 1902, young Alfonso XIII, having attained his legal royal majority, was crowned King of Spain, taking the oath as sovereign in the Chamber of Deputies at Madrid under circumstances of mediaeval magnificence. He was King from his birth, having been born after his father's death; but his mother had ruled in his name as regent from his birth. He did not assume his royal functions under the most promising conditions, as revolutionary disturbances and labor troubles continued to keep the public mind in a state of ferment and apprehension. In 1906, Alfonso married Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena) She was a granddaughter of Great Britain's Queen Victoria and the first cousin of King George V of the United Kingdom, Queen Maud of Norway, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, Queen Marie of Romania, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, Queen Louise of Sweden, and Queen Sophia of Greece. Felipe VI of Spain is her great-grandson. 

From the Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, Volume 93

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Congress Brawls, Breaches Etiquette

Famous depiction of Brooks caning Sumner ~ On May 22, 1856, in the United States Congress, Representative Preston Brooks attacked Senator Charles Sumner with his walking cane. Fellow South Carolinian Congressman Lawrence Keitt famously yelled, "Let them be!"while Brooks beat Sumner senseless. This was said to be in retaliation for a speech given by Sumner two days prior. The beating nearly killed Sumner. The sharply polarized response from the American public that this beating drew, on the subject of the expansion of slavery in the U.S., was considered highly symbolic of a breakdown of "reasoned discourse" which eventually led to the U.S. Civil War

Our Social Manners

Congressman and bully, Preston Brooks
The episode which occurred on Saturday morning, in the House of Representatives at Washington, has a social, as well as political aspect, which a sensitive people like ourselves would do well to consider. We allude to the probable effect of these "little difficulties" upon the world's opinion about ourselves and our civilization. Of course, we think it right, before we say a word on the subject, to protest that we need not care a six-pence about the world's opinion. Lords of the Alleghenies and the Cordilleras, of the Mississippi and the Hudson, of the broadest lakes and the most interminable prairies of the earth, we naturally are to despise and condemn the effete criticism of all the human race besides. Our innumerable banks and our indefinite railways make us independent of foreign nations, as of foreign cash. Unfortunately, however, all things are not as they should be, even in our model country, and we particularly do care a great deal more than we are always ready to admit, what Englishman and Frenchman say of our manners and customs. We are always on the look-out for any little scrap of comment upon us that a foreigner happens to let drop. If it is favorable we purr beneath it, like a well-stroked cat -- if unfavorable, our fury is a frightful thing to see. The faintest insinuation that our men are not all "high toned" and chivalrous, and our women are not all graceful and handsome, throws us into convulsions. If a roving English tourist hints that somebody he met at Washington eats peas with his knife, the peaceful relations of the two countries are immediately endangered. If a London penny-a-liner throws out an insinuation that the stewed prunes on board a Collins steamer are not so good as on the Cunard line, the whole nation rises in frenzy. In short, there is not a fool or knave, from Maine to California, who is not sure of having his absurdities or rascalities defended to the death by the whole of this republic, if you can only get a foreigner to print unkind remarks about them.
A "Harper's Weekly" depiction of two observers in the gallery, commenting on the fracas described in this New York Times article ~ Lawrence Keitt, the man who yelled "Let them be!" while Brooks beat Sumner 2 years earlier, got into a fight of his own in 1858. During a very late, 2 a.m. House session, Republican Galusha Grow wandered over to the Democrats' side of the aisle, and Keitt reportedly yelled, "Go back to your side of the House, you Black Republican puppy!" Grow retorted, "No negro-driver shall crack his whip over me." The resulting brawl embarrassingly involved 50 members of Congress. 
Such being the state of affairs, the manners and customs of our leading men, upon whom the eyes of the world are most apt to fall, really assume a portentous importance. What is to be done, if our Solons want conduct themselves with propriety? If they will treat themselves in the Legislative halls to "a rough-and-tumble and drag-out fight," Punch will make fun of us, the London Times will jeer at us, and many of the rotten and worn-out Aristocracies of the Old World, whom we despise in our hearts, will say that there are no gentleman among us. Here, for half a century we have been bragging to all of Europe of the exquisite polish and chivalric refinement of our Southern seaboard planters, of our Carolinian Huguenots and our Virginian Cavaliers. We gave up the Yankees; from the sons of the Roundheaded Puritans nobody could look for anything better than gaucherie and inquisitive impertinence. But our "proud answer to the despot and the tyrant," to the old fogies of London, and Paris, and Vienna, when they boasted of their society and their manners, was a warning to wait till his fortunate stars should bring him into contact with the chivalry of the Old Dominion or the Palmetto State. We had gradually convinced ourselves and almost all the world as well, that our rice-swamps and our tobacco-fields were stocked with a noble army of plantation Bayards and of "mute, inglorious" Sidneys. It was a dreadful shock to all of us that Brooks, of the line of Butler, gave when he behaved like a pot-house bully in the Senate Chamber, and listening lords and ladies of his native State applauded. People began to think our "chivalry" in someway connected with the celebrated "Mrs. Harris," but we tried to stifle all their doubts by asserting that Brooks had derogated through overmuch drink, and that it was only very vulgar people who clubbed together to buy him canes. And now comes up Mr. Keitt, another "gentleman" of our "well-known style," and plunges us into a worse scrape than the first. He has behaved so very much like a man who is been bred "behind" the bar and so very unlike a man who has been accustomed to behave himself in decent company, but unless we can make it appear beyond a doubt that he always was considered a low fellow even at home, and that they sent him to Congress to get him out of Carolina, we may be obliged to go to war to prove that we are well-bred people; unless indeed, we adopt a hint from the "World Exhibition," and, as soon as Kansas shall have been fairly pacified, pick up a few specimens of the "real high-toned chivalric gentleman," and send them over properly ticketed, guaranteed and indorsed, to be shown at Willis' rooms or the Conservatoire, under the supervision of the United States Minister.             Originally printed in The New York Times February 9, 1858

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Etiquette Run Mad in Royal Courts

“This is ridiculous!” Kirsten Dunst as a young, Marie Antoinette

 “Etiquette Run Mad,” 1879
We, in this easy mannered republic, can have a little conception of the tyranny which etiquette has exercised in all the great courts of the world, and the imposing part it has played in the adjustment of grave national questions. Here, all our citizen kings can attend a reception at the White House without invitation, and with no forms of courtesy beyond those of ordinary good breeding. We feel only a sense of the ludicrous when we read of the fume and passion into which courtiers used to fall when offered a stool instead of a chair, in some royal drawing-room; placed at a feast opposite the carver, or below one whom they assumed to outrank.
Etiquette must not be violated, though the heavens fall...
During the reign of Louis XIV, while a tremendous war was raging between France and Spain, the grand monarch and his favorite courtiers where amusing themselves with fétes and balls among the marvelous groves, lakes, and fountains of Marly. One morning, the Duke of Villeroy, hot and dusty, came spurring to court with army dispatches. News of a decisive battle was hourly expected, and everybody awaited the opening of the papers with feverish impatience. But, unhappily, the minister whose duty it was to break the seal and present them to the king, was absent for the day. They might contain news of the defeat, of instant necessities, and changed instructions, but no matter, etiquette must not be violated though the heavens fall, and the haughty Louis, though dying with anxious suspense, went on with his childish masquerading with serenest countenance. The courtier was obliged to skulk out of sight and affect not to exist till the return of the proper functionary, when he suddenly resumed himself and presented his dispatch is, as if he had just that moment arrived.
“Madame... THIS is Versailles.” Judy Davis as “Madame Etiquette”
When Marie Antoinette, that charming, though somewhat volatile young princess, came over from simple-mannered Vienna to be the bride of the dauphin, she chafed much under the tedium of French etiquette. Her daily toilet was an affair of the most elaborate ceremony. Had she ventured to wash her own face or clasp her shoe-buckles, the whole court would have stood aghast with horror. Here is an example, one of many, showing how cruelly the rich free life of the young princess was tortured and pressed into the iron mould of court ceremonial. On one occasion, a lady in waiting was about lifting the Royal chemise over the royal shoulders, when the door opened and a second lady, superior in rank, entered. So the uplifted garment had to pause in mid air till number two could take it, and this happened thrice before the shivering young creature could be got into her clothes!
Prince Charles and Henrietta of France

Earlier in the century, when England sent to arrange a marriage between Prince Charles and Henrietta of France, everything came to a halt on the mighty question, whether His Eminence, Cardinal Richelieu, should give his right hand to the embassadors, and how many steps he should advance in conducting them out of the room. A messenger was about to be dispatched to consult the king of England in this grave difficulty when it fortunately occurred to somebody that if the cardinal would receive in bed, etiquette would be suspended. Accordingly, he feigned sickness, went to bed, and without further diplomacy the marriage settlements were made.

Few things in the records of the olden centuries are more amusing than those which relate the entanglements of court ceremonial.

From Demorest's Family Magazine 1879

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Victorian Era Etiquette at Dinner Tables and Small Talk

A lady is entitled to special attention from her escort, but she should not monopolize his time. In other words, "Don't talk his ear off."
Long stories are to be avoided, and so is the habit of asking questions; but there is a subtle way of wishing, or, at least, of being willing to hear more that gives the inflection without being too interrogative; and if it be not expedient to tell all we know in response to its gentle insinuation, it does not compel an ungracious refusal or a chilling reticence. 
A lady is entitled to special attention from her escort, but she should not monopolize his time. Not merely the pairing but the grouping of guests is considered by an accomplished hostess, and a lady may exercise her conversational graces impartially to right and left and likewise across the table, provided its width and adornments do not interfere.; but neither in front of nor behind an intervening guest should anybody attempt to converse. When a word or sentence to one so separated suggests itself, the intervening person should be included in the conversation. In other words, the conversation becomes general to a lesser or greater extent, according as the subject under discussion may interest those present. 
Architecture may be frozen music to you in the most rigid sense, and you may be seated next to some one who draws out its harmonies in grand and classic shapes, and to whose latest triumphs the company may allude in brief but pleasing terms. You feel called upon to add something to the general tribute, but can think of nothing apt. Said a young girl who was thus placed, " I could not think of anything to say that would indicate an intelligent knowledge of the subject and I did not feel privileged to lead the conversation from the channel in which it had been directed, so I could only speak of a mite of a country house which always comes to mind because of the beautiful roses that grow all about it and seem intent upon surmounting its diminutive height. I scarcely know how it happened, but in a very short time he was telling me how artistically the rose works into decorative purposes, and from that passed to other things until I felt the subject to be more interesting than I ever supposed it could become to one who knows next to nothing about architecture, and who cannot become familiar with it." 
Such a frank avowal is not discreditable to one who has tact enough to make up for it, and tact quite often takes the place of many qualities commonly supposed to belong to the mental equipments of bright women. It made a good listener in the instance referred to, and it gave a good talker the opportunity to air his gifts agreeably.                 
It is not permissible to seem otherwise than happy and content.
Worries and all disquieting subjects should not be mentioned outside the circle they affect, and even though one may have but just emerged from a sea of them, it is not permissible to seem otherwise than happy and content. 
There must have been some unexplained condition attached to the circumstances which led to the question, "Is it proper to thank a servant for a service rendered," because well-bred people instinctively acknowledge the slightest service; but the question came to us as quoted and in that form we answer it. By all means thank a servant for replacing a dropped napkin, a knife or fork, for bringing you anything not at hand or for doing anything you may require; but do not assume the air or attitude of wishing the company to understand that you are punctilious in such matters. "Thank you," in a low tone, a gratified but not a familiar nod of approval or a gracious acceptance of what you desire is all that is needed. 
A lady is not often called upon to say " thank you " in such circumstances, because a well-bred man is always on the alert to direct attention to her wants. It is her prerogative to acknowledge both favor and service with a smile, which need not part the lips, but which expresses her appreciation as effectually and with less formality than even a simple, "thank you." . 
The habit of clipping words perhaps explains why "thanks," passes current for the finer and more gracious "thank you." The intimacy of "chums" permits the use of the abbreviated form, but the general adoption of such scant verbiage is as objectionable as verbosity; and if the question, "should one say 'thanks' to servants" were asked, the answer would be emphatically, no, unless you wish to suggest that all social difference between you and them is removed. 
In taking leave of your entertainers, be gracious but not effusive in expressing your pleasure. It is to your hostess that you will make acknowledgment in a few words. Just what they shall be, no pen can write and few people need be told; but they will give the impression that you have enjoyed your evening. Beware—this to the young —that your words do not savor of the fact that your enjoyment has been a surprise to yourself. To youth is also addressed this injunction: do not attempt to compliment your hostess upon her menage. 
A lady is not often called upon to say " thank you " in such circumstances, because a well-bred man is always on the alert to direct attention to her wants.
Verbally expressed compliments of any kind are rarely the prerogative of the young. If the hostess be your dearest school-friend, tell her privately, when you are admitted to a boudoir chat, how much you admire her qualities as housewife and hostess; but do not allow your appreciation to effervesce when she is doing her best to bear her blushing honors with meekness and dignity, for it is a hard combination for a young hostess to sustain. "Although I have remained late, the evening has seemed very short," says one; "Time is very unkind, and so I must say 'good evening,' " says another. A matron who has enjoyed years of complete social success extends her hand to a younger entertainer and says, "Before saying adieu, let me thank you for a most delightful evening;" but she does not prolong her leave-taking further than to add a brief good-night. 
There was a time when appreciation of the dinner was expressed in the leave-taking, but the custom does not prevail among men and women of the younger generation. It was a pleasing and proper acknowledgment when an invitation to one's table signified the most sacred form of social hospitality, but though an invitation to dine still suggests a desire for some degree of social intimacy, the giving of dinners has grown to be more of a formality since that time.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Of Etiquette and International Vanities

Charlemagne was served at his repast by subject kings.

On Brussels, there is a very striking picture on this subject. It is the men of the future contemplating the baubles and vanities of the present. They are drawn of gigantic size. In their hands they hold little cannons, stars and garters, flags, and the other insignia of courtly and military glory. How these big men look, to be sure! How keen is their sense of the ridiculous! You feel how hearty is their laugh over such evident petty absurdities! It may be the artist believed that a time would come when such things would be seen in their true light. All we know is that at present that time has not arrived, and that Mr. Marshall's title is, to say the least, a little premature.
Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, the holder of jousts and tournaments, the inventor of court courtesy...
For instance, there is the matter of ceremonial, respecting which Dutch and German writers have written at infinite length. It is as old as the hills. Cyrus beheaded two satraps because they omitted to place their hands under their sleeves when they saluted him. Hadrian had a royal household. Charlemagne was served at his repast by subject kings. The subject is divided by learned writers into five main sections; precedence of states, royal honours, diplomatic ceremonials, maritime ceremonials, and etiquette. 

This latter seems to have become developed in Europe in the time and under the reign of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, the holder of jousts and tournaments, the inventor of court courtesy, who sought thereby to adorn his house with more glories than kingly monarchs then presented, as a consolation, perhaps, for not possessing their title. His grandchild, Mary of Burgundy, carried the new ideas to her husband Maximilian, and from Austria they passed on again with constant augmentations and freshly devised subtleties to France and Spain. In the latter land it reached its climax. The study of etiquette was three centuries ago the essential study of a Spanish gentleman. 
Maria Anna of Neuburg, Wife of Charles II of Spain, 1690, who fell off her horse, caught her foot in the stirrup, and was thus indecorously suspended in the presence of forty-three courtiers, who gazed in anguish, but stood still, as it was against etiquette for them to aid in such a case...
As an illustration of the extent to which it was carried, our author gives the story of the wife of Charles II., who fell off her horse, caught her foot in the stirrup, and was thus indecorously suspended in the presence of forty-three courtiers, who gazed in anguish, but stood still, as it was against etiquette for them to aid in such a case, and the proper person happened to be somewhere else. A passer-by rushed to the rescue; he received several doubloons for his useful service, but was condemned to banishment for his unpardonable indiscretion. And then there was Philip III, roasted to death because the nobleman whose duty was to put the fire out was away hunting in Catalonia. 
Comte de Maurepas filled the Queen's heart with joy by saying, "Madame, I have the honour to assure your Majesty that the game of piquet was deep mourning." 
French etiquette was almost as absurd as that of Spain. Arm-chairs, backed chairs and stools were, as Voltaire says, "important objects ofpolitics and illustrious subjects of quarrels." Even the King himself was not free from the etiquette of acting according to regulation. If he condescended to visit a courtier ill in bed, etiquette constrained his Majesty to be down too. Louis XIII visited Richelieu in this way at Tarascon, and Louis XIV did the same when he went to see the Marschal de Villars after he was wounded at Malplacquet. One of the queens did not dare play cards one night because the Court had heard that day of the death of some German Prince that nobody had ever seen. And (Jean-Frédéric Phélypeaux) Comte de Maurepas filled her heart with joy by saying, "Madame, I have the honour to assure your Majesty that the game of piquet was deep mourning." 

From "International Vanities," By Frederic Marshall, Author of "French Home Life," 1873

Friday, October 17, 2014

Etiquette and Eating Fruits Properly

Apples and Pears - 

Informally eaten in the hand, but at table they are taken onto the fruit plate and spirally peeled, or quartered with a knife, then peeled. The sections are then cored and eaten with the fingers or with the fruit fork. Lady apples, tiny as crab apples, are eaten in the fingers like plums.
Life is just a bowl of ... kumquats? Cherry forks are ideal for eating kumquats.

Apricots, Cherries, Kumquats, Plums -

 Apricots, cherries, plums are eaten in one or two bites, and the stones, cleaned in the mouth, are dropped into the cupped hand and placed on the side of the plate. Kumquats are bitten into or eaten whole depending on size.

Halved Avocados - 

In their shells these are eaten with a spoon, scooped out and taken spoonful by spoonful, with the dressing (perhaps lime juice and powdered sugar, or a little lake of French dressing) provided. Halved or quartered avocados in salads or on fruit platters are eaten with the fork after being broken into manageable bites.
Fried banana servers are rare in the world of silver flatware collecting.
Bananas - 

Very informally (at picnics and by small children) bananas are peeled down with the end of the skin as a protective holder. When eaten at table from a fruit dish they are peeled, then broken as needed into small pieces and conveyed to the mouth with the fingers.

Berry servers and berry forks shown with berries and strawberries.  Strawberries are not actually berries, but bananas and zucchini are botanically designated in the berry plant family.

Berries - 

Eaten with a spoon. Large strawberries are sometimes served whole with their stems on. These are grasped by the stem and dipped in
powdered sugar on the plate, then eaten in one or two bites, with the stem remaining in the fingers.
Grapes - 

Cut a bunch or section of bunch from bunches in bowl with knife or scissors (never absent-mindedly pull off grapes from centerpiece or arrangement of fruit) . Eat one grape at a time, after placing bunch on serving plate. Grape skins, if you can't eat them, should be cleaned in the mouth but not chewed, then removed in the cupped hand with the pits and placed on the side of the plate. Or, holding the grape with the stem end to the lips, pop the inside into the mouth and lay skin on side of plate if they will pop.

Once refrigerated railroad cars were in use, pointed spoons, originally designed for oranges, had serrated edges added to them, which made them ideal for grapefruit.

Grapefruit -  

Eaten, halved, with a pointed fruit spoon. Sections should be loosened with grapefruit knife before serving. Do not squeeze out juice at table, except en famille if the family can stand it.      

A selection of mango forks from Holland and Ecuador.
Mangoes - 
Wits say the only place to eat them is in the bathtub. But they may be used in a fruit bowl and eaten at table, even though the best way to serve them is peeled, quartered, pitted, and chilled. A whole ripe (spotted) mango should be cut in half with a sharp fruit knife, then quartered. Then, with the quarter turned skin up and held in place with a fork, the skin should be carefully pulled away rather than peeled from the fruit. The juicy sections are then cut in one-bite morsels. Finger bowls or at least paper napkins are necessary, as this fruit stains badly.
An ornate, Gilded Age, gilded orange spoon. The vermeil finish on the bowl of this spoon, protected the silver from the citric acid.
Oranges -

Peeled with a sharp knife in one continuous spiral (if you're adept), then pulled apart into segments and, if the segments are small, eaten segment by whole segment. If segments are large they are cut in half cross-wise with the fruit knife and eaten with fingers or fruit fork. Navel oranges are sometimes more easily eaten if the skin is quartered, then pulled down toward the navel and pulled off. The navel is then cut off and the orange segmented or cut in slices and eaten with the fork. At breakfast, oranges may be served halved like grapefruit, with the segments loosened, and are eaten with a fruit spoon.

Most gentlemen carried a personalized fruit knife with them, to cut and quarter not only their own fruits, but those of ladies whom they may have been picnicking with.
Halve, then quarter with fruit knife. Then lifting the skin of each quarter at an edge, pull it off. Eat sections in small pieces with fork, preferably, as peach juice stains table linen.
Many fruits, sadly, were "Rodney Dangerfields"... they got no respect and no special utensils designed for them. Persimmons, papayas, kiwis, watermelon, peaches, cantaloupes, apples and pears are some of those "Rodney Dangerfields." And though the pineapple never had its own silver flatware, it did grace centerpieces at many tables in the New England states, as well as in England, and has become a symbol of hospitality.


Often served as a first course with the top cut off well below the stem and the base cut flat so the fruit stands firmly on the plate. Grasping the persimmon with the left thumb and index finger, scoop out and eat a spoonful at a time, keeping the shell intact. Avoid the skin which, unless dead ripe, is puckery. The large pits are cleaned in the mouth, dropped into the spoon, and then deposited on the side of the plate. Persimmons in salad are peeled and quartered too difficult a procedure to attempt at table, and persimmons in a fruit arrangement firm enough to be decorative are likely to be all but inedible anyway. They should be dead ripe and slightly spotted.


Eaten with a spoon if served cut-up for dessert. If served on flat plates in quarters or eighths, peeled pineapple is eaten with a fork, after being cut with fruit knife.

Stewed or Preserved Fruit-

The pits or bits of core of cherries, prunes, plums, apples, etc., eaten in compote form with a spoon are dropped into the spoon, then deposited on the side of the plate.
Citrus peelers were popular items for the Victorian and Edwardian Era table.
Stripped of their skins, segmented, and eaten in the fingers without cutting or breaking the segments.


If served cubed and chilled (often in white wine), eaten from a compote with a fruit spoon. Otherwise eaten with the fork. If seeds are present, the fruit is taken seeds and all into the mouth, then the seeds are cleaned in the mouth, dropped into the cupped hand, and placed on the side of the plate, entirely dry.

Etiquette instructions from Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette.  Photos of fruits and utensils courtesy of site moderator, Maura Graber