Friday, January 13, 2017

Finger Bowl Etiquette and Fashion


The dining era, host's and hostess's purses and country one is dining in, have always determined the requisites of the dinner setting etiquette, menus, accoutrements and table manners needed. While finger bowls, and finger bowl usage, have fallen in and out of fashion over decades and centuries, clean fingers at the dining table have always been fashionable.

 On Regency Era Finger Bowls and Rinsing At Table:

"Custom allows ladies at the end of an entertainment to dip their fingers into a glass of water, and to wipe them with their napkin; it allows them also to rinse the mouth, using their plate for this purpose; but, in my opinion, custom sanctions it in vain." – Elisabeth Celnart, 1833

On Gilded Age Desserts of Fruit, Napkins and Finger-Bowls: 

Small fringed napkins of different colors were used with a dessert of fruits. "Fancy doylies (sic) of fine linen embroidered with silk"were sometimes brought in with the finger-bowls; but they were not for utility. The dinner napkin was employed by the diner, while the embroidered "fancy" added a dainty bit of effect to the table decoration. – Samuel R. Wells, 1887


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