Monday, August 20, 2018

Correct Victorian Dining Etiquette

Above– An orange spoon with a gilded bowl, an orange peeler knife, a fruit knife and a citrus peeler. All 4 were helpful Victorian Era dining tools. – “The Ladies’ Home Journal affirms that the daintiest way to eat an orange is from a fork—that is, the skin and its coarse white lining are pared off with a sharp fruit knife, the orange is stuck on a fork and is eaten exactly as one would eat an apple.”

At the Table – The Correct Way of Serving and Eating Various Dishes

It is not an easy thing to eat an orange gracefully. The Ladies’ Home Journal affirms that the daintiest way to eat an orange is from a fork—that is, the skin and its coarse white lining are pared off with a sharp fruit knife, the orange is stuck on a fork and is eaten exactly as one would eat an apple. Cheese, says the same authority, may be taken between the fingers, or it may be put on a bit of bread with a knife and eaten on that, but a fork is not used with it. Artichokes are, of course, eaten with the fingers, each leaf being dipped in the dressing. 


All pastry is eaten from a fork, and it is an insult to the cook to touch it with a knife. In fact, your knife has no use, except for cutting or buttering something, and when it is resting, it should he laid sideways on your plate. Every vegetable can be eaten with a fork, the uses of a spoon being limited to a few desserts and for your coffee or teacup, and there its place is to repose in the saucer. Bouillon is drunk from the cups in which it is served; when it is jellied, it is eaten with a dessert spoon. Nothing excuses the chasing of a small particle of something to eat around your plate to polish it up. The old idea that one must eat every thing that is given to one no longer exists and the result is that children are not made gluttons. 

In drinking, remember to hold your goblet or wine glass by the stem, and not by the bowl. While watermelon is eaten with a fork, cantaloupe has served with it a dessert spoon. As it is customary nowadays, to have the salt served in open salt-cellars, it maybe mentioned that in helping one’s self, the salt should be put near the outer edge of one’s plate. In leaving the table it is not necessary to fold your napkin; instead, just as you rise, lay it on the table. – Red Bluff Daily News, 1892

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