Monday, August 12, 2019

Dinner Party Rule of 8 Etiquette

The French born, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, gained his fame as an epicure and gastronome and helped found the genre of the gastronomic essay. He made famous the aphorism, “Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you who you are.” He believed that food defined a nation and wrote of the food in the reign of Louis XV. 
Revived from Brillat Savarin, anent the composition of a dinner-party, restricts the number at table to eight, or to the number divisible by eight, for the reason that as each course must have its own appropriate wine, and as each bottle of wine holds eight glasses, that number is the most convenient. 
Baron Haussmann, Prefect of the Seine, and the master spirit of all the rebuilding going on here, has brought this theory into fashion by adopting it as the rule in the grand dinners he gives at the Hotel de Ville, and at which he takes care that the number of people who sit down to his banquets shall be exactly divisible by eight, one bottle of each course of wine, and one only, being provided for every eight guests.  

Just now, small recherché dinner parties are the prevailing furor. Since the Prefect of the Seine has publicly adopted the “rule of eight” as the measure of the dinner table, that number has become the reigning complement of a dinner table; and as the capacity of wine-bottles is eight glasses, the convenience of the arrangement is causing it to be generally adopted. For a dinner party of eight persons, one bottle of each course of wine suffices; for a party of sixteen, two bottles ; for one of twenty four, three bottles ; and so on. – Daily Alta News, 1865

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

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