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Order of Table-Setting
The items of a properly equipped dinner table include:
At a family dinner, bread and butter plates are allowed, but never at a dinner party. Place cards are never used for dinners of less than ten persons or for lunches of less then eight. If you like place favors, there is no reason why you should not have them -especially at Christams or Thanksgiving or birthday or wedding anniversaries, or other intimate dinners. On more formal occassions, plain place cards are best.
Salted nuts are either put in small individual dishes above each place, or in a pair of dishes, one at either side or end of the table. Certain hostesses always include them and others never do.
Informal seems to rule the day, and because of this, I am sharing the luncheon service, so that you can adapt this to your own home.
I would like to add that a buffet lunch for large groups is a very good idea and saves the hostess much hassle! Now what about a lunch menu?
The Lunch Menu
The details of just what and how to serve these foods are quite fascinating to me, and I will share what Emily Post suggested.
You can eliminate a course such as No. 1, No, 2, or No. 5. A wonderful fruit course is either melon, grapefruit or a macedoine or mixture of fresh orange, grapefruit, malaga grapes, banana, and perhaps a peach or a little pineapple; in maraschino, or run, or ordinary preserved apricots, for flavor, served in special bowl-shaped glasses that fit into long-stemmed and much larger ones, with a space for crushed ice between; or it can just as well be put in champagne or any bowl-shaped glass, after being kept as cold as possible in the ice box until sent to the table.
If the first course is grapefruit, it is cut across in half, the sections cut free and all dividing skin and seeds taken out with a sharp vegetable knife, and sugar put in it and left standing for an hour or so. A slice of melon is served plain. A large Casaba is cut lengthways into six or a medium-sized one into four moon-shaped pieces and eaten with either a fork or a spoon.
Soup at luncheon, or at a wedding breakfast or a ball supper, is never served in soup plates, but in two-handled cups, and is eaten with a teaspoon or a bouillin spoon, or drunk from the cup. It is limited to a few varieties; either chicken or clam broth, with a spoonful of whipped cream on top; or bouillon, or green turtle, or strained chicken, or tomato broth; or in summer, cold chicken, beef or tomato bouillon.
Lunch-party egg dishes must number a hundred varieties. (See any cookery book!) Eggs that are substantial and "rich," such as eggs Benedict, or stuffed with pate de foies gras and a mushroom sauce, should then be "balanced" by a simple meat, such as broiled chicken and salad, combining meat and salad courses in one.
On the other hand, should you have a light egg course, like "eggs surprise," you could have meat and vegetables, and plain salad; or an elaborate salad and no dessert. Or with fruit and soup, omit eggs, especially if there is to be an aspic with salad.
The menu of an informal luncheon, if it does not leave out a course, at least chooses simpler dishes. A bouillon or broth, shirred eggs or an omelet; or scramble eggs on toast which has first been spread with a pate or meat puree; then chicken or a chop with vegetables, a salad of plain lettuce with crackers and cheese, and a pudding or pie or any other "family" dessert.
All these foods, outside the bouillon, sound rather calorie laden, so I will add that you might enjoy this beauty diet.