Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Formal Dinner Party Menu

From Emily Post, 1922

It may be due to the war period, which accustomed everyone to going with very little meat and to marked reduction in all food, or it may be, of course, merely vanity that is causing even grandparents to aspire to svelte figures, but whatever the cause, people are putting much less food on their tables than formerly. The very rich, living in the biggest houses with the most imposing array of servants, sit down to three, or at most four, courses when alone, or when intimate friends who are known to have moderate appetites, are dining with them.

Under no circumstances would a private dinner, no matter how formal, consist of more than:

  1. Hors d'oeuvre
  2. Soup
  3. Fish
  4. Entrée
  5. Roast
  6. Salad
  7. Dessert
  8. Coffee

The menu for an informal dinner would leave out the entrée, and possibly either the hors d'oeuvre or the soup.

As a matter of fact, the marked shortening of the menu is in informal dinners and at the home table of the well-to-do. Formal dinners have been as short as the above schedule for twenty-five years. A dinner interlarded with a row of extra entrées, Roman punch, and hot dessert is unknown except at a public dinner, or in the dining-room of a parvenu. About thirty-five years ago such dinners are said to have been in fashion!

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