DIFFERENT KINDS OF SERVICE. GENERAL DIRECTIONS FOR SERVING. PREPARATIONS FOR SERVING A MEAL. ANNOUNCING A MEAL. CLEARING THE TABLE FOR DESSERT. CLEARING THE TABLE AFTER A MEAL IS FINISHED. ORDER OF SERVING DIFFERENT KINDS OF SERVICE
THERE are three forms of service, the English, the
Russian, and the Mixed. The last, as its name
indicates, is a compromise between the other two.
The English service is the most practical where
help in table service is limited, as all the food belonging
to one course is placed in suitable dishes
The Russian service is "from the side" and is in
use entirely for formal dinners and luncheons. It is
in use also for all meals by those who care for formand have the servants to conduct it well. The
plates are placed, empty, for the successive courses,
and all the food is passed, attractively arranged on
suitable dishes, from which each person helps himself;
or the food may be arranged on individual
plates and placed before each person, although this
The combination of the two forms results in the
Mixed service, in which some of the courses are
placed upon the table in the English way, while
others are served from the side in the Russian style.
For example, the soup may be placed (Russian), the
meat carved at the table by the host (English),
GENERAL DIRECTIONS AND PREPARATIONS FOR SERVING
Special watchfulness of each person's needs in the
dining-room is expected of a waitress. No person
should be obliged to ask for bread, butter, rolls, or
The cook and the waitress should be furnished with
menus of the meals for each day. The service will
be much smoother than if they are obliged to rely
If the English service is used, the maid should lay
out one more plate for each course than there are
people at the table; this is used for the working
Before serving a meal, the maid should have arranged in groups, on the serving-table or in the pantry, the serving silver required for that meal, also all the silver required for a single cover. Then, if some piece is accidentally dropped by a person at the table, it can be quickly and unobtrusively replaced.
The waitress should have, within easy reach, a
soft napkin, which she can bring to absorb any liquid
which may be overturned. The spot should then
No sound of a voice or of running water or noise of any kind should come from the pantry, while people are at the table.
Be sure that all plates and dishes which should be heated are heated, and all dishes for serving ices and salads and cold desserts are chilled. In arranging the various >plates for the courses, have in mind the color combinations of food on decorated china, and select the china which will harmonize best with the food to be served.
Always place a linen doily in a plate to be used for bread, rolls, crackers, sandwiches, or cakes. Paper doilies are not good form, unless it is necessary to use a doily with food which would be damaging to a linen one.
Avoid filling cups and glasses to the brim. Do not lift a glass to refill it; if it is difficult to refill, on account of the closeness of the covers, draw the glass out on the cloth to a position near the edge of the table where it can be filled easily. Move the glass by placing the hand near the bottom, never over the top.
ANNOUNCING A MEAL
Before announcing a meal, the waitress should see that all doors and drawers are closed, all shades properly drawn, and all necessary articles for the serving of the meal at hand.
Two minutes before a meal is announced fill each water glass two thirds full of water and set a form of butter upon each bread-and-butter plate. In announcing a meal, it is sufficient for the maid to appear at the door of the drawing-room, standing in silence for her mistress to recognize her presence ; or she may announce the meal by the formula " Dinner is served" "Luncheon is served." If the family is large and scattered, she may use a Japanese gong as a summons, but only for the informal meal. A formal luncheon or dinner is always announced by the waitress in person. Breakfast is announced according to the preference of the hostess ; sometimes at the chamber doors, sometimes by the Japanese gong, or by personal announcement, if the family is assembled in one room.
A maid should pass, serve, and place everything from the left, except beverages and extra silver, which are served or placed at the right, from the right. Place and remove plates, one at a time. To facilitate service, it is permissible to bring two plates of food (soup or salad particularly) to the dining-room, placing one on the serving-table and the other on the dining-table ; returning to the serving-table for the second plate rather than to the pantry saves time and steps.
In exchanging or placing plates, the hand should
grasp the edge of the plate, never allowing the thumb
to be placed over the rim. See that the rims of all
When presenting any dish containing food, have
a squarely folded dinner napkin on the palm of the
left hand, under the dish. Have the serving silver
Hold the serving dish firmly and low, and near the person to be served. Hold it in the left hand and if too heavy for one hand, steady or balance it with the right hand on the edge of the dish. Stand slightly back of chair and keep as far away from the person being served as is consistent with good service. Close contact should be avoided.
Always pass the most important accompaniment to a course first and others in the order of their importance.
The folded napkin is used under all dishes containing
food to be served. The napkin is not used
when placing or exchanging plates, or in removing
from the table dishes containing food. The serving
tray is used principally when it is necessary to pass
or remove two or more small articles, such as cream
In clearing the table for another course, remove all dishes containing food, not taking the silver from them ; first of all the platter or principal dish, placing the carving-knife and fork side by side on the platter, if the carver has not already done so ; next, the soiled plates and silver; and last, all clean china and silver which were not used.
Bread-and-butter plates remain upon the table
until after the salad course. Salted nuts, bonbons,
and all water and wine-glasses remain upon the
CLEARING THE TABLE FOR DESSERT
In clearing the table for dessert, remove any relishes
which may have been upon the table, the
bread-and-butter plates, and the salts and peppers;
CLEARING THE TABLE AFTER A MEAL IS FINISHED
After a meal is over, set the chairs back in their
places, then brush up the crumbs which may have
fallen to the floor, lest they be trodden into the rug.
ORDER OF SERVING
The order of serving depends largely upon the
wishes of the hostess and the occasion.
Serve first the hostess or the guest of honor, then
the next person to the right around the table in succession,
whether a man or a woman. The majority of persons prefer serving the hostess
first, and there are dvantages in doing so. It
enables her to see if the dish has been properly prepared
At a formal dinner, two waitresses are usually in attendance. One begins with the woman guest of honor at the right of the host and serves to the right. The other starts with the hostess and continues around the table to the right, ending with the host. This method of service gives one of the maids more persons to serve than the other