So the dinner party is going well but are you really going to ruin it by carving the roast with a bread knife or partaking in asparagus in an ill-bred fashion…of course not and Routledges comes up with some great tips:
Always help fish with a fish-slice, and tart and puddings with a spoon, or, if necessary, a spoon and fork. Asparagus must be helped with the asparagus-tongs. In eating asparagus, it is well to observe what others do, and act accordingly. Some very well-bred people eat it with the fingers ; others cut off the heads, and convey them ‘ T the mouth upon the fork. It would be difficult to say which is the more correct.
I never eat food with my fingers if I can help it although it is of course acceptable on some occasions, fruit being such an occasion!
In eating stone fruit, such as cherries, damsons, &c., the same rule had better be observed. Some put the stones out from the mouth into a spoon, and so convey them to the plate. Others cover the lips with the hand, drop them unseen into the palm, and so deposit them on the side of the plate. In our own opinion, the last is the better way, as it effectually conceals the return of the stones, which is certainly the point of highest importance. Of one thing we may be sure, and that is, that they must never be dropped from the mouth to the plate.
Spitting at any time for whatever reason at the meal table is an affront to mankind and should be met with a look of disappointment or utter horror…and don’t forget…
In helping sauce, always pour it on the side of the plate.
Alcohol is still an important part of any dinner party. A good wine as I stated earlier is readily available for around £5 but the temptation is sometimes to have a touch too much.
If the servants do not go round with the wine (which is by far the best custom), the gentlemen at a dinner-table should take upon themselves the office of helping those ladies who sit near them. Ladies take more wine in the present day than they did fifty years ago, and gentlemen should remember this, and offer it frequently. Ladies cannot very well ask for wine, but they can always decline it. At all events, they do not like to be neglected, or to see gentlemen liberally helping themselves, without observing whether their fair neighbours’ glasses are full or empty. Young ladies seldom drink more than three glasses of wine at dinner ; but married ladies, professional ladies, and those accustomed to society, and habits of affluence, will habitually take five or even six, whether in their own homes or at the tables of their friends.