Styles of Serving Meals
Perhaps the best way to give directions for serving a meal is to present a representative menu, and tell how to get it before those who are seated at table. In "Practical Cooking and Serving," mention is made of two distinct styles of serving meals, the English and the Russian, also of a third style, " the compromise," which emphasizes the best points of the other two.
Sideboard laid for Breakfast, Russian Style
When a meal is served after the Russian fashion, all the responsibility of supplying food to those at table falls upon the attendants. It follows, then, that, where this fashion is adopted, a full staff of trained household employees is needed, if the wants of those at table are to be properly supplied. Dinner is the meal for which this formal service is best adapted, and even at dinner it should not be carried out
Serving Table laid for Breakfast, Russian Style
in its entirety unless there be more than one waitress for each eight covers at table, since nothing appears upon the table save the centrepiece (at dinner, a bonbon dish or two is allowable) and the articles that compose the individual covers. All food is served "from the side"; by attendants who pass the food, separated into portions, to the left of those at table, for each to help himself; or, made ready on individual plates, it is set down before each individual from the right.
The English style of service breathes hospitality rather than formality., It allows of personal attention, on the part of those sitting at the head and foot of the table, to the needs of those about them. The food is served "from the table." The meat or fish just as it is taken from the oven or kettle, except for its garnish, is set down before the "head of the house," who carves it and selects the portion desired by each. Place also is found upon the table for one or two vegetables, which are served by some one at the table. Bread and butter, pickles and relishes, are also given a place on the table.But, save relishes, etc,, only one course appears at a time upon the table.
COMPROMISE STYLE OF SERVICE
The compromise style of service is, as its name implies, a "let down" from the formality of the Russian service and a "let up" to the arduous duties expected of the head of the house at a table served after the English fashion. This style of service is largely practised at luncheons and "little dinners," and should be the favorite style, where one has a cook proficient in giving those final touches to a dish that remove it at once from the realm of the commonplace to that of the artistic world. It is also the style of service usually employed in houses where but one or at most two maids are kept.