Here's an article you will want to read if you are interested in Romanov or Russian History
Serving Meals without a Maid
To serve a meal comfortably without a maid, a small, light dinner wagon is of undoubted value.When this is not at hand, a small serving table, preferably on castors, may take its place, in part.
Another aid to comfortable service is a servette in the center of the table. With a very light touch the servette may be turned at will by anyone seated at the table; this makes it possible for each individual to help himself to water, bread, butter, sugar, cream or any article of which a second supply may be desired. Also the plates prepared by the host or hostess may be set, in turn, upon the servette and thus be sent round to those for whom they are intended.
For service without a maid the preliminary laying of the table is the same as when a maid is employed, except that bread, butter, water and such articles as belong to all courses up to the dessert are in place on the table, when the meal is announced. At breakfast, the coffee cups will be on the table on a tray, with the coffee service, and, at luncheon or supper, the tea or cocoa cups will be in place with appropriate service, when the meal is announced.At dinner, it will usually be found more convenient to serve coffee in the living room, the change of room giving the hostess an opportunity to bring in the appliances without feeling hurried.
Consomme, with Asparagus Tips. Rolls. Olives. Radishes.
Filet of Beef, Roasted. Mushroom Sauce. Mashed Potatoes, Vienna Style. Cress and Sliced Tomatoes, French Dressing.
Frozen Apricots. Swedish Sponge Cake. Coffee.
When dinner is announced, each cover should be laid as follows: dinner plate, holding plate of soup, at center of cover, one inch from the edge of the table; at right of plates and next to it will be found a dinner knife with soup spoon near; and left of plate and next to it, a dinner fork with napkin near. At the tip of the knife is the glass of water and at the the left of the glass a small dish holding two olives and two radishes; at left of this small butter plate holding a ball or pat butter.The latter article is often omitted; its presence or absence from the cover depends on the traditions of each particular family. On each napkin is a roll. In the center of the table is a small bowl of flowers, or the "servette" may occupy this space. On the servette or on opposite sides of the flowers are a plate of rolls and and a dish with olives and radishes. The carving knife and fork, the gravy ladle and a utensil for serving the potatoes are in their proper places before the host.A pitcher of water and an extra supply of butter are on the side-board.
The soup being eaten, the hostess removes two service plates holding soup plates, spoons and the relish dishes, one in each hand, or she removes four plates on the wheel tray at one time. The beef, mushroom sauce, potatoes and warm dinner plates are brought in on the wheel tray and set down before the host.The hostess returns to the refrigerator for the green vegetables, already on the plates or in a salad bowl, and the dressing.The dressing may be poured over the vegetables in the kitchen or brought on in a bowl. If the salad is on the plates, it is set down at the place where the relish plates were set.The salad is eaten with the dinner fork. The hostess refills the glasses with water and seats herself.
The course being finished, the hostess removes a dinner plate and a salad plate, one in each hand, until all are withdrawn. Or she removes several on the wheel tray, bringing back on the tray the apricots in the sherbet glasses, resting on small plates, also the cake.Before leaving the kitchen she sets the coffee to boil. She now crumbs the table, sets a plate of ice before each, a spoon beside it, and passes the cake. Thus completing the service of the meal in the dining room. When the guests rise from the table, she returns again ot the kitchen, pours the coffee and brings it to the living room on a tray, with spoons and a bowl of sugar. Or the coffee pot is brought in on the tray with cups and the coffee is poured after she is seated.
Of course, the beef and sauce are in the warming oven, on serving dishes, when the dinner is announced.With serving dish and spatula in readiness, the dishing of the potatoes can be quickly done.