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Regency Food

Table Settings and Removes

In  the  Regency period-- and for years afterwards--- the definition of meal courses was different than that of today. All the dishes of a meal were put on the table at once.

Servants served the soup and fish.

The centre of the table would  have  a decorative piece which stayed throughout the meal.

Think of the table like a clock.


The first course would have soupe de Bonne Femme at 12o'clock. This dish would be removed when all had helped themselves to soup and
replaced by the turbot.

Cotelletes were at 11 and salmi of truffles and L'Espagnole were at 1o'clock.
vol au vents were at 9 with rabbit casserole at 3 filets at 7 with cutlettes at 5,
soup is at 6 which was removed and replaced with Dorey. This was the first course. Soup was served to all who wanted , Men served the ladies next to them and them selves.

They could ask a servant to bring a dish from the other end of the table when the company was a little informal,otherwise one was limited to whatever lay close by.

Some menus had twelve or more dishes on the table at the time, not counting the two removes. If it were a large table there could also be soup at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions and six dishes between the soups. Sometimes jellies and what one might think of as sweets were also included in the first course.

After all had had a sufficiency of the first course, the dishes were removed. The table cloth might also be replaced.

The second course would be laid in pretty much the same manner as the
first except there would not be any soup. The glaces and fruits could be included in this course or in a small third course with cheese for
the men who would stay behind to drink port when the women left the room.

There would be water in finger bowls with which the diners  could rinse their fingers. Sometimes they also rinsed out their mouths.

Dishes were placed on the table all at once throughout the regency and later. It wasn't until much later that the change was made to have the food on the sideboard with servants carrying around the dishes. This was called Russian service. It was known in the Regency period  and some  who were in the forefront of  fashion or in the diplomatic corps could have changed then. However, most books on the subject  mention that the old system  was kept until  the Victorian age.  An exact date is hard to determine.

An etiquette book of 1869 says,"The fashion of dinners is wholly unlike what it was fifty or even thirty years ago.Dishes are now never  placed on the table  at a dinner of ceremony, and rarely even at small friendly dinners."  The author remarks that in the old system, the men had to do the carving for themselves and the ladies near them.

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