1860s Victorian House
"The dinner-table is the only place
where men are not bored
during the first hour."
How to Give An 1865 Dinner.
A dinner, no matter how recherché, how sumptuous, will never go off well if the wine is bad, the guests not suited to each other, the faces dull, and the dinner eaten hastily.
But some impatient reader will exclaim, How can we manage to unite all these conditions, which enhance, in a supreme degree, the pleasures of the dinner-table?
I will reply to this question, so listen attentively, gentle reader.
|Let the number of your guests never exceed twelve, so that the conversation may constantly remain general.Let them be so collected that their occupations are different, their tastes similar, and with such points of contact that it is not necessary to go through the odious form of introduction.Let your dining-room be brilliantly lighted, your cloth perfectly clean, and the temperature of the room from 13 degrees to 16 degrees Réaumur.
Let the men be clever without presumption, the women amiable without conceit.Let your dishes be limited in number, but each excellent, and your wines first-rate. Let the former vary from the most substantial to the most light; and for the second, from the strongest to the most perfumed.Let everything be served quietly, without hurry or bustle; dinner being the last business of the day, let your guests look upon themselves as travellers who have arrived at the end of their jouney.Let the coffee be very hot, and the liqueurs of first quality.Let your drawing-room be spacious enough to allow a game to be played, if desired, without interfering with those addicted to chatting.Let the guests be retained by the pleasant company, and cheered with the hope that, before the evening is over, there is something good still in store for them.
Let the tea not be too strong; the hot toast well buttered; and the punch carefully mixed.Let no one leave before eleven, but let every one be in bed by midnight.
... The Handbook of Dining, or Corpulency and Leanness Scientifically Considered, by Brillat-Savarin, 1865.
GREAT DINNERS in the 1860s|
- Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, 19, dines at an elaborate dinner held in his honor at The Academy of Music, 14th Street in New York during his first visit to America.
Main course: Beefsteak-and-kidney pie. -- Related article: Tour of His Royal Highness, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, Through the United States, Our First Century, by R. M. Devens.
- Napoleon III dines at James de Rothschild's French estate. They join a hunting party in the afternoon, killing over 1200 heads of game. Returning, the Paris Opera entertains them with hunting songs.
Main course: Boar and pheasants en plumage.
- Thanksgiving Day becomes a U.S. national holiday to commemorate the Pilgrims' 1621 feast honoring their Native American benefactors.
Main course: Turkey
The steamer proved to be the Nutfield, perfectly new, and, as her papers showed, laden with arms and stores for the Confederate Government. She had been chased the day before, and escaped only to find herself at night in the very midst of the inside blockaders off Wilmington...In the cabin of the prize, which was most luxuriantly furnished, stood the breakfast-table hastily abandoned."A Cruise on the "Sassacus," by Edgar Holden; Harper's New Monthly Magazine, November, 1864. from Cruise on the Sassacus 14-page.
- The Six Chinese Companies in California host a dinner in honor of Hon. Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives; Hon. Wm. Bross, Lt-Governor of Illinois; Albert D. Richardson, New York Tribune; and Samuel Bowles, Springfield (Mass.) Republican at the Hang Heong Restaurant, 308 Dupont Street, San Francisco, California.
Main course: Bamboo soup, bird's nest soup, stewed sea-weed, stewed mushrooms, fried fungus, banana fritters, shark fins, shark sinews, reindeer sinews, dried Chinese oysters, pigeons, ducks, chickens, scorpions' eggs, watermelon seeds, fish in scores of varieties, many kinds of cake, and fruits ad infinitum.
- Citizens of Augusta, Georgia hold a barbecue honoring General Steadman and General Fullerton, sent by President Johnson to investigate the Freedmen's Bureau. Black families have their barbeques, generally at the close of their labors in getting in the cotton crop. -- Harper's Weekly.
- Banquet in honor of Cyrus W. Field, at The Metropolitan Hotel in New York, with telegraph-pole centerpieces, celebrating the first successful attempt to lay a transatlantic telegraph cable.
-- Successful Laying of the Telegraph Cable Across the Atlantic Ocean, Our First Century, by R. M. Devens.
- Farewell Dinner at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia for Honorable Andrew Curtin (former Pennsylvania Governor) after his acceptance as minister to Russia.
Victorian House Plans.