Thursday, November 01, 2012

Table Manners for the Young

Some short while ago I gave you some Rules for Eating, and I want to follow that concept up today with a serendipitous find in yesterday’s source, The Warwick Argus, (St. Lucia, Qld.) March 6, 1897.

For some (perhaps many) of you, I believe the topic is dear to your hearts as knowledge of it is absent in ‘the younger generation.’ I have myself been seated at a wedding breakfast next to a young male who was quite obviously very unfamiliar with the use of a knife and fork. Quite possibly he was also not used to actually sitting at a table to eat his meal. I think that my surprise and his discomfort were equally palpable.

Here then, for those of you who may wish a formal teaching tool for young ones under your tutelage, I give you:

Table Manners for the Young.
Drink from the cup-never from the saucer.
Teaspoons are left in the saucer, not in the cup.
Little children only have the napkin arranged as a bib.
Making a noise, either in eating or drinking, is vulgar.
Always cheerfully defer to older people and to guests.
Eat the food served, or quietly leave it upon the plate without remark.
Eat slowly, and do not fill the mouth with large quantities.
Never imitate a rude or uncouth act, even if committed by an older person.
Avoid drumming with the fingers or the feet; it is the height of impoliteness.
If in any doubt at any time as to what is proper, follow the example of others of more experience.
Patiently await the coming of your turn; do not follow with the eyes the food served to others.
Never unnecessarily handle the dishes, or in any other manner exhibit nervousness or impatience.
Do not feel obliged to "clean up the plate"; especially do not make a laborious display of doing so.
Do not ask for any particular part of a fowl, or similar dish, unless asked your preference; in that case always indicate something, and if there be really no choice designate the portion with which the host can most render service.
If the handkerchief must be used, let it be very quietly; in case that is not possible, leave the table for a moment, which may be done in case of a sharp attack of coughing, sneezing, or the like, without asking permission, the cause being manifest.

And here, for those of you who have to cook for the little monkeys, are a couple of ideas for nice puddings. I know there is another variation with the same name which contains bananas, but I cannot find it at present, so if you can help out, please do so!

Monkey Pudding.
Cut the crusts from slices of stale bread and butter thickly. Place them in a pudding dish and cover well with New Orleans molasses and bake in a slow oven.
High Living: recipes collected for the benefit of the Telegraph Hill Neighbourhood Association (1904)

Monkey Pudding.
Take about half a loaf of stale bread. Let it soak in nice milk (as much as you would put for a bread pudding) several hours. Add a little cream to it. Put in three heaping spoonfuls of brown sugar, two heaping spoonfuls of powdered cinnamon, a few stoned raisins. Cook in the oven with a slow fire until it looks like an old monkey. Serve with a stiff sugar and butter sauce, flavored with a little wine.
Cooking in Old Creole Days (1904) Celestine Eustis


Marmaduke Scarlet said...

The funny thing is that this list is more or less how I was brought up in the lat 60s in England and to this day when I am around people who chew noisily or blow on their food I get really irritated. Ooops. Am I becoming more Victorian as I get older? :)

Elise Fleming/Alys K. said...

There are a number of "manners" books from the Middle Ages. Here are a very few examples from two of them.

The Young Children’s Book, about 1500
Don’t pick your ears or nose or drink with your mouth full.
Don’t put your elbows on the table or belch as if you had a bean in your throat.
Don’t open your mouth too wide when you eat or blow in your food.
Don’t open your mouth too wide when you eat or blow in your food.
Keep your knife clean and don’t wipe it on the cloth.

1460 Urbanitas
Don’t spit or snot.
Break wind quietly.
Don’t clutch at the best bit no matter how much you want it.
Keep your hands from dirtying the cloth; don’t wipe your nose on it.
Have no meat in your mouth when you drink or speak.

Les said...

This reminds me of what my mom and grandmother told me. I used to call little kids monkeys but have gotten in trouble for it.

April Bullock said...

Emily Post had strong opinions on the table manners of the young (and the not so young). While we frequently refer to our daughter as "little monkey," I would be hesitant to follow Post who refers to small children as "it." Although I must admit that it is somewhat amusing to read "Training a child is exactly like training a puppy; a little heedless inattention and it is out of hand immediately; the great thing is not to let it acquire bad habits that must afterward be broken." (1922)

The Old Foodie said...

Marmaduke Scarlet - I was taught the same; things go in cycles; table manners will become fashionable again.

Elise: thanks for these! It is amazing, isnt it, that what is considered good manners has hardly changed for centuries!

Les - I still call my little grandchildren monkeys!

The Old Foodie said...

Hi April - I love it! I didnt know that Emily felt that way about children!