Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Supper Table With No Chairs and Everyone Using the Same Spoon?

If you follow this blog you know that I am a huge fan of historical fiction - I plan it out so that every other book I read is something historical, that way I can get a taste of everything but also stick with what I love.

I am currently reading a biography on Martha Washington, and can I say how beautiful this cover is? I love looking at it and think it does our First First Lady justice in every way! As I was reading today, I came across this passage and wanted to share - I found it fascinating, and something that I did not know.

"The new fashion called for individual chairs, plates, flatware, glasses, and napkins for each diner. Chairs were expensive, highly prized status symbols. Besides those at the table, extras were proudly lined up around the dining room walls and down both sides of the entry hall, their stately march a testament to their owners' opulence and good taste. Planters bought an abundance of all the necessary items to provide for their dinner guests, but matched sets of everything were more desirable - a concept that would have dumbfounded previous generations of Virginians. Symmetry and balance ruled eighteenth-century taste."

Compare that description to what dinner guests might have experienced before the eighteenth century:

"During meals the table was set with a motley array of pewter, pottery, and even wood; common drinking vessels were passed around; knives were the usual eating utensil, and prudent visitors carried their own in case there weren't enough to go around; spoons were often shared as everyone dipped into the serving vessels; and the few chairs in the household were supplemented by stools, benches, and chests. And those were the planters' households!"

1 comment:

  1. I love historical fiction too, especially ones like this that include all of the little details about the time period. I'm adding it to my wishlist.