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Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, June 2020, The Wisdom of Butlers Past

Steven FerryThe Wisdom of Butlers Past

by Steven Ferry

PART 37: THE SIDEBOARD

The side-table has its own particular function, where the plates, food, and sharper silverware are placed; … the items to be used first being placed at the front.

Mis-en-place included having d’Oyleys [Doilies], and dessert knives, forks and spoons placed on the dessert plates, rather than having the silverware placed already on the table, as is done by butlers these days. Various options are given that might not apply today, but the following basic words of advice apply just as much then as now:

«Whether you have a few or many at any time to dinner, make it a matter of thought how you can manage and arrange your things to the comfort of those you serve and your own convenience, not forgetting the appearance as I am sure, my young friends, that you may unite the three together.»

The question of where to place the sideboard and the side table is determined by the size and shape of the room. If long and narrow, then one goes at one end and the other at the other end, although this seems like it might require much walking to and fro, and the author counsels against such because it can lead to confusion and accidents.

Finally, «Do not bring the cheese into the room till wanted, as the smell of it may be disagreeable to some of the company.»  Reminds me of a time when my father took me to my first fine-dining restaurant at the ripe age of seven, and I whispered loudly with great concern, «Daddy, someone has been sick!»

Extracted from the 1823 book, The Footman’s Directory and Butler’s Remembrancer, re-published in hardback by Pryor Publications. You may obtain your discounted copy (with free s&h) by emailing the publisher: Mr. Pryor (alan AT pryor-publications.co.uk).

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Categorías
Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, May 2020, The Wisdom of Butlers Past

Steven FerryThe Wisdom of Butlers Past

by Steven Ferry

PART 36: Dinner Service

The sideboard and side table were not just functional mis-en-place tools but also an opportunity to create a beautiful presentation that showed off the various tableware of the household, such as the «glasses and small waiters [8″ tray], the cruet-stand [for holding condiment containers], sugar-basin, and the cut-glass water jug, which is to go on with the dessert, and a few silver spoons.»

Two words of caution: a) If there were not enough glasses, «never attempt to make three or four persons drink out of one glass, as that is a filthy trick.» b) Place knives and forks on the side table, to avoid scratching the latter (it was permitted to scratch the side table, perhaps because it was not a major piece of furniture).

The recommended layout included having items in front that would be used first; arranging the glasses in a crescent, tallest ones at each end, together with the finger-glasses [finger bowls]; placing the candle [for lighting] at the back in the center. The author suggested adding some silverware to the center, as it offset glass nicely.

When it came to clearing the table, baskets were used to place dirty plates, and separate boxes and trays for each type of dirty cutlery, and all placed where convenient—it appears within the dining room, meaning that the sights and sounds of scraping dishes and clattering cutlery would have been evident to the guests, prompting the butlers to try to mitigate these.

No doubt the butlers were doing the best they could, given their circumstances, and fortunately we have been able to finesse table service since to create an even more aesthetic experience.

Extracted from the 1823 book, The Footman’s Directory and Butler’s Remembrancer, re-published in hardback by Pryor Publications. You may obtain your discounted copy (with free s&h) by emailing the publisher: Mr. Pryor (alan AT pryor-publications.co.uk).

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.