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 Rules of 18th Century Etiquette 
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Post Rules of 18th Century Etiquette
Dear Adrienne,
I think it would be interesting to have a forum about 18th Century Etiquette or even Etiquette of the Ancien Regime, which could span many centuries of change and development. How did the court actually conduct itself? I am sure there are countless tidbits regarding any number of things that would prove to be very interesting to many.

Thank you,
Ray

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Sat Aug 09, 2008 6:15 am
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Post Re: Rules of 18th Century Etiquette
"Louis XVI did not inherit Louis XV's delicate taste in food. Like the Sun King, he also ate alot...During their reign Louis and Marie-Antoinette dined every Sunday in public. But the queen only pretended to eat...She dined afterwards in her apartments, among her intimates."
---An Illustrated History of French Cuisine, Christian Guy [Bramhall House:New York] 196 (p. 86)


Last edited by jolie_blon on Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:41 pm
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Post Re: Rules of 18th Century Etiquette
Found a posting of a menu of a supper from the imperial archives quoted by L'Almanach des Gourmands pour 1862, by Charles Monselet. Marie Antoinette's dinner, Thursday 24 July 1788 at Trianon:


Four Soups
Rice soup, Scheiber, Croutons with lettuce, Croutons unis pour Madame
Two Main Entrees
Rump of beef with cabbage, Loin of veal on the spit
Sixteen Entrees
Spanish pates, Grilled mutton cutlets, Rabbits on the skewer, Fowl wings a la marechale, Turkey giblets in consomme, Larded breats of mutton with chicory, Fried turkey a la ravigote, Sweetbreads en papillot, Calves' heads sauce pointue, Chickens a la tartare, Spitted sucking pig, Caux fowl with consomme, Rouen duckling with orange, Fowl fillets en casserole with rice, Cold chicken, Chicken blanquette with cucumber
Four Hors D'Oeuvre
Fillets of rabbit, Breast of veal on the spit, Shin of veal in consomme, Cold turkey
Six dishes of roasts
Chickens, Capon fried with eggs and breadcrumbs, Leveret, Young turkey, Partridges, Rabbit
Sixteen small entremets
(menu stops here)


---Gastronomy of France, Raymond Oliver, translated from the French by Claude Durrell [Wine and Food Society:Cleveland OH] 1967 (p. 300-1)


Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:43 pm
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Post Re: Rules of 18th Century Etiquette
"...Nothing was presented directly to the queen; her hand kerchief or her gloves were placed upon a long salver of gold or silver gilt, which was placed as a piece of furniture of ceremony upon a side-table, and was called gantière. The first woman presented to her in this manner all that she asked for, unless the tire-woman, the lady of honor, or a princess, were present, and then the gradation, pointed out in the instance of the glass of water, was always observed."


Modern History Sourcebook:
Madame Campan:
Memoirs of the Private Life of Marie Antoinette, 1818


Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:02 pm
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Post Re: Rules of 18th Century Etiquette
Before we all start salivating over the sumptuous menu posted by jolie_blon, we need to remember that meals in the 18th Century were quite different from our own. Courses did not necessarily follow one another in a linear fashion, and as a general rule, vegetables were ornamental, not a main part of the meal. The food was all laid out on the table in a proscribed and convoluted fashion to fill all the empty space on the table before the diners arrived. No food was passed, and no servants were allowed to present any dish. As a diner, you could only eat what was within easy reaching distance. As a result, the planner or chef tried to present an appropriate array of dishes within the near location of every diner. This explains the multitude of dishes. If you wanted some goose, and the goose was at the other end of the table, you were out of luck.

It was not until the the 19th Century that dinner "a la Russe" came into fashion that the meal took on the appearance of the one we are familiar with. If you are interested in this topic, I urge you to read Taste, a history of food in England. It also applies to France in the 18th Century, and includes table lay-outs of the 18th Century.

Before you ask, I do not know if the dinner "a la Russe" originated in Russia, but it would be safe to assume it did.


Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:05 am
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Post Re: Rules of 18th Century Etiquette
Alan Davidson (The Penguin Companion to Food) says that the food could be taken away (after initial display) and carved into portions, so it may be that people could get a bit of anything they wanted (even if it was cold by the time they got it...).

The Larousse Gastronomique credits Urban Dubois with introducing Service a la Russe. Other sources mention his being on the Cote d'Azur, which makes me wonder if he didn't derive the idea from White Russians vacationing there.

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Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:00 pm
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