It may be this war period (war? what war? yes yes, WWII but I was being ironical), which has accustomed everyone to going with very little meat and to marked reductions in all food, or it may, of course, be merely vanity that is causing even grandparents to aspire to svelte figures (nope, that would be the media); but whatever the reason, people are putting much less food on their tables than formerly (and thank god! aren’t American’s some of the most obese people in the world dare I say galaxy?). The few very rich, still living in great houses with an imposing array of servants, sit down to three, or at most four, courses.Under no circumstances does a modern dinner, no matter how formal consist of less than: 1. Soup or oysters or melon or clams. 2. Fish or Entree. 3. Roast. 4. Salad. 5. Dessert. 6. After-dinner coffee.
We’ve been watching “Emma” on PBS and I believe she might include a phrase or two here about “finding oneself in reduced circumstances”…indeed a polite way of saying “We won’t be serving any of the preceding in one sitting at our dinners, nevermind in sequence. Who do you think we are? The Woodhouses?”