The old-fashioned American breakfast is going rapidly out of favor, for several reasons. People who dine at seven or eight o'clock in the evening, are not usually hungry in the morning, and find a light meal suits them better at that time, than a heavy one. The no-breakfast fad has been preached with vigor by certain extremists, and has some followers - I do not pretend to say how many. Now that Americans travel in Europe in such large numbers, foreign customs are likely to influence us. The busy housewife, weary with her struggles to coerce her servants and to pro-vide three solid meals daily for her family, finds the Continental custom of beginning the day with rolls and coffee only, a delightful one. It certainly saves much trouble and much expense. Hence many people have adopted it in a modified form. Fruit followed by a cereal, with a third course of eggs, toast and coffee, makes a breakfast heavy enough for any one except perhaps a laboring man. Many persons leave out either the cereal or the fruit, at a family break-fast. Oranges peeled and served whole, make a palatable first course. A small disc of skin is left at one end, to hold the fork, which is planted upright in the fruit. One is thus 'enabled to eat the orange, without soiling the hands in the least. Alcohol lamps under the tea and coffee are a convenience, for those who come down late. The English have a copper stand to keep the breakfast dishes warm, with several burners beneath.
Cream served with the cereal adds a touch of luxury to the simple meal just described. Orange marmalade or jam in some form may succeed the egg course.
When a stranger of note is in town for a short time, and has many engagements, a clever hostess will occasionally succeed in capturing the lion for an hour or two, by inviting him to breakfast at nine or ten o'clock.
The French dťjeŻner d la fourchette does not differ materially from what we call luncheon. Some hostesses invite people to late breakfast, instead of to lunch; but few of the guests would know the difference between the two meals, except from the wording of the invitation. A French breakfast takes place somewhat earlier than a lunch, at twelve o'clock instead of one, for instance.
The first course usually consists of fruit, - straw-berries, melons, or whatever fruit is in season. In the succeeding courses there are often various preparations of eggs, since these belong more distinctively to break-fast than to luncheon. Ices are not usually served at breakfast, and there should not be many courses.
( Originally Published 1911 )
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