18th Century Podcast Episode 18 English Dinner Party

18th century cooking

Listen here: https://anchor.fm/cj123/episodes/18th-Century-Podcast-Episode-18-English-Dinner-Party-e635st/a-aq6g8m

Summary

In today’s episode, we will be discussing the subject of the English Dinner Party from the 18th Century. I’ll be going over a few recipes too.

Script

INTRO

Welcome back to the 18th Century Podcast. I am your host, Cj. In today’s episode, we will be discussing the subject of the English Dinner Party from the 18th Century. I’ll be going over a few recipes too. Some of the food mentioned and the recipes provided in this episode I got from the 18th Century Cooking, series on youtube put out by Townsends. I’ll provide links to their videos at the bottom of the script post for this episode. If you’d like to read the script for this episode and its citations, go to 18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. Let’s begin this episode by taking a look at the dinner party from the 18th Century.

PART 1 THE DINNER

I think talking about the dinner itself is a good place to commence. We’ll be taking a look at this from primarily an English perspective. More specifically, for the upper class. Dinner was a very formal meal. You could say it was regarded as the most important meal. There were instances of women taking the time to change clothes specifically for dinner. Men would also prepare themselves for dinner but would usually take less time than women. It was important especially for the young to dress well, for if they were single, these dinners might lead to courtship. Dessert after the dinner was considered less formal than the dinner itself. Each house had its own set time for dinner and the hours would vary. When having guests, the dinner would commence once the Lady of the house would request the most prominent woman guest to bring the other ladies to the table. Going off of this cue, the Master of the house would do the same for the men. The host and hostess would seat themselves first. The Master would sit at the foot of the table, and the Lady would sit at the head. After this, the most senior Lady would pick her place at the table, once she sat, the other guests were free to pick their spots. However, it was more socially acceptable to place oneself regarding social rank. During the first half of the Century, guests were expected to bring their own flatware, but that custom was disregarded during the second half of the century. Forks would be placed on the left, and the spoons with the knives would be placed on the right. You would not eat with a fork. The fork was reserved for holding meat in place while you cut it. The knives were broad at the time and did not come to a point. You would place your food on your knife and consume it using that utensil. When the dinner knives lost their point at the end, we began to see the beginnings of toothpicks. An interesting piece regarding napkins as they were in use in the early part of the century. However, they fell out of favor for the English, being viewed as too French. Dinner guests were thus expected to wipe their mouths with the table cloth instead. An interesting thing of note is once the guests were seated, the plates were not yet on the table. Kitchens were typical further away from the dining table, so once they reached the table they were typically lukewarm. The plates were kept near a fire or specialty warmers while the food arrived. Plates were then placed in front of the guests, so the plate could act as a vessel to reheat the food. The wine or beer glasses were kept chilled with ice brought from an ice house. We can infer that if they were using ice to chill their glasses, it was a symbol of status. Ice was expensive, so if you could afford to use some, it was a subtle way to flaunt your wealth. The wealthy would eat off of porcelain plates among the other dishes, and they were typically white with a blue pattern upon them. Centerpieces were also common, and they could be a multitude of things, such as sugar sculptures. These centerpieces could have been used as a topic of conversation. Servants would handle the food and dishes on the table. The dinner would be served in multiple corses. How each course was arranged on the table was an art in and of itself, and there were books dedicated to the topic. Typically there would be two courses and dessert. Each course could contain anywhere from five to around twenty-five dishes. As a guest, you were not expected to try something from every dish. The layout would typically be as follows with some variation: Meat dishes in the middle of the table, sides would be on the corners, soup would be placed at one end, and fish at the other. The meal would begin with the guests being served soup. Wine would be served with the meal. If you wished to take a drink, there was a sort of ritual to it. If a guest wished to take a drink they first had to make eye contact with another guest and raise your glass. Once the person you made eye contact with raises their glass, you may take a sip. However, you then must wait for someone to make eye contact with you and raise a glass before you can take another sip during the dinner. Each guest would eat from two to three dishes per course. The amounts they took were at their discretion. If a guest wanted something from across the table, they would have a servant retrieve it for them. Once the first course was complete, the dishes would be removed from the table. A new tablecloth, plates, and flatware were brought forth to the guests. The second course would consist of lighter foods, yes there were meats, but there was also jellies and tarts. You could view the second corse as a bridge between the first and the dessert. Though other beverages were sometimes available such as beer or ale, wine was preferred. Port and sherry were popular. I would like to note, you may find wine called sac, but sac was the equivalent of sweet sherry.

After the second course finished, the tablecloth would be removed and not replaced. Desserts would consist of small cakes, dried fruits, candied fruit and the like. The Gentleman attending would drink port typically, and the ladies would consume a sweet wine. The dinner rules relaxed once dessert was served. You no longer had to make eye contact with another to drink, you could simply drink. Other formalities such as seating went away with dessert. Guests could rearrange themselves to sit however they wished. The topics of conversation became more relaxed as more coarse topics were now allowed to be discussed. A curious rule regarding relieving oneself was present. It was considered rude to leave the table during the actual dinner if you felt as though you had to use the bathroom. To accommodate this, a chamberpot was kept off to the side of the room for guests to use, so they could relieve themselves without breaking the flow of conversation. The dinner itself would last about two hours. Once the meal was complete, a glass of wine was served to each guest. When everyone had finished this glass of wine, the hostess would stand and a servant would open the doors. The ladies would follow their hostess out of the dining room and into the drawing-room. The gentleman would remain in the dining room drinking and conversing with one another. Now we’re going to take a short break, and when we come back, we’ll take a look at some of the foods served and the preparation of the dinner parties. We’ll be right back.

PART 2 RECIPIES

Welcome back. We’ll continue the second half of today’s episode by briefly discussing 18th Century recipes. I tried to find information about 18th Century English Kitchens, but there is surprisingly very little information about that topic online. So, I’ll be giving you three recipes that may have been consumed at an English Dinner Party. Some of the recipes I’m providing here came from the Townsends youtube series, 18th Century Cooking. On the blog post for this episode, I’ll provide the video links so you can follow along at home. I highly recommend watching their videos, as they are simply fantastic. The first recipe will come from Mrs. Glasse’s book, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. The recipe we will be making is called, To Dress a Duck with Green Peas. As a side note, green peas were very popular during the 18th Century. Alright, the recipe is as follows, quote, “Put a deep stew-pan over the fire, with a piece of fresh butter; singe your duck and flour it, turn it in the pan two or three minutes, then pour out all the fat but let the duck remain in the pan : put to it a pint of good gravy, a pint of peas, two lettuces cut small, a small bundle of sweet herbs, a little pepper and salt, cover them close, and let them stew for half an hour, now and then give then pan a shake ; when they are just done, grate in a little nutmeg, and put in a very little beaten mace, and thicken it either with a piece of butter rolled in flour, or the yolk of an egg beat up with two or three spoonfuls of cream ; shake it all together for three or four minutes, take out the sweet herbs lay the duck in the dish, and pour the sauce over it. You may garnish with boiled mint chopped, or let it alone.” Unquote. The next recipe will be for a version of macaroni and cheese from Townsends video, “Macaroni” – A Recipe From 1784. First, start by boiling 4 oz. of short tube pasta which should be around an inch and a half. After it has finished boiling, strain the pasta through a sieve to let it dry. The put it in a frying pan topped with a jill of heavy cream, and a ball of butter rolled in flour. Place the pan over the fire or a stove for about five minutes. Take the pan off and put the contents in a bowl. Top it with a lot of parmesan cheese, and toast it with a salamander. You’ll want the cheese to lightly brown. If you’d like, you could add a little pepper to top it off. For our final recipe which also comes from Townsends, we’ll make, a cream puff, or as they title it, “Whipt Cream, Like Snow” – Not Your Typical Whipped Cream. To make this, start by boiling about 1 cup of water. Add about a tablespoon of sugar. Next, add a little lemon zest. Then you’ll want to add about 4 oz. of butter. Then add a little salt. Slowly add in flour while stirring, and when it begins to separate from the sides, take it off the oven or fire. Let it cool a little but still keep it warm. Add eggs in one by one and thoroughly stir each one in. You’ll want it to get to a smooth silky texture. Around three eggs should do. Add blobs of the batter to a cooking sheet. Set your oven to 375 and put it in for about a half-hour. While that’s baking, begin the work on the cream. To a large bowl, add a pint of heavy cream. Add sugar to taste (perhaps a quarter cup). Then the juice of a lemon. Next, add about a cup of sac or sweet sherry. Then you’ll want to whip it to make whipped cream. Once the pastries are done in the oven, take them out and let them cool. Once they are cooled, cut the tops off. Take a bit of the center out of the pastries to make room for the cream. Spoon in the whipped cream. Put the tops back on, and you’re ready to eat 18th Century Cream Puffs! 

OUTRO

Well, this brings us to the end of this episode of the 18th Century Podcast. I hope you found this episode as interesting as I did, and maybe I’ll do a few more episodes like this in the future if you guys want. The script and citations for this episode and all other episodes can be found at 18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. If you’d like to support the show, please share it and leave a review. I’ve been your host Cj, and thank you for listening to this episode of the 18th Century Podcast.

CITATIONS

Verylargerabbit. “18th Century Table Setting.” The Edible Eighteenth Century, 5 Nov. 2012, https://engl3164.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/18th-century-table-setting/.

Shamo, Denis V. “Cultural Rules of Dining.” Rules of Dining in 18th Century England, http://umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/food/rules.htm.

Mrs. Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. 1st American ed., Cottom & Stewart, 1805. (First published in England in 1747)

Townsends. “‘Macaroni’ – A Recipe From 1784.” YouTube, YouTube, 26 Feb. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV-yHbbrKRA.

Townsends. “‘Whipt Cream, Like Snow’ – Not Your Typical Whipped Cream.” YouTube, YouTube, 19 Aug. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpoMQ5hNd1Y.

18th Century Podcast: Episode 7 Games & Gambling

Listen here: https://anchor.fm/cj123/episodes/18th-Century-Podcast-Episode-7-Games–Gambling-e4jt59/a-aiono7

Summary

In this episode We’ll be taking a look at games and gambling during the 18th Century. Many games they played in the 18th Century are still played today, but some have fallen out of fashion. Gambling was somewhat looked down upon, yet it was still very popular during the time. This was very interesting to research and I hope you enjoy this episode.

Script

INTRO

Welcome back to the 18th Century Podcast, I’m your host Cj. In today’s episode, we’ll take a step back from the weaponry and warfare of the time and look at something a little more lighthearted depending upon your view, games, and gambling during the 18th Century. If you’d like to read the script for this episode and its citations, go to https://18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. The first half of the show today will be about the games, which will include board and card games, but I’ll also throw in a section for sports too, and the second half will be about gambling. Alright, let’s get into it!

PART 1 GAMES

I think it’s safe to say games have been popular throughout most of human history. The 18th Century is no exception. You would find people playing games very familiar to us such as Chess, Backgammon, a verity of Card Games, also Checkers but at the time it was referred to as Draughts. Another game which you might have heard of was Nine Men’s Morris. If you play video games, you may have come across Nine Men’s Morris in the game Assassins Creed 3. One children’s game which we still play today is Horseshoes. Though I would say it was more popular back in the 18th Century rather than the 21st Century. A popular card game of the time was Whist. You could find the game of Whist being played at upper society. Now unlike how I was just rattling off games to start this segment, I’m going to explain how to Whist as best as I can, so you can try it at home if you’d like. To play this game you’ll need a standard 52 card deck, and four players. The game is played in teams of two. Aces are high in this game. The person across from you is your teammate. If you’d like you could choose your own partner, or let the cards decide. If you’d like for the cards to decide your partner, cut the cards and have each player draw a card. The two highest cards will be paired together. Start off by having a dealer shuffle the cards. Once the shuffle is complete, the player to his right will cut the cards. After which the dealer will distribute the cards to his or her left going clockwise facedown. Each player should receive 13 cards. When the dealer comes to the last card, which he would deal to himself, the dealer turns over the last card for everyone to see. What every the suit of the card is, becomes what is known as the trump. After everyone has seen the card, the dealer places it in his hand. Each round of play is called a trick. Play occurs clockwise, and the person to the dealers left lays the first card. Continuing clockwise, each player lays one card of the same suit as the first card played. Whoever played the highest card, wins the trick. If you do not have a card matching the suit played, only then can you play a card of a different suit. However, if you play a card which was the trump’s suit, and no other player played a trump, then you would win the trick. In the event that two or more players play a card from the trump suit, the trick would go to the highest valued trump card. After all thirteen tricks of the deck are played, the team with the most number of combined tricks, scores one point. You can use a token or a chip to keep track of points. Now the dealer would repeat the shuffle and thirteen tricks would be played once more. Before the game begins, have the players select a certain number of points for a team to win the game. For example, the winning score could be, 5 points, 7 points, or whatever score your heart desires. There are a couple of additional rules which you should be aware of, and after I provide them, I’ll run through two tricks just to give the gist of the game. There are two additional ways to change the score of the game. The first way is to receive honor points. If you and your teammate both have a combination of the Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the trump suit, you would call honors before the play of the next hand. If you and your teammate have three of the four cards, you receive two points, and if you have all four, you receive four points. The final thing which you should be aware of is, Revokes. Let’s say one of your opponents has played the wrong suit and they still have cards for the suit played if you or your teammate notices this and it’s not corrected by the end of the trick, you call Revoke, at that point one of two things happens, you could either add three points to your score, or remove three points from theirs. Let’s run through two sample hands. The trump suit is hearts. The first player plays a Jack of Clubs, then as you go around, what’s played is King of Clubs, two of Clubs, six of Clubs. The person who played the King of Clubs would win the trick and set the played cars aside. Then the winner would start the next trick. Let’s say they played the eight of spades, then going around the ten of spades is played, then the four of hearts, and then the seven of spades. The person who played the four of hearts would win since they played a card from the trump suit, so long as they didn’t have any spades to play. That’s how you play Whist. Long winded I know. If you listened to this on the podcast I highly encourage you to go to the link in the episode description and read the script to review the rules of the game for when you play. There’s one more thing I’d like to mention about these types of games in the 18th Century, and that’s Game Tables. Compared to modern game tables, the game tables of the 18th Century were quite different. There were multiple layers to these tables. They would be extended by being folded out to play games such as chess, cards, or even backgammon. Each layer of such a table was specifically designed for certain games. Such tables could be found across Europe and in parts of the Americas. When I went on my trip to Virginia I saw a few tables specifically designed for games, and it was quite interesting. From what I remember typically these kinds of tables would be used when you’d have guests over, or if you were hosting somebody. It’s interesting how compact they could be. If memory serves me correctly, they could be folded up and placed in a trunk for travel too. There are many games which carried over from the 18th Century, but Sports is another story.

PART 2: SPORTS

How we view sports today, and how sports were viewed in the 18th Century were quite similar in some instances, and quite different in others. If you’re from the United States or if you love horse racing, you’re probably heard of the Kentucky Derby. No, they did not have the Kentucky Derby in the 18th Century, but horse racing was popular in England and the Colonies. During the 18th Century, we could find wealthy Aristocrats breeding horses specifically for racing. Boxing was starting to come more into form during the 18th Century as well. As one could imagine, this was a sport more reserved for the lower classes of society at the time. Boxing didn’t have the modern rules of today, but the roots of them can be seen in parts of the 18th Century. One sport I was surprised to learn about was that they had bowling. Yes, bowling was in the 18th Century and turns out its origins date back earlier. We could find fishing clubs in the Americas during the early half of the Century. Though sport fishing was being popularized in England the Century prior. One of the most synonymous sports with the 18th Century would probably be fox hunting. It could be said it was most popular among the upper classes in England, but it also caught on in the Americas for a time. The basic overview of a fox hunt is as follows, horseback riders follow their hounds as the dogs hunt down a fox. In the Americas, the fox hunting season began in the Fall. Men such as George Washington participated. I’ll delve into this topic more in an episode dedicated to hunting and fishing during the 18th Century. Another modern sport, but with different rules, you could find is Tennis. Tennis would be played across Europe in countries such as England or France for example. The sport was played by both men and women. It was at its height in popularity during the middle of the Century. If a player got good at Tennis, they could gain notoriety and a certain level of fame along with some decent pay. Now, I’m going to take a short break, and when I come back, we’ll get into a very interesting topic for the time, gambling.

PART 3 GAMBLING

Welcome back. For our final section today, let’s discuss gambling. I’ll jump right into it. For the lower classes gambling could be found at places like taverns or coffeehouses. In some taverns cockfights were popular. This would be were two chickens would fight either to the death or until one of them could go no further. The spectators would bet on the outcome. Gambling could have also occurred over boxing matches as mentioned earlier. Other tavern games were most likely gambled upon as well. Such as some card or dice games. During the 18th Century, we start to see an expansion of casinos. At the beginning of the Century, many places had outlawed gambling, but as time marched on, these sorts of laws would be revoked. In 1762 Spa, Belgium the second oldest casino opened its doors. The Redoute casino in Belgium is still open to this day, but it operates under a different name. During the 1770s, two additional casinos opened in Europe. One of which was in France, and another in Belgium. One of the classic casino games, roulette, can find it’s more modern origins in the late 1790s. It wasn’t how we would picture the wheel today, but more or less, this is when the modern game got started. During the 1790s in France, there was a boom in gambling. Though gambling had been popular earlier in the Century for France. Under the reign of King Louis XV who reigned officially from 1723 until his death in 1774, gambling found a small home at Salons. A Salon was very different from the modern place where women get their hair cut. Back in 18th Century France, it was a place for often the nobility to come and have intellectual discussions. For the wealthy French, gambling was an outlet to flaunt their wealth. What’s ironic about flaunting their wealth gambling away their money was this, they did not like people who gloated. You could say it was viewed in poor taste. Gambling in Paris was luxury. Now crossing the channel and heading over to England there was a slightly different approach to gambling and some hypocrisy. The English loved to bet. If there was a conflict of any sort whether it be backgammon or a battle, there probably was a bet at some point. Here’s where the hypocrisy came in, in London gambling was being pushed out of traditional places such as taverns and coffeehouses. See the conflict in attitude? But then special gambling houses or clubs would be opened instead, I guess it works itself out in the end. The famous John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, opened one such establishment called, White’s. If the name John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, sounds familiar it’s because he was said to have invented the delicious food we know today. Again, these casinos were more geared towards the wealthy and the nobility, the same as in France. Moving forward to the British Colonies in the Americas, gambling was very popular. However, casinos didn’t open, due to the fact that there wasn’t a large enough base of people yet to support them. Gambling occurred in the American Revolution in both Militaries. George Washington and some British Officers both had complaints in turn about their men gambling. The attitude was very mixed in the 18th Century. Gambling was somewhat looked down upon, but at the same time, it was very popular.

Outro


This brings us to the end on our dive into Games & Gambling during the 18th Century. I found this a fascinating topic to research. The script and citations for this episode and all other episodes can be found at https://18thcentury.home.blog that’s 1, 8, t h, century dot home dot blog. Type the numbers don’t spell them. If you’d like to support the show, please share it and leave a review. I’ve been your host Cj, and thank you for listening to this episode of the 18th Century Podcast.

CITATIONS

Grace, Maria. “A Salon Guest… Toys and Games of the Long 18th Century.” A Salon Guest… Toys and Games of the Long 18th Century, 16 Jan. 2014, http://www.madamegilflurt.com/2014/01/toys-and-games-of-long-18th-century.html.

Smith, Cynthia. “Children’s Games in the 18th Century.” Synonym, 3 Oct. 2017, classroom.synonym.com/childrens-games-in-the-18th-century-13583117.html.

Walton, Geri. “Whist in the Georgian and Regency Eras.” Geri Walton, 30 May 2019, http://www.geriwalton.com/georgian-and-regency-whis/.

“Eighteenth Century Resources.” Whist – Eighteenth Century Resources, http://www.eighteenthcentury.net/whist.

“Game Table.” Metmuseum.org, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/232203.

“1754-1783: Sports and Recreation: Overview.” American Eras. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Jul. 2019 https://www.encyclopedia.com.

Smucker, Philip G. “Foxhunting.” George Washington’s Mount Vernon, http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/facts/athleticism/foxhunting/.

Murden, Sarah. “Anyone for 18th Century Tennis?” All Things Georgian, 3 July 2018, georgianera.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/anyone-for-18th-century-tennis/.

Guy, History. “The History of Casinos in Europe.” The History Guy: 25 June 2016, historyguy.com/history_casinos_in_europe.html.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Louis XV.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 6 May 2019, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-XV.

“Salons.” Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Jul. 2019 https://www.encyclopedia.com.

Portner, Jessica. “Paris Gamblers: Gaming in 18th-Century France.” The Getty Iris, 27 June 2017, blogs.getty.edu/iris/paris-gamblers-gaming-in-18th-century-france/.

Crews, Ed. “Gambling.” Gambling : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site, http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Autumn08/gamble.cfm.