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Stefan's Florilegium

table-manners-msg



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table-manners-msg - 1/16/03

Period table manners.

NOTE: See also the files: meat-carving-bib, forks-msg, high-table-msg,
Handwashing-art, p-tableware-msg, tablecloths-msg, aquamaniles-msg, p-
manners-msg.

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NOTICE -

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris@motorola.com stefan@florilegium.org
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Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 17:27:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: Laura C Minnick <lainie@gladstone.uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: SC - help needed on knightly virtues/Ideals of Chivalry

Find this book in your local University library, or get the local
library to get it via ILL.-

F.J.Furnivall, ed. _Early English Meals and Manners_. London,
Early English Text Society, 1868.

In the Furnival you will find these very useful texts:

The Boke of Curtasye_ (Sloane MS, 1986, British Museum, 1430-1440)
Wynkyn de Worde's _The Boke of Kervynge_, 1413
John Russell's _The Book of Nurture_ (Harleian MS. 4011, BrM, mid 15th c.)
_Ffor to Serve a Lord_ early 16th century

These are all manners and training books- the sort used in a large noble
house to teach the young men. Very, Very useful. There is also a good deal
of material on serving etc., in :

Bridget Ann Henisch's _Fast and Feast_ (University Park,
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976)

If you have more questions, please ask- I did a term project on servers
and serving for a class I took on Medieval Ceremony and Ritual, and
somewhere I still have the materials. (Probably under the rock, like
everything else...)

'Lainie
- -
Laura C. Minnick


Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 16:02:21 EST
From: RuddR@aol.com
Subject: SC - Re: table eating utensils

Stefan quotes and writes:
> > << The fundraiser also featured no silverware, as they thought
> > medieval man ate without utensils. >>
> >
> > Actually, they did eat without utensils other than a knife until relatively
> > late in period. This is the reason why you only use your right hand to serve
> > yourself food with (your left being used for personal cleansing).
>
> Hmm. Yes, I believe this left-handed thing was a tradition in the Middle
> East.
> Do you have any evidence that this was ever done with any consistancy in
> the non-Moslem parts of Europe?

I have recently been looking at medieval illuminations of diners at table,
trying to answer this very question. For the most part, diners are eating
with their right hands, but every now and then, with their left hands (see:
http://www.50megs.com/matterer/medpix/gallery1/mpix18.htm). In some pictures
the diners are reaching into the dishes with one hand while holding morsels
of food in the other
(http://www.50megs.com/matterer/medpix/gallery4/mpix115.htm). So it seems as
though the Islamic stricture against eating with the left hand did not apply
in medieval Christendom. Perhaps the custom of public hand washing before
dinner had something to do with this.

Rudd Rayfield


Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 02:10:17 -0400
From: Christine A Seelye-King <mermayde@juno.com>
Subject: SC - Table manners

Hello all, I am almost through wading through my backlog of emails, and
found this one I though you might like.
Christianna

- --------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mark Mettler <mettler@bulloch.net>
To: meridian-ty@egroups.com

On Manners:

When Sir Ector delivered the Elegy for Lancelot in Le Morte Darthur he
said, "Thou was the meekest man and the gentelist that ever ate in a
hall among the ladies."

Some simple rules from historical documents:

Do not pet the dog during dinner.

If thou do no drink, even though, offer it unto thy guests and humor
them by pretending to partake.

In all humility and friendship partake from a common plate and cup.

Do not appear gluttony, nor ravenous, nor as a hog a trough, but be
reserved in thy partaking that you seem grateful for the gifts you
partake.

Your bones, and shells and other things not fit for thy stomach, throw
upon the floor and do not appears to be wasteful, but having cleanly
removed the worthy before displaying your gratefulness on the floor.

It is best to serve they guest at feast a sauce of bitter taste, a
vinegar sauce and pepper too shall satisfy the tongue oft your food is
cold.
- --
Ld. Gryffri de Newmarch
http://www2.gasou.edu/SCA


From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <rcmann4@earthlink.net>
To: sca-cooks@ansteorra.org
Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 18:42:58 -0400
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] what did they do with dirty tableware?

On 7 May 2002, at 13:42, Harris Mark.S-rsve60 wrote:
> I thought napkins were a post-period development. Let's assume
> a 14th Century feast here.

As it happens, I just taught a class at a local schola on medieval
table manners. Although most of the period courtesy manuals are
from the 15th and 16th centuries, there are some that are older.
The 12th century "Urbanus Magnus" by Daniel of Beccles
mentions napkins used to wipe ones hands after washing. He also
instructs diners to wipe their knives on a piece of bread, and not to
lick it or scape it clean on edge of his plate.

Brighid ni Chiarain *** mka Robin Carroll-Mann
Barony of Settmour Swamp, East Kingdom
rcmann4@earthlink.net


Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 15:58:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] what did they do with dirty tableware?
To: sca-cooks@ansteorra.org

--- jenne@fiedlerfamily.net wrote:
> It doesn't look like napkins/towels to go accross
> the diners laps are
> postperiod, they are definitely present in the 16th
> c. manners texts.

Yes. And in drawings too.

> Besides, you wipe you fingers and your utensils on
> your BREAD, of course!

If you are 16th century, trenchers were less used,
hence the napkins/towels.

If you are 14th century, then you wiped your fingers
on your dog. Or so I have heard. :-)

Huette


Date: Tue, 07 May 2002 16:17:48 -0700
To: sca-cooks@ansteorra.org
From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm@efn.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] what did they do with dirty tableware?

>If you are 14th century, then you wiped your fingers
>on your dog. Or so I have heard. :-)
>
>Huette

Uh, nooo... the texts are also explicit about NOT touching the dog or cat
(yes, they had indoor cats!). Besides, who wants a greasy animal rubbing on
you after dinner?

'Lainie


Date: Tue, 07 May 2002 20:23:10 -0400
From: phoenissa@netscape.net
To: sca-cooks@ansteorra.org
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] what did they do with dirty tableware?

"Harris Mark.S-rsve60" <Mark.s.Harris@motorola.com> wrote:
>I thought napkins were a post-period development. Let's assume
>a 14th Century feast here.

I don't know much about the 14thc., but I'm fairly certain that napkins were
around in the 16th. I'd be surprised if some form of napkin *didn't* exist at
that point - I know it's bad to assume that if something existed in antiquity,
and then existed again during the Renaissance, that it was around in between,
but...the Romans most certainly did use napkins. (There's this cute little poem
by Catullus, 1st c. BC, about an uncouth dinner guest who tries to steal these
fancy linen napkins that were souvenirs from Spain.) So, napkins definitely
were not first invented after 1600. :-)

Vittoria


From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker@worldnet.att.net>
To: <sca-cooks@ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Naphins
Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 20:54:19 -0500

>The people at Camelot Village say that the Romans used napkins.
>Angustias

"You rifle through every dish that's served: sow's paps, pigs ears,
enough woodcock for two, half a mullet and an entire pike,
filet of moray eel, a pullet thigh, a dove dripping with sauce.
When it is all wrapped well between the corners of an oil-soaked
napkin, you pass it to your servant who carries it home;
while we remain seated there and can do nothing.
Give us back our meal, if you have even the slightest shame.
I did not invite you for tomorrow, Caecilianus."

Martial 2,37

Guess they're right.

Bear


Date: Tue, 7 May 2002 20:51:29 -0600 (MDT)
From: Ann Sasahara <ariann@nmia.com>
To: "SCA-Cooks maillist (E-mail)" <sca-cooks@ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] what did they do with dirty tableware?

On Tue, 7 May 2002 jenne@fiedlerfamily.net wrote:
> > Stefan! Bad! No biscuit! Don't wipe your knife on the tablecloth- on your
> > napkin maybe, but nor the tablecloth. Nor do you wipe your face on the
> > tablecloth.
> > --------
> > I thought napkins were a post-period development. Let's assume
> > a 14th Century feast here.
>
> It doesn't look like napkins/towels to go across the diners laps are
> postperiod, they are definitely present in the 16th c. manners texts.

I'm looking at the dust jacket and frontpiece of _Dining with William
Shakespeare_. It's a wedding scene detail from "The Life of Sir Henry
Unton (1557 - 1596)". The men in the painting have their napkins on their
left shoulder or on their left forearm. The ladies at each end of the
table have their napkins in their lap.

I assume from the painting that white cloth napkins did exist in
late 16th c. England, but that only ladies placed them across the lap. Men
had a choice of left shoulder or left forearm.

Does anyone know of any other pictoral evidence? Manuals of behavior
are interesting because they tell you what people SHOULD do. Paintings are
more interesting because they show you what people ACTUALLY do. Come Watson,
the game is afoot.

wild thought:
If an Elizabethan man placed his napkin across his lap, as was the custom
shown by the ladies, did his peers consider him effeminate?

Ariann, who eats her salad with her dinner fork and lets the salad fork go
back to the kitchen unused...


From: jenne@fiedlerfamily.net
Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 00:13:23 -0400 (EDT)
To: "SCA-Cooks maillist (E-mail)" <sca-cooks@ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] what did they do with dirty tableware?

> I'm looking at the dust jacket and frontpiece of _Dining with William
> Shakespeare_. It's a wedding scene detail from "The Life of Sir Henry
> Unton (1557 - 1596)". The men in the painting have their napkins on their
> left shoulder or on their left forearm. The ladies at each end of the
> table have their napkins in their lap.

Hm. In the serving manners books, we are directed (we being the servers)
to carry a towel (ie. napkin like object) across the arms/shoulder) and to
put a separate towel/napkin across the laps of the dinner guests extending
from the edge of the table. I'll try to remember to look up WHICH serving
book says that tomorrow.

-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa


From: "Patricia Collum" <pjc2@cox.net>
To: <sca-cooks@ansteorra.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 17:56:16 -0700
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Medieval eating

I found this today while looking for info on medieval table manners and
thought I would share
http://www.azeri.org/Azeri/az_latin/manuscripts/etiquette/english/etiquette_
english.html

Cecily


From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD@Health.State.OK.US>
To: "'sca-cooks@ansteorra.org'" <sca-cooks@ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] hats, andperiod spectacles
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 14:06:08 -0600

> When wearing a hat and wimple, does one extend their pinky when consuming
> food or drink? When did that practice begin? Anyone know?
>
> Olwen the helpful

It is a Medieval practice according to some sources. The little finger was
used to dip and spread spices at the table. It was kept extended while
eating and drinking to keep it from grease and food which would contaminate
the spices.

I haven't chased down the contemporary etiquette manuals to see what they
say, so I take it with a grain of salt--on my extended pinky.

Bear


Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 12:57:41 -0800
From: "Robin Carroll-Mann"<rcmann4@earthlink.net>
To: sca-cooks@ansteorra.org
Subject: Spreading spices (was Re: [Sca-cooks] hats, andperiod spectacles)

On Tue, 19 Nov 2002 14:06:08 -0600 "Decker, Terry D."
<TerryD@Health.State.OK.US> wrote:
> It is a Medieval practice according to some
> sources. The little finger was
> used to dip and spread spices at the table. It
> was kept extended while
> eating and drinking to keep it from grease and
> food which would contaminate
> the spices.
>
> I haven't chased down the contemporary
> etiquette manuals to see what they
> say, so I take it with a grain of salt--on my
> extended pinky.

According to some period books of manners, the proper way to take salt is on
the tip of your knife -- after you have wiped it clean on a piece of bread.

I don't recall any "spice" other than salt being mentioned as being served on
the dining table.

Brighid ni Chiarain

<the end>


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