IN a house where several maids are kept, certain work is assigned to each. It is the duty of the parlour-maid to wait at table.
Though table work is in her hands, it is usual, when entertaining, or when there is a large family, for the housemaid to assist. This saves delay and the unpleasant necessity of eating food that is neither hot nor cold, but half-way between. When there are several people and only one maid to wait at table, or even with a general servant, it is possible to have everything hot and nicely served if just a little thought is given beforehand to the arranging of the msnu.
Preparations in Advance
In the case of the one-maid dinner party, everything, so far as possible, must be prepared before the meal is actually served. As a rule it is possible to put such things as meat, vegetables, arid gravies in their respective dishes or tureens and keep them hot in a warming oven while the previous course is being eaten. Of course, if there is only one maid, she cannot be expected to stay in the dining-room the whole time. She would serve everything and then retire to the kitchen to prepare for the next course. Grape-fruit instead of soup, and cold sweets, prepared beforehand, with only fish and the meat course to be cooked and served hot, will greatly alleviate the responsibility of the maid, and also of the hostess.
Cleanliness and Neatness LEANLTNESS and neatness are – absolutely essential. An untidy person never litis the appearance of being clean and competent. Special attention should be paid to the hands and fingernails. To see plates, from which you are going to cat, handled by a maid with grimy hands does not exactly act as an appetizer. Quietness is one of the qualities expected of a parlour-maid. Platc3 and dishes need not be packed together with a great deal of noise. They can be put down gently without any more bother.
To shim plates together not only makes a most unpleasant clatter, but is apt to chip the china Waiting at table is made much easier if everything is prepared beforehand, and the table carefully laid so that even-thing needed is ready for use. The sideboard, with a cloth spread over it, may be used for spare plates, knives, forks and spoons needed for serving. Where there is only one maid, it is permissible for the cheese, biscuits, butter, dessert-plates, and cold sweets, such as fruit salad and jellies, to be put there also. This saves much delay where there are several people.
When hors deeuvres is served, the plates are placed on the table, one for each person, usually with the knives and forks on them. The hors deeuvres is either served by the maid, or handed round for everybody to help themselves. Serving and Changing Plates TVHEN two maids are waiting at table, it is usual for the parlour- maid to hand round the plates, on which the meat or poultry is served, and for the housemaid to follow with the vegetables and gravy. The serving and changing of plates should always be done from the left of a person. The parlour-maid always attends to the wines, and goes to the right-hand side of the person she is attending.
A maid waiting at table should be attentive and notice at once when anyone is wanting anything. Directly a plate is finished with, it should be removed. Plates and dishes from one courso must be taken before the next course is brought in, the plates being removed first. They should be taken singly and placed on the wagon or tray. The lady sitting on the right-hand side of the master of the house should be served first, then the one on his left.
Condiments should be removed when hc meat course is finished. .Sugar, bread, etc., should be brought in with their respective courses and cleared away after that course. It is most unpleasant to have the table crowded with unnecessary tilings. the table should be completely cleared before dessert is served.
Menu, Order of:
Entrees Made dishes (hot or cold)
Gibier or Volaille Game or poultry Gclees, Crimes Jellies, creams Fromage Cheese
Dessert Fruit, etc.