When I found the hardback, navy-blue 1945 edition of Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage by Emily Post at a library sale a few years ago, I immediately snatched it up. As a modern hostess who prides herself on following etiquette rules (I always RSVP and never show up to a party empty-handed!), I couldn’t help but wonder how entertaining was in the past.
Aside from the obvious differences (invitations weren’t emailed!), there’s a surprising amount of outdated material to be found in its pages. For example, there is a seven-page chapter entirely devoted to flatware, beginning with “the most complete list of flat silver possible in a perfectly equipped house includes the following articles,” then proceeding to list 19 different utensils including an orange spoon and after-dinner coffee spoon. It’s crazy to think that so much importance was once placed on silverware, an item that many people don’t even register for today. Interested in hearing more outdated rules of entertaining? Read on.
Fundamentals of Menu Planning by Paul J. McVety ($68)