Quirky Victorian Etiquette

First off, my technological problems are solved!! Yippie! Not having a computer for a few days really made me realize how dependant I am on it (even though I like to think I scarcely use it). As always, this thought led me back to thinking about the “olden days” before computers and cell-phones, which led me to thinking once more about one of my favorite topics – Victorian Etiquette (yay for trains of thought!).

Victorian Etiquette has become a modern fixation through movies and books. We are quite familiar with it, but there are also many quirky rules that have captured my attention. Today I’m going to share some of those with you. (Some of these are from the Edwardian Era too…)

Do not beat “the devil’s tattoo” by drumming with your fingers on a table; it cannot fail to annoy everyone within hearing, and it is an index of a vacant mind. (Hill)

As the [married] couple pass out of the front door it is customary for the guests to throw after them, for luck, rice, rose leaves, flowers, old shows, ect. (Green)

A bride does not usually dance at her own wedding, but she may join in a square dance I she chooses (Hall)

It is evident, therefore, that although a man may be ugly, there is no necessity for his being shocking. (Gentlemen)

If you have any defect, so shocking and so ridiculous as to procure you a nickname, then indeed there is but one remedy – to renounce society. (Gentlemen)

No lady worthy any gentleman’s regard will say “no” twice to a suit which she intends ultimately to receive with favor. (Young)

It lies with drivers to keep clear of pedestrians. All persons have a right to walk on the highways at their own pace. Dogs, chickens, and other domestic animals at large on the highway are not pedestrians, and if one is driving at a regulation speed, or under, one is not responsible for their untimely end. (Levitt)

Be careful not to be over-nice, or you will impress people with the idea that your life began in vulgarity, and you are now trying so hard to get away from it, that you rush to the opposite extreme. (Gentleman 2)

Some people prefer children to dogs, principally because a license is not required for the former (Graham)

The skin should be cut off [a banana] with a knife, peeling from the top down, while holding in the hand. Small pieces should be cut or broken off, and taken in the fingers, or they may be cut up and eaten with a fork. (Green)

-C

Bibliography:

Hints on Etiquette and the Usages of Society by Charles William Day (1843)

A Dictionary of Etiquette by Walter Cox Green (1904)

Social Customs by Florence Howe Hall (1887)

Laws of Etiquette, or Short Rules and Reflections For Conduct in Society by a Gentleman (1836)

Our Deportment by John H. Young (1882)

The Woman and the Car by Dorothy Levitt (1909)

The Perfect Gentleman by A Gentleman (1860)

The Bolster Book by Harry Graham (1910)

A Dictionary of Etiquette by Walter Cox Green (1904)

Photo Credits:

http://mistercrew.com/blog/2010/09/29/victorian-era-style-1872/

http://abedofroses.com/tag/bb-etiquette/

http://www.victoriana.com/bridal/prints/bridalprints.htm

http://www.victoriana.com/Mens-Clothing/mens-clothing-1868.html

http://cottageinthemaking.blogspot.com/2008/11/victorian-childrens-etiquette.html

Advertisements

Euro Sandwiches and Cucumber Wraps

Always the connoisseur of easy and quick, I thought I might provide you with another tasty treat after Sunday’s Chicken Soup. This time, for a light, fast, and economical lunch idea that even the kids will love, I’m going to introduce you to the world of open face sandwiches and cucumber wraps. Prepare to be amazed!

Tartine Open Faced Sandwich

Open faced sandwiches, appropriately nicknamed Euro Sandwiches, are a great way to show off your culinary sophistication in under 6 minutes. I’m going to walk you through the steps to making amazing Euro sandwiches that will leave both your guests and your family asking for more – more – more! Restaurants such as Le Pain Quotidienne sell these on large white plates; you can go casual or formal just by choosing your cutlery.

Firstly, the secret is always good bread. Find a tasty, crunchy-soft ciabatta, reliable French baguette, locally baked loaf, or sour rye. Use Parmesan toast (butter and Parmesan cheese, shredded, then toasted in a broiler) or cherry-hazelnut bread for a more exotic and sophisticated palette.

Secondly, spread the bread with some sort of condiment. Mayonnaise, guacamole, butter, jam, or salsa can all be used based on the nature of your open faced sandwich. Savoury or sweet, don’t be afraid to try sour cherry jam under turkey.

Open Faced Sandwich  But that’s not even all! Next, you’ll want to add some sort of meat. Cold cuts that you use for double-faced sandwiches will do. Turkey and ham are staples that most people will enjoy, and this is a great way to use old chicken.

And then, toppings! A thin slice of cheese, diced tomatoes, cut avocadoes, sliced cucumbers, apple thins, pepper strips, roasted pine fruits, pecans, and even sprouts and chick peas are all acceptable ideas. Match up a dijon with avocado and taste the interesting combination. Or perhaps try hazelnuts with that cherry-turkey combo I suggested.

From there, it’s whatever you make of it! For a more breakfasty style, go with a fluffy white bread (always use one with a stiff crust, since it will need to support the toppings without the help of the upper bread piece Americans are so accustomed to having), a jam with nuts and sour green apples. A dollop of Nutella, anyone?

To accompany your tasty Euro sandwiches, throw together some Cucumber wraps. These simple little vegetable groups can be made of the same ingredients used in your sandwiches, and are perfect for appetizers or colourful sides. Start out by chopping off a large (4-5 inch) slab of cucumber and then cutting it very thinly along the grain, so that you get a stripe of seeds.
Cucumber WrapsNext, fill these thin strips with pieces of vegetables (perhaps even meats!), such as strips of pepper, as demonstrated, avocado, pine fruits, apples, mangoes, more cucumber, sprouts… Add a dollop of peanut butter with a few raisins for picky, confused eaters.

If you’re having trouble getting them to stay in rolled-up form, try removing a few items and then sticking them through with a toothpick. They should stay for a while, and throwing one on a large plate next to a stylish open faced Euro sandwich makes you look like you’ve got the French bistro style down pat! If you used a jam, water it down a bit and spiral a large white plate with the new raspberry sauce, then put your minimalist, light, easy lunch down and amaze your friends! Serve with a cappucino or other beverage.

-A.

Photos Courtesy of: