1: Festive Occasions
In the ‘season’ from October to March, wealthy burghers and upper classes spend a large amount of time giving dinners and balls, and accepting invitations to similar events.
The housewife would perform a full-time job to control a household’s festivities but, obviously, she’d look after the general household too. She wouldn’t do this alone: in an average upper-class household there’d be a cook, one or two maids, and, possibly, a coachman. The servants would have to work hard in order too keep the residence presentable, always overseen by their mistress.
It was up to the lady of the house to arrange the season’s festivity and make sure that nobody in the family’s circle was overlooked. To do this she’d have to keep strict accounts of every party, who was invited, what food was served, on what date the event took place, and sometimes the seating order. She’d also keep books regarding invitations, and other events, like theatre evenings etc.
At dinner parties the number of guests could vary from three to twenty or more. Gentlemen’s dinners would have fewer participants to allow an intimate atmosphere. In most families the close family would figure in most invitation lists, but it was also important to include such people as political contacts, cultural personalities, and or colleagues.
It wasn’t unusual to invite between fifty and sixty guests for balls.
All in all, around hundred to two hundred persons from perhaps ninety-five different families would be represented during a ‘season’.
Below I have entered examples of menus for festive occasions.
Menu with wines
Pike White Wine (Rhone, Bourgogne, Rhein)
Cutlets with vegetables Red Wine (decanted)
Cheese Red Wine
Ice cream Madeira, Port
Dessert (Pralines, Marzipan) Tokay
Menu with wines
Oysters Sparkling White Wine
Soup w egg dumplings
Fish rolls in lobster sauce Sparkling White Wine
Fillet of Beef with Tomatoes Champagne/Bourgogne
Cauliflower Gratin Champagne/Bourgogne
Pineapple Blanc Mange Madeira, Tokay
Fresh Fruit Madeira, Tokay
SOUPER AT BALLS
Buffet with Champagne
Croustades Champagne (sweet)
Rice a la mande
smoked eel with scrambled eggs
honey-roasted ham, rolled sausage
liver pâté with fried mushrooms and bacon
cheeses: Havarti, Camembert, Samsø, Gammel-Ole