Monday, December 21, 2009

The American Woman's Cookbook (1942) - Table Service - Styles of Service

I am drawn to old cookbooks at estate sales, flea markets and antique shops. I just can't help myself.

It's not recipes I enjoy so much, it's all the other informaton included in the books that fascinates me. Information on how to set-up and manage your household, table settings and service, daily menus, as well as party or holiday menus.

And my favorite bits of advice are how to be a good hostess in this new "servantless" era in which we find ourselves.

From time to time I will share tidbits from "The American Woman's Cookbook" (1942 edition) with you. The purpose of this is:
  1. to provide a peek into a style of life that is now long gone (at our house anyway)
  2. give us an opportunity to learn something new (old, I should say) about dining customs
  3. perhaps inspire us to do things differently in our own home on occasion
Following text found on page 79:

Styles of Service

There are three styles of service:
RUSSIAN: In this style of service all the food is served from the kitchen, by attendants. The host and hostess take no part in the service. No food is put on the table except the decorating dishes of nuts, candy and fruits. The food may be placed in individual portions before the guest, or may be separated into portions and arranged on serving dishes for each guest to help himself.
ENGLISH OR FAMILY TYPE: In this service all the food is served at the table by the host, hostess, or both.
COMBINATION OR MIXED SERVICE: In this service the main course is usually served at the table, while the soup, salad and dessert are served from the kitchen. Sometimes, the salad is served from a large salad bowl, and the hostess serves the dessert at table.

I vote for the Russian style tonight at my house!


  1. I love this cookbook and have a couple of copies, one being my grandmother's.

  2. Jill of all Trades, I love that you have this cookbook. Did your grandmother have favorite recipes in it? Do you?

  3. Not that I know of. I have so many cookbooks that I haven't messed around with it too much. I need to though.

  4. That's funny!
    In this age of Women's rights and feminist activist groups, I'm surprised to see this title pop up on so many websites.
    I believe this book is facinating and displays a great amount of details that goes into planning meals for large families.

  5. This was one of TWO cookbooks my grandmother kept in her Kitchen.
    1. ) American Woman's Cookbook 1942 Edition
    2. ) Watkin's Blue Cookbook

    The Salmon Loaf & Egg Noodles in #1 were standbys always used by my grandmother. She lived to be 88y.o. She died in 1990 & I still often cook MANY of the same recipes thjat she did for 70 years of marriage, raising 6 childfren.