As I mentioned previously, from time to time I will share tidbits from "The American Woman's Cookbook" (1942 edition) with you.
From page 80:
ORDER OF SERVICE:
In many houses the hostess is served first. This is a relic of the old custom of taking it for granted that the giver of the feast prove the absence of poison by first tasting of the food or drinking of the beverage! Some hostesses too justify this custom by maintaining that, when complicated foods are served, the hostess indicates to her guests the methods by which they can most conveniently serve themselves.
However, the custom of serving the honor guest first is growing, and many hostesses now insist on giving the chief guest this additional compliment.
The former custom of serving all the ladies first and the gentlemen afterward is no longer in vogue, for this method consumed too much time and delayed the service. Now guests are served in the order in which they are seated, usually beginning with the honor guest or the hostess and proceeding to the right.
Hmmm, usually at our house we just tell everyone to dig in!