Informal Victorian Dessert Course
The Victorian informal dessert course (most likely fruits arranged on a pedestal server with nuts in the shell scattered on the table) after formal Victorian dinners has always intrigued me. It seemed the perfect thing for Thanksgiving this year.
I’ve read that after a formal dinner everything would be removed from the table including the tablecloth. Then the maid took the finger bowls, (which had been previously arranged on a plate, protected by a doily, with rose petals floating on the warm water and the fruit knife and nutpick on the plate) and placed one at the left of each guest, removing her pie or pudding plate if she has finished.
Nut crackers and grape scissors are laid in convenient places, and when all have finished with the pie or pudding, the maid retires and leaves the guests to the informal enjoyment of the fruit and nuts.
Each person removes the plate from under the finger bowl, leaving the doily under the bowl, and uses this plate for the nuts or fruit.
I think it is a lovely way to end the evening and to introduce some Victorian fun traditions to the little plum teapot which is steeping Charleston Tea Plantation First Flush for Thanksgiving Day.
Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!