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How to Dine in Style: The Art of Entertaining, 1920

by J Rey Bodleian Library
Pub Date:
Hbk 184 pages
AU$29.99 NZ$30.43
Product Status: In Stock Now
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The 1920s marked the high point of refined dining, when silver tray–bearing white-gloved waiters circulated among guests and starched linens and candlelit tables were de rigueur. For the decadent class that came to prominence during the post-war period, achieving a reputation for throwing the most recherché dinner parties meant instant social success, and many an enterprising host or hostess sought advice in J. Rey’s The Whole Art of Dining.  By turns a collection of practical advice and a catalog of eccentricities, The Whole Art of Dining, republished by the Bodleian Library as How to Dine in Style, contained everything the would-be socialite needed to know in order to elevate food to high art, from tricks for putting together a proper French menu or throwing a garden party to practical tips on serving wines in the correct order and at the right temperature. Throughout the book are stories of astonishing excess, such as the search for ever-more-elaborate themes and venues, and the more daring of the book’s devotees might have been tempted to emulate efforts like those of the intrepid hostess whose mountaineering-themed dinner party had guests rappel to the rooftop of her Chicago home or American millionaire George A. Kessler, whose infamous “Gondola Party” flooded— for the first and only time—the central courtyard of the Savoy.  A captivating glimpse into the golden age of fine dining, this book will be consumed with interest by discerning diners and fans of the Roaring Twenties—and it may even inspire readers to try their hand at throwing a stylish soiree of their own.


1 The Dining-Room

2 How to Lay the Dinner-Table

3 Hints and Suggestions in Floral Table Decorations

4 General Rules to be Observed Before and While Waiting at Table

5 Order in Which the Guests Should be Served at Table

6 The Denominations of the French Dishes and Their Origin

7 The Art of Composing a Menu

8 Breakfast

9 Luncheon

10 Tea

11 Dinner

12 Supper

13 Ancient and Modern Banquets

14 The Lord Mayor's Banquet

15 Wedding Luncheons

16 Wedding Receptions

17 Ball Suppers

18 Garden-Parties

19 Picnics and Al-Fresco Luncheons

20 Table Manners and Food of the Nations

21 Remarkable Tables and Freak Dinners Given by Wealthy People

22 The Art of Carving

23 When Food is in Season

24 Bottling, the Care of Wines and the Cellar

25 The Correct Temperature and Order in which Wines Should be Served

at Table

26 The Uncorking, Decanting and Serving of Wines

27 Employer and Employee

28 The Butler and the Efficient Modern Waiter

29 The Maître d'Hôtel

30 The Pourboire or 'Tipping' System

In addition to The Whole Art of Dining, J. Rey was the author of Le Guide du Gourmet à Table.