|GR: Different levels of hospitality
Written by Line
(11/8/2003 9:27 a.m.)
Under ideal circumstances, sociability was engineered according to the rules of decorum. Dependants were to be entertained in the "common" parts of the house, obviously the servants' hall and the kitchen. Casual callers and presentable traders received tea from the common tea set, with an appropriate level of formality in the dining-room or parlour. Elite guests could expect to see the same rooms decked out in the best linen, best china and silverware, and behaved accordingly.
Of course, we still make the distinction between "everyday" dishes, etc. and "good" dishes, used for special occasions, but now (I hope!) the distinction is generally how well we know / care about our guests, not so much where they rank compared to us on the social scale! (I love the phrase "presentable traders". What made them presentable?)
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