Trial by Fork: Formal Victorian Dining Demystified

Food historian Tames Alan brings to life her vast knowledge of the Victorian era. Does a formal dinner setting become a trial by fork? Have you forgotten your good manners? Come explore a time of forgotten elegance, when one changed into dinner clothes and chose jewelry to reflect candlelight, a time where setting the table was an art and serving a meal was a well-choreographed dance.

In this one-hour program, Tames will demystify the manners and accoutrements of a formal 12-course Victorian dinner. She will explain the mysteries of the table, from setting it and what each item on the table was used for, to the menu and what dishes were served with each course. Also covered will be good table manners and suitable conversation topics when in the presence of ladies, and how the formal manners of the Victorian age translated into the good manners of today. As with all of Tames’ programs, there will be a question-and-answer period at the end.

This program is suitable for middle school through adults and can work with audiences of any size.

While you’re here, have a look at a formal Victorian menu, with recipes.