"When a dinner had been prepared by a chef who prides himself on being a decorative artist, the guest of honor and whoever else may be the first to be served have quite a problem to know which part of an intricate structure is to be eaten, and which part is scenic effect!
The main portion is generally clear enough; the uncertainty is in whether the flowers are eatable vegetables and whether the things that look like ducks are potatoes, or trimming. If there are six or more, the chances are they are edible, and that one or two of a kind are embellishments only. Rings around food are nearly always to be eaten; platforms under food seldom, if ever, are. Anything that looks like a pastry is to be eaten; and anything divided into separate units should be taken on your plate complete. You should not try to cut a section from anything that has already been divided into portions in the kitchen. Aspics and desserts are, it must be said, occasionally Chinese puzzles, but if you do help yourself to part of the decoration, no great harm is done.
Dishes are never passed from hand to hand at a dinner, not even at the smallest and most informal one."
------Etiquette by Emily Post, 1922©
I did not know what an aspic was so here is the definition:
aspic |ˈaspik| noun a savory jelly, often made with meat stock, used as a garnish, or to contain pieces of food such as meat, seafood, or eggs, set in a mold.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from French, literally ‘asp,’ from the colors of the jelly as compared with those of the snake.
I thought this was pretty interesting. I personally feel that anything on a plate, not matter how decorative, should be edible. You are eating a meal not just looking at it. I like decorative dishes but the decorative part should be edible or it does not belong on the plate. Just my thoughts.
There are two extremes that etiquette can be taken to. The total lack of it, that was discussed in the last etiquette post, and the obsession with it. Every one should display decorum, tact and proper etiquette. But those can be taken to extremes. Being snobbish is one extreme. Every one has the ability to learn proper etiquette. No one should be looked down upon because they do not know which out of four forks should be used first. Not being properly educated on the matter of etiquette nothing to look down upon them for. They should be properly educated so that next time the can use their education. Refusing to learn proper etiquette is another matter. If said slob wants to live and act like a cave man or woman let them. Just don't eat out with them. ;) You might me taken for a cave man or woman as well. ;)
I hope you liked you daily dose of Emily Post. (hey that rhymes)