Author Topic: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts  (Read 7437 times)

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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2013, 03:48:58 PM »
A funny story about dessert.  Not so funny for my Aunt, at the time, mind you, but funny in the retelling.

My maternal grandmother passed away quite young.  Her oldest daughter, my Aunt, quit highschool to look after the household.  She would make dessert for supper and there would be half of it left and she would plan on it being dessert the next night, too.  But when my Uncle and my Mom got home from school, feeling a bit peckish, they'd dig in.  So my Aunt started hiding the leftover dessert.  Uncle and Mom would arrive home and Uncle would say, 'You make the tea; I'll find the cake!'  Aunt hid in the washing machine one time.

She'd get so mad that there wasn't enough dessert left for supper.  I think it was solved by my Uncle and my Mom not getting any and everyone else splitting what was left.
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Sophia

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2013, 05:51:16 PM »
That reminds me of one of the Rockwell Thanksgiving illustrations.  It shows the adults sitting around the dining table all proper with the proper dining utensils.  And a boy standing up and he has just grabbed some food from the table and it is on the way to his mouth.  As if it was normal for the kids to not be allowed to sit while eating.

Iris

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2013, 07:30:33 PM »
Although I wasn't born anywhere near the '40s, my Grandmother had depression/WW2-era mentality and still made her pie crusts with lard. Desserts were a rare treat but we all got them, unless it were a trifle or something else with sherry. Even then, she usually made a kids version that we could eat. I remember growing up and having trifle with sherry for the very first time. I was SO disappointed - I greatly preferred the 'kid's' trifle (I still do if I'm honest).

OTOH my DD2 does react badly to some rich and sugary foods, especially near bedtime, so if we ate dessert I probably wouldn't let her have some. I would almost certainly set aside a small slice for her to enjoy for morning tea or something the next day, though.
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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2013, 09:59:23 PM »
My mom was born in 1931. In her family, the larger meal was served mid day and included some type of dessert. The lighter evening "supper" did not include dessert specific dessert but some one might have a piece of left over pie, or make their own dessert of cornbread crumbled with sweet milk or chocolate "gravy" topping the mornings left over biscuits.

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2013, 10:17:55 PM »
That reminds me of one of the Rockwell Thanksgiving illustrations.  It shows the adults sitting around the dining table all proper with the proper dining utensils.  And a boy standing up and he has just grabbed some food from the table and it is on the way to his mouth.  As if it was normal for the kids to not be allowed to sit while eating.

We have a family photo album (of a branch of the family that NO ONE remembers knowing. They're fairy old, so i assume they are relatives of my great grandmother's and she just hasn't "clicked" on who they are in so long that she's forgotten. :( ) One is a picture of a holiday meal where the adults are all gathered around the table all dressed to the nines, with two of the ladies in jewelry and makeup balancing small kids on their lap, and a bunch of kids crowded on a loveseat at one end of the table. The only children on a chair are "the twins" (Who are the only ones we don't know the names of. Everyone else is labeled in these albums, but these two, a boy and a girl, who are always seated or standing together and labeled "The Twins" We have pictures of them from toddler age to teenage, at which point they just... disappear i guess. No more pictures of them.) each perched on half the chair seat and grinning devilishly at the camera.

Its assumed (among us) that they didn't have enough chairs and someone dragged a couch in. But none of the kids look like they are unwelcome, everyone is smiling and laughing and at ease. (which is a bit weird, other than the twins every other picture has solomn faces or careful, "portrait" smiles. The twins are always grinning.)

Its really a lovely picture. I just wish we knew them. I need to remember to ask my aunt for a copy of it next time we visit.

cicero

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2013, 01:28:33 AM »
The announcer asked the listeners to remember how terrible they had felt as children when their families had served dessert at meals but had not allowed them (as children) to eat it.  Well, of course, he suggested that the listeners buy his brand of gelatin dessert because they could serve it to every member of their families, even their children.

Based on the OP it sounds like the company is referring to desserts that were not children friendly ( I'm thinking soaked in booze). However, i am also thinking there may have been occasions where children were allowed to join the adults for dinner but sent to bed before dessert as it was too late or that they were served a different meal altogether in the kitchen. I'm not thinking of an everyday occurrence but a special occasion.

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Figgie

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2013, 01:42:15 PM »
When I was a kid, it was pretty common for children to be fed an early supper and for the adults to eat after the children were in bed.  And generally, the adults didn't eat the same food that was served to the children. :)

Desserts were for special occasions and considered to be too rich for children to have before bedtime.  Adult lives when I was growing up, had a great deal more separation between the adult events and children/adult events.  If my parents had a party, we didn't attend because it was an adult party.  We also weren't allowed to eat any of the party food, as it was for the guests, not us kids. :)

And for those parties (very casual) where children were invited along with adults, it was fairly typical to serve the adults something like steak and the children burgers and hotdogs.  It really wasn't so much a money saving measure, but a belief that rich food wasn't good for children's tummies.  None of us kids ever resented it and if we asked, we were told that when we were adults, then we would be able to eat/drink the things that adults did. :)

Thipu1

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2013, 10:59:06 AM »
Something like this often happens at family gatherings.  The children almost always eat the same food as the adults but they're fed earlier so they can go play while the grown-ups can enjoy a fairly quiet meal. 

At more formal meals such as Thanksgiving, there's a children's table.  However, it's in the same area of the adult table and the parents often fix plates for their children. 

In Jane and Michael Stern's 'Square Meals' there's a chapter on children's food in the early part of the 20th century.  Food was supposed to build kids up and was often surprisingly rich. 

mbbored

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2013, 12:19:51 PM »
Although I wasn't born anywhere near the '40s, my Grandmother had depression/WW2-era mentality and still made her pie crusts with lard. Desserts were a rare treat but we all got them, unless it were a trifle or something else with sherry. Even then, she usually made a kids version that we could eat. I remember growing up and having trifle with sherry for the very first time. I was SO disappointed - I greatly preferred the 'kid's' trifle (I still do if I'm honest).

OTOH my DD2 does react badly to some rich and sugary foods, especially near bedtime, so if we ate dessert I probably wouldn't let her have some. I would almost certainly set aside a small slice for her to enjoy for morning tea or something the next day, though.

Lard makes amazing pie crust. I have friends my age (20s and 30s) who buy lard just for their pastry.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2013, 01:01:44 PM »
Although I wasn't born anywhere near the '40s, my Grandmother had depression/WW2-era mentality and still made her pie crusts with lard. Desserts were a rare treat but we all got them, unless it were a trifle or something else with sherry. Even then, she usually made a kids version that we could eat. I remember growing up and having trifle with sherry for the very first time. I was SO disappointed - I greatly preferred the 'kid's' trifle (I still do if I'm honest).

OTOH my DD2 does react badly to some rich and sugary foods, especially near bedtime, so if we ate dessert I probably wouldn't let her have some. I would almost certainly set aside a small slice for her to enjoy for morning tea or something the next day, though.

Lard makes amazing pie crust. I have friends my age (20s and 30s) who buy lard just for their pastry.

I still make my pie crust with lard.  There was an article in the paper the other day that while lard still isn't good for you, its fats are a lot more monounsaturated than butter and especially vegetable shortening, which contains a lot of trans fats.

I buy premade tart shells for buttertarts.  I buy ones made with lard and ones made without animal products for the couple of vegetarians I bake for.  The lard ones?  4 or 5 ingredients.  The non-lard ones?  About 10, with a bunch of them being chemically sounding things.
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JeseC

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2013, 02:18:26 PM »
Something like this often happens at family gatherings.  The children almost always eat the same food as the adults but they're fed earlier so they can go play while the grown-ups can enjoy a fairly quiet meal. 

At more formal meals such as Thanksgiving, there's a children's table.  However, it's in the same area of the adult table and the parents often fix plates for their children. 

In Jane and Michael Stern's 'Square Meals' there's a chapter on children's food in the early part of the 20th century.  Food was supposed to build kids up and was often surprisingly rich.

My dad's family did this for the longest time.  I am quite grateful to him for finally insisting that his teenage daughter should be allowed to sit at the adult table, rather than with the little kids!

blarg314

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2013, 02:48:56 PM »

And for those parties (very casual) where children were invited along with adults, it was fairly typical to serve the adults something like steak and the children burgers and hotdogs.  It really wasn't so much a money saving measure, but a belief that rich food wasn't good for children's tummies. 

Which is pretty much the exact opposite of modern dietary advice, where identifiable meat like steak is considered much healthier and better for your stomach that the mystery/bottom grade ingredients of typical  hotdogs and hamburgers.

Iris

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2013, 05:15:45 AM »
Although I wasn't born anywhere near the '40s, my Grandmother had depression/WW2-era mentality and still made her pie crusts with lard. Desserts were a rare treat but we all got them, unless it were a trifle or something else with sherry. Even then, she usually made a kids version that we could eat. I remember growing up and having trifle with sherry for the very first time. I was SO disappointed - I greatly preferred the 'kid's' trifle (I still do if I'm honest).

OTOH my DD2 does react badly to some rich and sugary foods, especially near bedtime, so if we ate dessert I probably wouldn't let her have some. I would almost certainly set aside a small slice for her to enjoy for morning tea or something the next day, though.

Lard makes amazing pie crust. I have friends my age (20s and 30s) who buy lard just for their pastry.

Well, her pie crusts are still legend throughout the family years after she is gone, so she was clearly doing *something* right.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

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ladyknight1

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2013, 09:46:01 AM »
Something like this often happens at family gatherings.  The children almost always eat the same food as the adults but they're fed earlier so they can go play while the grown-ups can enjoy a fairly quiet meal. 

At more formal meals such as Thanksgiving, there's a children's table.  However, it's in the same area of the adult table and the parents often fix plates for their children. 

In Jane and Michael Stern's 'Square Meals' there's a chapter on children's food in the early part of the 20th century.  Food was supposed to build kids up and was often surprisingly rich.

My dad's family did this for the longest time.  I am quite grateful to him for finally insisting that his teenage daughter should be allowed to sit at the adult table, rather than with the little kids!

I am against the "children's table" concept. All guests should be treated equally, and I resented being placed at the children's table when I was 18 and no longer living at home.

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Re: Historical etiquette question - excluding children from desserts
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2013, 11:21:10 AM »
As a child, I loved the children's table. I would sit with all my cousins and we would have a ball, while the adults sat and "talked" (how boring). At the same time, no one was barred from any of the tables (my fun loving aunt would often sit with us or move to our table after the meal) and any child who wanted could sit with the adults (and behave! No interrupting, state your opinions nicely and hear what others respond).

The only problem with children's table is when people are forced to sit there, even when they have outgrown it.