With my iffy background as a prefab schemie, it never ceases to amaze me how the other half lives, still more that I seem to be on circulation lists that consider me one of them. The one that regularly has me falling about is Debrett’s missive, with its etiquette tips and gushing sales jobs for Fortnum & Masons, Justin le Blank, et al:
“From apricots and artichokes to watercress and wood pigeon, July is a gourmet month, and our list of seasonal foods will inspire you to indulge in some midsummer entertaining. July is also a great month for fish-lovers, with cod, crab, haddock, halibut, herring, John Dory, lemon sole, lobster, mackerel, plaice, salmon, sardines, sea bass, and sea trout all in season. So now is the ideal time to indulge in some chilled white wine. Remember to serve white wine in a narrow glass, which should always be held by the stem to avoid warming the wine.
“Always try and eat a canapé in one mouthful, without overfilling your mouth or having to chew extensively mid-conversation. If a delicacy looks challenging or messy, politely decline and wait for something more manageable to come round. Watch your timing. Only tuck in when you aren’t about to be introduced to someone, or are mid-conversation and you’re going to have to speak.
“Never put something you’ve eaten off (spoon, skewer, etc) back on a tray that is still circulating. Equally, never double dip a half-eaten canapé in a communal sauce dish.”
I don’t know how I managed to survive the twin threats of social ostracism and starvation before now. And, of course, ladies: never lick any spillage off a gentleman’s cravat, unless only footmen are about…and then only if they can be relied on to be discreet.
“And there are still so many summer highlights to come, from Henley Royal Regatta and Glorious Goodwood to Glyndbourne Opera Festival and open air theatre in Regent’s Park!”