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Post Meal Habits…

June 21, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Postprandial – definition: happening or done after a meal

-post-prandial-The etiquette of meal times has changed drastically in modern times. Many households have meals balanced on laps while watching TV or plates are taken to separate rooms. The latter mostly for teenagers, I believe. Obviously, some families still enjoy meals at the dining table but unfortunately it is not common practice. I think we miss out on real connections with other family members when the dining table is abandoned.

When our story is set in a particular era, details such as meal etiquette enable us to create the right atmosphere. Let’s take the 18th century as an example.

It was customary for gentlemen and ladies to dress formally for dinner, primarily because it was an opportunity to meet a partner. The host and hostess were first to be seated and the closer you sat to them the more honored a guest you were perceived as. Meals were usually two courses plus a dessert although upper class diners could see up to 25 dishes from which they chose two or three.

Once the meal was finished, the gentlemen would stand and wait for the ladies to exit the dining room. Leaving them to smoke cigars and drink such beverages as brandy and cognac. At this time the dishes and  tablecloth would be removed. The ladies gathered in the drawing room to exchange conversation and wait for the men to rejoin them for the evenings entertainment.

This sort of evening meal is not really practical now-a-days, with children’s activities, working parents and our frantic lifestyles but once in a while wouldn’t it be fun?

Have you discovered a ‘lost’ etiquette while researching an era?

The Pot Kiln, a quaint English Pub…

February 26, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Kiln – definition: a furnace or oven for burning, baking, or drying, especially for calcining lime or firing pottery.

Today’s word reminded me of a quaint pub I used to frequent while living in England. It was called the Pot Kiln and actually had a large kiln inside the main building. As this was some years ago I’m sure the owners have changed several times and the interior redecorated. As you can see from the photographs it is nestled within lush woodland with open fields to the front. Perfect as the resting place after a summer’s walk or in my case motorcycle ride.

http://www.potkiln.org/
English: The Pot Kiln, Frilsham Still just abo...

English: The Pot Kiln, Frilsham Still just about one of life’s ideal country pubs. A traditional bar with a stone floor and a decent pint and good grub. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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In our writing, places we have lived or visited can play a large part. Describing an English pub to someone, who has never been to one is not only a great ‘descriptive’ exercise but also enables us to see something, we may find common place, with new eyes. Details come alive when we use our personal experiences. For example I can describe a woodland with a carpet of bluebells as a lilac blue heaven of bobbing heads on pale stems. The dappled light caressing the blooms. However, the difficult part comes when trying to put into words the scent of the flowered woodland. It is a delicate fragrance, but the sheer numbers of blooms makes it quite heady.  This scent is mixed with the earthy undertones of the mossy earth and when you pick bluebells (no longer allowed!) the long thin stem has a slight slippery texture and an almost non-existent root. Remember that the richer the detail the more absorbed our reader will become. If we can ‘transport’ them to other lands or bring new perspectives to known ones, we have done our job.

Bluebell Woods

210px-Little_Chittenden_Wood_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1861070

Now Here’s A Challenge…

February 18, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Chitterlings – definition: 1) a ruffled frill on the front of a shirt. 2) a food dish made from port intestines: also, chitlins

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I’m setting a challenge today…if you so choose to participate. Use both definitions in the same short story or poem! I’ve pondered for a while and this is the result.

Dressed in ruffled frill

Ebony jacket and trousers

Paired with shiny shoes

A dashing image made

**

A classy restaurant

Candle-lit and romantic

First date, first impressions

Nervously waiting

**

Her shapely figure before him

A friendly smile

And chased kiss upon his cheek

Candle flicker

**

Menu’s pondered

Surprise at her choice

Chitterlings

Agreement to taste

**

Plates served

 Perfectly presented cuisine

Small bite tasted

Unexpectedly good

**

Her gentle laughter

And statement of soul food

Calmed his nerves

A great first date

Chitlins in broth.

Chitlins in broth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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