Napery reached an art form some time ago and 10 methods of
folding napkins are illustrated in the 1923 edition of the book.
Many of these napkin folds are still used today in catering.
obviously a very important feature to set the table just so.
1923 Edition of Mrs. Beeton's Family Cookery Book
Here are some napkin folding fashion plates from the
To make these folded napkins you will need crisp linen
for best results.
By the Victorian era, many wealthier households had open or
closed 'ranges' to cook food. These were labour making devices that needed
staff to run them. Such ranges needing feeding with coal and needed to be
lit early to warm effectively, kept clean and maintained.
By the 1880s, Gas was introduced into British towns clearly on
the map. Gas fired stoves gave a cook more control. Control in the kitchen
had been missing and gas stoves were the first real attempt to maintain and
control temperature. Even so, I find my 1923 the 'new edition' makes no
mention of cooking temperatures as such and so the best recipes to follow
are those that are cooked on the top of the stove.
However, you can still use the old art of napery as shown
above. Fold your crisp napkins into some of these interesting
shapes and create a talking point at the table. They are perfect for
special celebrations such as New Year's Eve, Easter, Weddings,
anniversaries, Valentines' Day and Christmas and other festivals.
Soft fabric napkins do not fold as well as sharp crisp linen will fold.
Catering students will find them very useful when doing
seminar presentations. It's also interesting to note how these artful
constructions are so very different from napkin place settings of the 1990s
and the noughties where simplicity has taken over in all, but the most
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