Dishes offered to a guest are passed to the left of the guest; other dishes are placed to the right of a guest, except when a plate is placed at the same time a soiled or served plate is removed,--it is then placed at the left. Plates are removed from the right when possible.
When the Russian style of serving is observed, the following plan of removing and placing plates at the close of a course is followed:
The maid carries the clean or served plate of the following course in her right hand and goes to the left of the guest. She removes the soiled plate of the course just concluded with her left hand and then places the empty or served plate before the guest with her right hand. She then goes to the kitchen or pantry with the soiled plate, returns with a clean or served plate, and proceeds as before.
In following the English style in serving plates, the maid first places the dish to be served (the platter of meat, for example) in front of the host. Then an empty plate is placed before the host. The maid then gets another clean plate, returns to the left of the host, takes up the served plate in her left hand, and places the empty plate before him. She then places the served plate before one of the guests from the right side. Again she goes to the left of the host, places a plate before him, and proceeds as before.
At the end of a course, remove the dishes of each cover, then such dishes as the platters and tureens, and finally the crumbs. All dishes belonging to a particular course should be removed at the end of that course. Soiled dishes are always unsightly; hence care should be taken to remove them in the neatest way. Plates should not be piled on top of one another. When the dinner plate, the bread-and-butter plate, and the side dishes are to be removed, the smaller dishes (bread-and-butter plates and side dishes) should be removed on the serving tray. The larger plates may be removed one at a time, and an empty or service plate may be put in the place of each. If no empty or service plate is to be placed for the next course, two soiled plates may be removed at the same time, one in each hand.
USE OF THE BUFFET AND SERVING TABLE.--Many dining rooms have both a buffet and serving table. When such is the case the serving table is used for holding the dishes and foods that are used in serving the meal, such as dessert plates, creamer and sugar, plate of bread, etc.; the buffet is used for holding dishes that are used occasionally, such as the coffee service, chafing dish, etc.
Accidents at the table may be quickly remedied, if extra silver and a soft (i.e. unfolded) napkin are placed on the serving table before the meal is announced.
USE OF THE SERVING TRAY.--The serving tray should be used for carrying all silver. It should also be used for small dishes, such as preserves, olives, sauces, and for the creamer and sugar, and the cups and saucers. In passing large dishes, such as plates, platters, and tureens, use a folded napkin underneath the dishes instead of a tray.
REMOVING THE CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE.--For a table with a cloth, the crumb tray and scraper, or better, a plate and folded napkin are used to remove the crumbs. A brush is not desirable for "crumbing" the table. For a table without a cloth, the folded napkin and plate are used. The table may be crumbed before and after the salad course or before the dessert course.
USE OF FINGER BOWLS.--Finger bowls are used after the fruit course of breakfast, and at the end of a luncheon or dinner. They should be placed on plates, with a doily between the plate and finger bowl.
For breakfast, the finger bowls and plates may be brought in first. The finger bowl and doily should be removed to the left so that the same plates may be used for the fruit course.
For formal luncheon or dinner, finger bowls on doilies and plates are brought in, one at a time, when removing the main dish of the dessert. The finger bowls and doilies are then set aside and the plate used for bonbons and nuts, which are passed on a tray.