Food historian Tames Alan brings to life her vast knowledge of the Victorian era. Does a formal dinner setting become a trial by fork? Have you forgotten your good manners? Come explore a time of forgotten elegance, when one changed into dinner clothes and chose jewelry to reflect candlelight, a time where setting the table was an art and serving a meal was a well-choreographed dance.
In this one-hour program, Tames will demystify the manners and accoutrements of a formal 12-course Victorian dinner. She will explain the mysteries of the table, from setting it and what each item on the table was used for, to the menu and what dishes were served with each course. Also covered will be good table manners and suitable conversation topics when in the presence of ladies, and how the formal manners of the Victorian age translated into the good manners of today.
Tames Alan is an actress, historian, and fashion history teacher who has combined her skills to create an educational program for people of all ages. In this program, Tames talks about what it was like to live and work downstairs in a late-Victorian house. With fifty percent of England’s population “in service,” the program gives insight into how this “unseen” half of the population lived and what went on below stairs. She explains the complicated hierarchy between upper and lower servants, everyone’s duties, the loneliness of a half-day off, and gives a lively account of high jinks downstairs that accompanied the long hours of drudgery.
With her wide knowledge of the Victorian era, Tames brings to life the people and activities downstairs. As with all her other Living History Lectures, a question and answer period follows.