Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/530

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quently all the rest before: no two dishes of one kind going or standing together, and this will not only appear delicate to the eye, but invite the appetite with the much variety thereof." The foregoing description refers to the lighter part of the repast, known usually as the banquet, the dishes often being set upon the table first and the meat and game courses then served. For a family not too large, Markham says that sixteen dishes of meat and sixteen dishes of salad and vegetables would, if properly distributed, be sufficient.

Dinner and supper were usually served upon movable tables, which were covered with tablecloths of linen, often called carpets. The hour for dinner was twelve o'clock; supper was served at six. Wooden trenchers were still seen upon the tables of the rich. Pewter in its best form was a costly material, and wealthy persons often rented their stock of pewter by the year. It was, however, in its plainer forms, slowly working its way into the houses of the common people, hardly any of whom did not boast, at least, the possession of a few pewter dishes. Silver, gilt plate, cut glass, and china, the latter sparingly, were in use. Before 1563 people ate with their fingers; hence the frequent circulation at table of water and a towel. Knives were introduced in