5 Fun Facts About Historic Dining Etiquette

5 Fun Facts About Historic Dining Etiquette

At the Rose Villa in historic Daytona Beach, we’re not only fine dining enthusiasts but also history buffs! Here are five fun facts about historic dining etiquette you might not know.

1. Salt as an Indication of Your Importance

Before the era of place settings, an item called the salt cellar helped indicate the importance of the dinner guests.

The salt cellar, a dinnerware item used to hold salt for guests who wanted to further season their meals, would be placed at a specific location at the table.

Guests who were seated “above the salt” were noted to be guests of honor.

2. Knives Before Forks

Forks only came into use within the last few centuries. Before that, people used knives as their utensils — or simply ate with their fingers!

In medieval times, folks who wanted to be viewed as delicate used only three fingers when picking up the meat they wanted to eat.

3. Dogs Were Once on the Guest List

In the Middle Ages — and even back to the Roman Empire — dogs were on the guest list!

Owning a dog was a sign of status for nobility or wealthy folks who wanted to show off. Additionally, dogs were natural waste management tools since they ate up any scraps that fell from the table. Therefore, it was considered good etiquette to bring your family dog to a feast. 

4. Respect for Elders Mattered

In Western countries, the elders were seated in specific places at the table to facilitate both comfort and mobility. In Eastern countries, before you could start eating, you were supposed to invite the elders to begin their meal.

5. Historic Restaurants Have Been Around for Centuries

In the U.S., the oldest restaurant is the Union Oyster House in Boston, Massachusetts. However, records of historic restaurants date back centuries, including a restaurant in Madrid, Spain, that has been serving customers since 1725!

Show Off Your Knowledge the Next Time You Venture Out for Fine Dining

The next time you and your friends or family are out fine dining, show off your historical knowledge with these fun facts!

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