Dressed vegetables, like hors d'œuvre, have gained rapidly in favour during recent years, and are nearly always included in a menu of a fashionable dinner. Their frequent absence from the family dinner-table is not easily understood, for they are a means of introducing a variety of dishes at small cost.
'Sweets.—When both hot and cold sweets are provided, the hot dish is served first. All sweets, whether hot or cold, come before iced puddings or ices, which, when large, are served in this course. Smaller ices may be served either in this course or with the dessert. In selecting the sweets, their colours and flavours should be carefully assorted, but there is such a variety of creams, jellies, babas, savarins, puddings and fruits to choose from, that little difficulty is experienced.
'Savouries. Savouries are intended to prepare the palate for the taste of the choice wines which usually follow a good dinner. And when they are not required for this purpose they are all the same most eagerly welcomed by the male portion of the guests. Colour is an unimportant matter in the small portions which usually constitute this course. A piquant, rather strong appetizing flavour is an essential in a savoury; and they are so quickly and easily decorated that it is an easy matter to provide a combination pleasing alike to the eye and the palate. They exist in an almost endless variety, therefore there is not the least excuse for having savouries of anchovy or sardines when these things have already figured as hors d'œuvre, or for having a savoury of cheese when cheese has already entered largely into the composition of the vegetable entremet.
Dessert.—Cheese is served immediately after the savouries, under the mistaken idea that it promotes digestion. From an artistic point of view the dessert course is an important one, for the appearance of the table is greatly enhanced by a graceful arrangement of the materials comprising the dessert. Any kind of fresh fruit may be selected, also dried fruits, crystallized fruits, bon-bons, petits fours, fancy biscuits and dessert ices.
Coffee or Café Noir.—There are three varieties of black coffee, so called to distinguish it from the coffee served with milk. There is the French Cafe, Cafe Turque, and Cafe Russe. Turkish coffee is the strongest of the three, and for this reason, where it is in daily use, small cups, about half the size of those used for French coffee, are provided for its service. In England it is adapted to the palate of those who drink it, but real Turkish coffee, made by a Turk, is exceedingly sweet, thick, and unstrained, and the grounds, which are as fine as those at the bottom of a cup of cocoa, are swallowed with the coffee.