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Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Book discussion: more Black Ribbon research
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ETA: Having a bit of a posting glitch problem, please bear with us.

I have a huge, partially-drafted backlog of books and/or texts I've read and meant to discuss, so let's have a couple now:

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These sound very cool. Also, a note on the dinner-ordering thing: I read a lot of late 19th/early 20th century popular fiction, and I've come across quite a few instances of people ordering dinners in advance. As it seems to have been a pretty ordinary thing to do--and because it's not terribly important to the plot--the authors don't tend to give much detail, but my impression is that it was just a slightly special thing to do. Like, you wouldn't order every dinner in advance--most of the time you'd just go and order off the menu. But sometimes, to impress someone, or for a special occasion, or if you wanted to do some kind of themed dinner, you'd arrange a special menu with the restaurant first.

The most detailed example I can think of is this bit from Shorty McCabe, where Shorty recruits a wealthy, cultured friend to help him order a special dinner for a lady. But that's a bit later than your period--1906-ish.

Also, the gilt china would explode when they microwaved it.

Wait. Is that bad, or AWESOME?

I worked in a historic house from the American Victorian period (the period of interpretation for the house was 1877-1895, closer to the end than the beginning, because the house got expanded several times and we did all the rooms). They had an East Parlor and a West Parlor, the former for more formal guests and the latter was for friends and family.
The dining room was where they ate. The husband and wife had separate bedrooms, and there was a men's guest bedroom and a women's guest bedroom. In this particular house, the West Parlor (the informal one), the dining room, the kitchen, the laundry room, the wife's room and the women's guest room were all on the same (west) side of the house, and the East Parlor, the (male) owner's library, his bedroom and the mens' guest room were on the East side. This always seemed to me (intentionally or not) a very neat illustration of the idea of separate spheres: men do the outside, political, intellectual work, women do the domestic, emotional work.

So, anyway, my point is that I think you would probably have a drawing room and a parlor, if you could. And one would be where you received callers you didn't know particularly well (or ones you wanted to impress), whereas the other would be for your intimate friends and family. And maybe the morning room for the wife would be where she received her friends, leaving the drawing room open for her husband's guests.
Also, as you point out, I think that there's a lot to be said for individual differences in houses and in families. I did my homework at the kitchen table, other kids do it in the den, or their rooms, or wherever.

Oh man, I've got Flanders' Consuming Passions but must check out the Victorian home one...

My birthday's not until Monday but I'm already considering any and all cash I've got coming as completely spent. I tried linking my mother to my Amazon wishlist and she was like "...yeah, why don't you just order what you want now and come the day I'll hand you fifty bucks?"

I knew this would be a mistake. Every time I read one of your review & discussion pages I have to dive back into Powell's and order another half-dozen books. You are driving me into bankruptcy.

Or, my left mouse button is. Could be either.

I kind of want to read the Dinners and Diners book now. Heh.