Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers, by Walter Hoving

Clearly courting the doting-grandparent market, Random House recently released a 50th Anniversary edition of Walter Hoving's Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers. Hoving, a former chairman of Tiffany's of New York, offers readers advice on a variety of fine-dining conundrums: how to eat asparagus; the proper way to tilt a soup bowl; what to do with an olive pit. The book is divided by courses (Soup, Fish, Meat, etc.), and concludes with a catch-all chapter devoted to general behavior (“Some Don'ts...”). Hoving's most enduring advice comes in this final section (“Remember that a dinner party is not a funeral, nor has your hostess invited you because she thinks you are in dire need of food. You're there to be entertaining”), although useful—if dated—information can be found in the earlier chapters, too.

Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers is a a quick, amusing read, and Joe Eula's vintage illustrations are absolutely delightful. The book might even prove to be of real value for adults who need to formally socialize for their jobs, and wrestle with the question of which fork they should use for the fish course. Otherwise, this is mostly a camp item—and, at $17.99 for 94 pages, a high-priced one. Good manners are undoubtedly important (particularly in this age of texting at the dinner table), but most of us can get by without knowing how to signal to our butlers that we've finished with our finger bowls.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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