As I wrote Our Tour of Oak Alley for Tuesday, the post became too long to share in one piece. After breaking the post apart, I included the sugarcane farming information in yesterday’s What’s Blooming Wednesday #20.
Today we see the dining details I saved for this post.
With my phone battery nearly depleted before our tour, I grabbed only a few photos. There are more details I wish I’d captured, but we’ll just have to improvise.
In the dining room, our 16-year-old guide, Hannah, explained how they placed a block of ice in the center of the table under the fan.
As the fan moved above the ice, the ice-cooled air was swept through the room. Genius!
HH and I later discussed the ice factor. How did they get it, and where did they keep it? HH, the lover of all things history, said huge blocks were delivered by riverboat from the North.
They pulled the ice by wagon to the plantation site and lowered it into the ground – often in the floor of the plantation ice house. They covered it completely to keep it solid. As ice was needed, chunks were sawed off and carried into the house.
While standing next to a dining room window, I turned to inspect the window treatment fabrics (a trade habit). The lace sheers look more Antebellum or Victorian with this added pom-pom trim sewn onto the edge. So simple to do!
If you can sew a straight line, you can do this! (Even hot glue would work.)
The same goes for adding elaborate fringes to velvet drapes.
Looking closely at the table, notice the minimal decor. No linens. I’m sure at the time, these fine china settings were extravagant.
If we created a tablescape for this table, how different it would look! We would add a tablecloth, place mats, chargers, cloth napkins, and layers of plates. And, don’t forget ornate napkin rings!
Hannah explained what was hiding under the hanky.
A clear glass jar similar to my wasp trap was used to trap bugs while dining. Their version has longer legs on the bottom to hold it away from the tabletop. It works exactly like this one. Pour honey or syrup into the top to attract the bugs. The liquid runs down the sides into the trough, bugs fly into the hole on the under side, and they can’t fly out.
Mine had several dead wasps in the trough, so inside it went – to clean it out.
I placed it on my table to get a feel for the times. Since their bug jar was clear, they could easily see dead bugs inside while dining. Yuck!
Of course they covered the clear trap with a cloth.
I hope that helps give you a better idea of the Oak Alley version.
As everyone left the room, I lagged behind to get a clear shot of the room – and window treatments, of course.
Notice another bug jar at this opposite end of the table.
Did you enjoy our peek into dining ways of the past? Are you tempted to dress this table – in our current ways of layering?
As I researched the history of ice, I found a wonderfully informative article here.
Thank you for joining me at Oak Alley today!
I’m sharing this post at Tablescape Thursday. Follow the link for lots of fun!