Private Dinner — Understanding the social dance of etiquette—manners—occupies a vast realm of traditions, rituals, and practices, but nothing encapsulates it all as well as gathering around a table for a meal. Felix Pfeifle eases participants into a dinner party, to which he invites some of his own friends for their refined cultural knowledge and charming conversation.
The participant discovers the Western tradition of “cocktail hour,” the ritual of the upper classes over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. This is the hour in which, over a drink—whether alcoholic or not—guests greet each other and make “small talk,” that sometimes awkward experience of engaging others for light conversation charming enough to keep one’s attention, but not too deep that having to cut it when dinner is called leaves others with a cliff hanger in mid-air. The cocktail hour segment of the lesson, learned best by observing Felix Pfeifle, teaches one how to handle a drink and hors d’oeuvres at once, while in conversation, in addition to having a sense of how to enter a conversation and to exit it graciously.
At dinner Felix Pfeifle and his friends, drawn from the most cultivated corners of Los Angeles, regale participants with conversation of cultural life in California. Throughout, of course, is a lesson in example by Felix Pfeifle in how to eat everything before one, how to use the silver, hold the crystal. More important, it is incumbent upon every participant to challenge oneself toward contributing to the conversation at the table, for this is what guarantees invitations to the best tables in Western culture (not your pedigree and not your celebrity status, but your charm in conversation).