I’m reading The Greedy Queen by Annie Gray. Gray talks about a dining style called à la Russe in the Victorian age, and she says:
The upper middle classes were the first to really embrace service à la Russe, which was easy to manage, simple to understand, but could be rendered delightfully difficult in practice. A few judicious customs around the ‘correct’ way to handle your fruit fork could be invented which were unique to each family or group, and enabled people to make those all-important judgements about others which litter Victorian literature and filled the pages of magazines.
One thing I understand about this paragraph is that this dining style was a writing material for Victorian literature and magazines. But the rest of it seems confusing and contradictory to me. Firstly, if it is difficult in practice, how can it be easy to manage? What does she mean by “delightfully difficult”? And “judicious” seems to be a positive term, but the tone of the author doesn’t sound approving. Is this part saying that people (each family or group) all have different understandings about the customs of à la Russe, they all think they are doing it right and criticize other people for doing it wrong? Can anybody explain her ideas for me?