HISTORIA DE LA SERVILLETA

La servilleta que todos conocemos hoy en día empezó a utilizarse varios siglos atrás. Se dice que la servilleta primero fue un trozo de masa que los espartanos, allá por el siglo sexto antes de cristo, llamaron ‘apomagdalie’, era una masa cortada en trozos pequeños que enrollaban y amasaban en la mesa para limpiarse los dedos, esta costumbre llevó al uso de rebanadas de pan para limpiarse las manos.

En la antigüedad romana, las servilletas eran conocidas como sudaria y mappae que variaban en tamaño. El Sudario que en latín significa “pañuelo”, era un pequeño trozo de tela que cabía en los bolsillos y se usaba para secar el sudor de la frente durante las comidas en el mediterráneo. El Mappae era una pieza de tela más larga que se extendía sobre el borde de los sillones para protegerlos de los alimentos que se ingerían en una posición reclinada. Esta tela también se usaba para limpiarse los labios.

Esta servilleta, se entregaba a los invitados al llegar al banquete. Además de utilizarse para mantener la boca y dedos limpios durante las celebraciones, también se usaba para guardar los restos de comida y llevarlos a casa ya que el dejar alimentos se consideraba como una descortesía hacia el anfitrión. – Así podemos ver que desde entonces se usaba lo que ahora llamamos Doggie bag- que tal vez en esa época era bien visto pero ahora es considerado de mala educación llevarse los alimentos de un evento o pedir para el recalentado.

En la Alta Edad Media, del siglo quinto al decimo, la servilleta desapareció de la mesa y las manos y la boca se limpiaban con lo que había disponible. Con el tiempo poco a poco regresó la costumbre de usar al menos 3 piezas de tela en la mesa. La primera pieza de tela era llamada oucher que viene del frances coucher, que significa “acostarse” y se usaba en el lugar del dueño de la casa. La segunda era una toalla larga llamada surnappe, que significa “sobre la tela,” se colocaba sobre el sofá, parael invitado de honor. La tercera pieza de tela era una servilleta comunal que colgaba en una esquina de la mesa. Un ejemplo puede verse e La Ultima Cena de Dierik Bouts .

En la baja Edad Media, del siglo once al quince, la servilleta comunal se redujo a aproximadamente el tamaño y ya no colgaba de la mesa, ahora colgaba del brazo izquierdo de un sirviente. Si era el hombre a cargo, del hombro; si sus rangos eran menores en el antebrazo. Costumbre que incluso ahora podemos ver en algunos camareros.

En el siglo dieciséis, las servilletas fueron aceptadas como signo de refinamiento en un comedor, telas fabricadas en diversos tamaños para diversos eventos. La servilleta doblada se colocaba en la parte izquierda de los platos y cuando se terminaba el banquete se dejaba medio doblada sin que se viera las manchas de comida, en el lado derecho del plato. Era una creencia que si la servilleta se doblaba cuidadosamente al terminar el banquete, era una señal de que la amistad entre el comensal y el anfitrión terminaría pronto.

Y así es que podemos ver que desde hace muchos, muchos años perduran ciertas costumbres…

hasta aquí por hoy…

Hasta la próxima

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