Families with the wealth and social standing of the Tayloes entertained frequently and lavishly. Food for multi-course dinner parties and elegant refreshments for balls and tea parties were made in the Tayloe kitchen. In addition to preparing for such elaborate entertainments, the cook and kitchen help were responsible on a daily basis for turning out meals for the many members of the Tayloe family, as well as their friends and business associates invited informally to dine or drink tea. There was also a large household staff to be fed. Whenever the Tayloe family was in residence, the Octagon kitchen was the scene of bustling, non-stop activity.