Whether you are throwing a grand soiree or just having an intimate dinner for your sweetheart, you should make sure to set the scene with a well laid out table. Sounds simple enough right?
But do you really know how to ‘set the table’?
All the different settings, different pieces of flatware, china, crystal… the different seating's for different events… It’s really enough to make a head spin. Ask anyone, I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to setting a table, (Everything in its place and a place for everything, I say) I have had dinner parties with easy take-out but have set a beautiful table and – it was magical!
Rule of Thumb: ‘Don’t save your 'special' things for that special occasion’, I mean honestly, how many of us really have that many ‘special’ occasions anymore? And what really qualifies as a ‘special occasion’?
Shouldn’t everyday be considered ‘Special’?
2nd Rule of Thumb: If it doesn’t go in the dishwasher, don’t use it. I don’t want to be standing at the sink all night washing dishes!
So if you want to do something right, always go straight to the expert…
in this case, Ms. Emily Post!
Here’s what the famous American author for writing about etiquette says:
Basic Table Setting –
I believe this one can be used for just about any dinner served at your own home’s table, but Ms. Post also offers us an ‘Informal Table Setting’ instructions and a ‘Formal Table Setting’ instructions. But, let’s just stick to the Basics here.
For a basic table setting, here are two great tips to help you - or your kids - remember the order of plates and utensils:
1. Picture the word "FORKS." The order, left to right, is: F for Fork, O for the Plate (the shape!), K for Knives and S for Spoons. (Okay, you have to forget the R, but you get the idea!)
2. Holding your hands in front of you, touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your forefingers to make a lowercase 'b' with your left hand and a lowercase 'd' with your right hand. This reminds you that "bread and butter" go to the left of the place setting and "drinks" go on the right.
Emily Post could have used that trick--she was often confused about which bread and butter belonged to her--and sometimes she used her neighbor's! In which case, when it was called to her attention, she would say to the dismayed lady or gentleman, "Oh, I am always mixing them up. Here, please take mine!"
Some other things to know:
- Knife blades always face the plate
- The napkin goes to the left of the fork, or on the plate
- The bread and butter knife are optional
Now, doesn’t she make it as simple as, well… Setting a Table?