Day 24 - Setting the Table
Ah, the setting of the table. This sounds overwhelming but, hopefully, this lesson will help you remember a few “setting” rules that work for most everyone. First of all, we like to set the plates at a reasonable distance apart. This means not too far and not too close. If they’re too far apart, it will make it hard to have conversation and make it difficult to pass things to one another. If they’re too close, people’s arms, legs and elbows get in the way with each other. So keep this in mind. Now, I’m not going to teach you how to set the table for a fourteen course meal. How often does that happen in our lives? These are instructions for a typical table setting that would be appropriate in most any home, whether for two people or for a dinner party for ten. If you need more formal instruction, there are lots and lots of books on formal table settings that would be fitting to serve the Queen. For the rest of us, here it goes: The dinner plate is on the table, centered to the chair. A salad plate is set on top of the dinner plate. The napkin is simply folded and placed on top of the salad plate. The knives are set to the right of the plate with the cutting edge facing towards the plate. You may set one or two knives, depending on whether you have more than one course that requires a knife. If soup is being served, then a soup spoon is placed on the outside of the knives. The forks are placed on the left side of the plate, with the salad fork being on the outside and main entrée fork being closest to the plate. The way you distinguish between a salad fork and an entrée fork is the number and size of tines (“pointy things on the fork”). The one with shorter or fewer tines, is the salad fork. A water goblet (glass) is placed above the top right of the plate (at 1:00 if your plate were a clock). That’s it. Not so hard, is it? Look at the picture on this page and hopefully it will be clearer. Sometimes more than one beverage is served, which requires more glasses. Unique courses, such as appetizers, sometimes require different plates and utensils. However, this is a basic place setting and if you get this much right when you set the table for your family, I’m sure they will be very impressed. Now go home and impress your mom when you volunteer to set the table tonight, and she sees the beautiful result. See you next time.