Proper Place Settings

The dinner table is the heart of the home, a magic place where moments are treasured and memories made. Family events, anniversaries, and holidays are all celebrated at the table, a place where children are taught, business is conducted, and romance is found, a setting that greets with a silent message: "Welcome. A place is prepared for you."

Place Setting

The importance of the dinner table

A myriad of traditions surround the service of meals, especially dinner. We dine in a designated area and sit at a table enhanced by the symmetrical alignment of dinnerware. Like a picture slightly askew, an asymmetrical place setting creates subtle irritation, and to promote a harmonious relaxed ambience, dinnerware is laid directly opposite the ware on the other side of the table. When an odd number of people are seated at a rectangular, square, or oval table, the odd-numbered place setting is aligned with the middle of the even-numbered place setting opposite. This is not to suggest that one set the table with a ruler in hand, only that the symmetrical alignment of dinnerware please the eye.
quotation mark open
All human history attests
That happiness for man,
The hungry sinner;
Since Eve ate apples
Much depends upon dinner.

- Lord Byron, Don Juan quotation mark close
 

The type of dining occasion determines where to lay dinnerware. At a multi-course meal, notably a formal affair, each course is served one at a time, and dinnerware is laid in the center of the place setting. In formal dining, side dishes are not used, cups and saucers do not appear on the table, and demitasse is served in another room.

At an informal meal, the menu is simpler and the courses are either laid on the table all at once or presented one at a time as in formal service. A meal served all at once requires space, and side dishes, namely, salad plate, bread-and-butter plate, and fruit saucer, are laid to the left of the cover. The left-handed person reverses the placement. Why are side dishes placed opposite the hand with which one eats? Because the placement of ware near the "eating" hand is awkward to manipulate and makes the dishes too close for comfort.

The placement of the cup and saucer is different for company and family dining. Because the majority of people are right-handed, at a company occasion the cup and saucer are placed on the right side, even for a left-handed person; this placement promotes a symmetrical table setting. The cup and saucer are laid to the right of the outside piece of flatware. However, at a family meal, aesthetics are not as important as comfort, and commonsense dictates seating the left-handed person at the end of the table where the cup and saucer are placed on the left (even though the other cups and saucers are on the right).

When hot beverages are served during a meal, such as coffee at breakfast or tea at lunch, the cup and saucer are laid on the table initially. But if hot beverages are served at the end of a meal, such as after dessert, the cup and saucer are brought to the table following the last course.

proper Basic Place setting

1. Place the dinner plate in the center of the placemat or place setting.

2. Place dinner fork to the left of the plate.

3. Place napkin to the right of the plate, and on top, place the knife with the sharp edge pointing towards the plate.

4. Place spoon to the right of the knife.

5. Place water glass or beverage to the right of the plate, just above the knife.


Proper place setting for casual dinner

1. Place the dinner plate in the center of the placemat or place setting.

2. Place dinner fork to the left of the plate.

3. Place napkin to the right of the plate, and on top, place the knife with the sharp edge pointing towards the plate.

4. Place spoon to the right of the knife.

5. Place water glass or beverage to the right of the plate, just above the knife.

6. Place a salad fork to the left of the dinner fork, and a salad plate to the left of the salad fork.

7. If you opt to serve soup, place the bowl atop the plate, right in the center, and place the soup spoon to the right of the beverage spoon.

 

Proper place setting for a formal dinner

1. Place the dinner plate in the center of the placemat or place setting.

2. Place dinner fork to the left of the plate.

3. Place napkin to the right of the plate, and on top, place the knife with the sharp edge pointing towards the plate.

4. Place spoon to the right of the knife.

5. Place water glass or beverage to the right of the plate, just above the knife.?

6. Place a salad fork to the left of the dinner fork, and a salad plate to the left of the salad fork.

7. If you opt to serve soup, place the bowl atop the plate, right in the center, and place the soup spoon to the right of the beverage spoon.

8. Place wine glass to the left of the water glass.

9. When serving dessert, both the plate and the dessert spoon or fork can be brought out once dinner has been cleared to avoid an over-crowded table.

Bon appetit!

 

 

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Comments

Comments on "How to lay dinnerware"

Ke May 21, 2010 | 9:10 AM

Do you have any favorite Italian Dinnerware you might use to put the food on?

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