Years ago, I went to a divine gala dinner. The ladies were exquisite in long, colourful dresses glistening with jewels and the men looked handsome in suits with bow ties. The room was stunning with fairy lights sparkling, crystal glimmering, light music from the string quartet, gorgeous covered chairs with sashes, elegant tablecloths with runners and amazing table centres. When I found my seat l saw there were 5 glasses in my place setting. This was daunting to say the least. I was instantly intimidated. I looked down at the flatware (knives, forks and spoons) and panicked. 4 forks! 5 glasses! I am not a novice to formal dining but I was suddenly very conscious of my table manners.
With a formal place setting it is easiest to remember to work your way in from both sides. If you are setting a table for a formal occasion simply take out any flatware that does not match the courses served. For example if there is not a cocktail course or a soup course being served then these items are removed. Your salad fork should be in order of when the salad course is served. Occasionally the salad course may be after the dinner (main) course depending on the culture and what is served. Make sure all the knife blades face the plate. That weird looking knife is a fish knife. They are not sharp and are intended to flake the fish meat apart as fish does not really need cutting. Line the cutlery up so the bases are about an inch from the table edge. Bippity, Boppity, Boo and you are ready.
Sorry the image is a little blurry. My technological skills are still developing. Click on the link to get a clearer formal table setting layout: Formal Table Setting
So often we say to friends “Let’s do dinner sometime”. With all the reality-TV cooking shows for inspiration, why not host a dinner party. It can be fun and a lot more relaxing than a restaurant. It need not be a formal 7 course dinner and besides if you are like me I don’t own that much flatware. We don’t entertain often so a small dinner party for 4 with an informal setting is ideal. Informal table settings have fewer utensils and plates. It is easy to follow remembering the working in from the outside principle, again. If you are setting a table simply omit any cutlery that does not match the food. Ensure all the cutlery is set with an invisible base line an inch from the table edge and the knife blades turn in toward the plates.
Again click on the link to get the informal table setting layout in a less-blurry format: Informal Table Setting