Monday, July 20

Good Eating Monday: Table Setting Etiquette!

Not so long ago I observed an Air Force kid helping set tables for a large group eating event and saw he didn't seem to know to place the fork on the left side. Instead, he group the fork, knife and spoon together on the right.
I suppose, with families eating at home less, teaching the kids table good table setting etiquette is may sometimes be getting over-looked. 

With that bring the case, I decided today's Good Eating post would be how to set a dinner table properly!
Because a properly set table is the first step to enjoying a meal!
Which table setting method you use depends on the occasion and what's being served, though I'll cover basic, semi-formal and formal American table settings.
You might wonder how these table settings, particularly the formal ones, came to be?
Well, they largely come from the days of multi-course meals that were served by butlers and servants, where utensils were arranged in order of use and could be removed easily as each course was completed.

 The Basic Table Place Setting:
This is standard starting place for all table settings and consists of a dinner plate, a napkin, fork, knife & spoon and perhaps a glass for water or iced-tea. It's what you'd use at home for a family meal and it doesn't matter whether it's paper or glassware.

The Basic Table Setting:
*Dinner plate in center
*Napkin and dinner fork on LEFT as shown.
*Dinner knife and teaspoon on RIGHT, putting knife closest to the plate, then the spoon.
*If there's a glass of water or iced-tea, this is placed north of the knife & spoon.
Here's a way to remember what goes on right or left: 
*The word "right" has 5 letters. Knife & spoon have 5 letters. So all  utensils with 5 letters go on the "Right."
*The word "left" has 4 letters. So does the word "fork." Everything with 4 letters goes on the "Left."
Cool beans.

 The Semi-Formal Table Place Setting:
This setting is for when salad, perhaps soup & coffee are being served, so you need an extra fork & soup spoon.
This setting style might be used for a holiday meal.

Start with the basic set up: dinner plate in center, dinner fork & napkin on left; dinner knife and teaspoon on right.
*If there's a salad plate, it goes in center of dinner plate & salad fork goes to outer left of dinner fork.
*If there's soup, the soup bowl goes in center of salad to the left of the dinner fork & the soup spoon goes to outer right adjacent to dinner teaspoon.
*If there's a water glass or goblet, it goes north of the spoon set.
*If there's a coffee cup and saucer it goes south of the water glass and to right of the spoons.
The Formal Table Place Setting:
This is more of a banquet table setting for when bread, dessert, coffee and perhaps wine will be served. It's a common setting for  weddings, ceremonials, award dinners and so on. 
Whenever we've had an award meal event at the Officers Club at our local Air Force Base, this table setting is generally used, though without the wine goblets, soup spoon or dessert silverware. They just serve goblets for water or iced tea and a coffee cup & saucer.

Start with the basic set up: dinner plate in center, dinner fork on left and dinner knife and teaspoon on right.
* Salad plate goes in center of dinner plate.
*If there's a soup bowl, it goes in the salad plate & the soup spoon goes adjacent to dinner teaspoon.
* If there's a bread plate, it goes north of the fork set, with or without an additional butter knife.
* If there's a dessert fork and spoon, they go above the dinner plate as illustrated.
* If there's wine goblets, they're arranged next to the water glass first red, then white, if you're using both.
*The coffee cup and saucer goes to right of the knife & spoons.
Though this is more like guidelines for table setting, but the general principle is that dinnerware & utensils should be arranged in order of use according to what's being served & the occasion.
There's a fancier table setting for a 7-course meal, if you want to look that up that's just a more elaborate version of the formal table setting.
That's if for today! 
Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!


S Malik said...

Hi there. This post is actually quite helpful. I'll make sure to bookmark it for future reference.

Angie Ballard said...

I've bookmarked this so I don't have to Google it for every Holiday dinner! I can recite ALL the cranial nerves,can calculate 85% of a patient's age-predicted maximum heart rate in two shakes of a lamb's tail, but can NEVER remember how to set the table!

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment!