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Table Setting Etiquette



Tips on Table Setting Etiquette

Most people learn at least the basics of table setting etiquette when they are growing up. Still most people have no idea of how to set a formal table or what utensils are used for each course in a multi-course meal. The standard rule people are told to remember is that utensils are used from the outside in.

The troubling thing is that once you think you have learned proper table setting etiquette, you learn that the rules can change depending on what is being served. There are always some basics that remain. The first rule of table setting etiquette is that the meat fork and the salad fork are positioned on the left side of the plate. On the right side, you will find the salad knife on the outside and the meat knife on the inside, closest to the plate. The meat knife will have a serrated edge that will be facing the plate. On the far side of the knives is the soup spoon.

The dessert spoon and fork sit on the dessert plate at the top of the place setting. The fork faces to the right and the spoon faces to the left. Sometimes, however, the dessert plate and silverware are brought when dessert is served. There is usually a butter plate for the serving of rolls or bread. It is placed right above the forks with the butter knife placed on top diagonally. The serrated edge of the butter knife faces toward the table edge and the knife lies across the plate, upper left to lower right.

Wine and beverage glasses are placed in a slightly slanting row (left to right) above the knives. There are typically glasses for water, red wine, white wine, champagne and a brandy snifter. Coffee cup and saucer have a place on the right side of the place setting. The coffee spoon goes on the right of the saucer.

Table setting etiquette is meant to have everything in the proper place for the meal. There are also a few things people should know about how to use the items in the placement as well. The first thing you do when seated is to take your napkin, unfold it, and place it across your lap. Sometimes there is a finger bowl if you are having something messy, like ribs for dinner. Proper etiquette is just to dip your fingers in the bowl and wipe them on your napkin.

Eating soup at a formal dinner is often just the opposite of the way most people do it at home. You should move the soup spoon away from you to the other side of the bowl, instead of toward yourself. Soup is also meant to be sipped gently from the spoon. Most of us have also been taught to wait until everyone is ready before starting to eat, but experts say that if a hot food is served to begin to eat it right away. If the food is cold, the proper table etiquette is then to wait for the host to begin.


 

 

 


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