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August 22, 2018
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Table Etiquette

“Darling What Fork do I use?”

Ever wondered?

Help is at hand!  For the next few weeks we will be looking at all the do’s and don’ts of table etiquette!

Nowhere in the world are good manners more visible than at the dinner table.

Good table manners are a necessary refinement which can be acquired quite easily. Once you know your P’s and Q’s at the table, you can celebrate the feasts of life, at events ranging from a buffet to a banquet, with self-confidence.

There are so many occasions where we can display our knowledge of good manners and etiquette – a family gathering, a baptism, funeral, picnic, tea party, cocktail party, business lunch and that formal banquet with hordes of knives and forks. Where do we start? Come on a journey with me. It is easy. Let’s celebrate life as if it is a banquet!

We must turn meal times at home into festive occasions. Lay the table beautifully, switch off mobile phones, chat with each other, pay attention to good manners and celebrate the presence of family and friends. There is nothing as enjoyable as a meal around the dinner table.

 

Origin

Catherine de Medici the Queen of France (1519 – 1580) is accredited with implementing Western table etiquette which is still used as the standard of table etiquette across the world. She came from one of the most influential families in Florence, Italy.

Catherine was 14 years old when her uncle, Pope Clement VII took her to France to marry Henry II, the son of the French king at that point in time. After becoming the French queen, she took all her Italian cooks and dishes to France. She taught the French to make Italian meat sauces.

The most important thing she established, however, were good table manners. She made the correct layout of the table with the placement of the glasses, cutlery, napkins and the classic white linen tablecloth an institution.

 

Extremely formal/black tie events

The diagram below shows that, in keeping with French tradition, the salad follows the meat dish. But this is not mandatory. The salad can be served between any of the other courses.

Make use of the layout shown here below. The more formal the occasion, the more cutlery is laid on the table.

This diagram above will be the most formal table setting.

A table settings can be anything between just 4/6 pieces to all 28-  It all depends on how many courses of food is being served as well as how many  choices of wine!

Setting:

  1. Name card
  2. Napkin/serviette
  3. Soup bowl
  4. Fish plate
  5. Meat plate
  6. Under-plate/service plate
  7. Salad fork
  8. Knife fork
  9. Fish fork
  10. Bread plate
  11. Butter knife
  12. Butter pot
  13. Pepper cellar (two little openings)
  14. Salt cellar (four little openings)
  15. Dessert spoon (oval)
  16. Dessert fork
  17. Red wine glass (bigger round shaped glass)
  18. White wine glass (Smaller glass)
  19. Champagne/sparkling wine glass (smaller fluted glass)
  20. Water glass
  21. Port glass
  22. Sherry glass
  23. Starter spoon
  24. Starter fork
  25. Soup spoon (round)
  26. Fish knife
  27. Meat knife
  28. Salad knife

 

Table Etiquette

Who sit where?

Placement of guests around a table for different types of functions

 

Semi-formal functions

When the guests are six, ten, fourteen, and so forth, a more modern approach is followed. The hosts do not sit at the head and foot of the table. The host sits in the middle of the side of the table with the hostess directly opposite.

In the above illustration, the host is guest F and the hostess guest B. Alternate your male and female guests. Serving the guests starts with lady guest G to the right of the host and continues in a clockwise direction. Food is served and passed on from the left hand side of a guest.

A word of advice:

Do not place a husband and wife next to each other at your dinner table or in a restaurant. Rather place them on opposite sides of the table facing each other.

At more formal functions, place them next to each other.

 

Formal functions

The round table

  • The host and hostess sit more or less opposite each other.
  • The make VIP guest sits to the right of the hostess.
  • The female VIP guest sits to the right of the host.
  • The rest of the guests are placed so that men and women alternate, but a married couple should not sit next to each other.
  • Try to avoid two avoid seating two people of the same gender next to each other.

 

The rectangular table (for maximum eight guests)

  • The host and hostess sit at the head and the foot of the table.
  • The male VIP guest sits to the right of the hostess.
  • The female VIP guest sits to the right of the host.

 

The very long formal table

  • The host and hostess sit opposite each other in the middle of the table.

A word of advice:

Never keep your guests waiting very long before seating them at the table.

How te eat?

Watch this sp Extremely formal/black tie  events

The diagram below shows that, in keeping with French tradition, the salad follows the meat dish. But this is not mandatory. The salad can be served between any of the other courses.

Make use of the layout shown here below. The more formal the occasion, the more cutlery is laid on the table.

Anne Dreyer

Please visit my blog page for more interesting articles

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With her warm personality and tangible style, she infects her audiences as she trains and inspires them from her personal life experience as a successful business woman, and entrepreneur.

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