The following guide is a basic set of rules for setting
the table. It can be used for setting a formal as well as an informal one.
An attractive table adds to the enjoyment of a meal. To
set the table, you need a place setting for each person. A place
setting is all the items each person needs for eating. This includes the following
appointments (any item used to set a table):
- dinnerware (plates, cups, saucers, and bowls);
- glassware (glasses of all shapes and sizes);
- flatware (forks, spoons, and knives);
- centerpiece; and
- placemats or tablecloths, optional.
How a table should be set is determined in a large part
by the serving style. Every family has its own eating style. There is really
no right and wrong way to serve a meal, but there are three traditional serving
- formal, and
For the Foods Level C Guide, the family style table setting
is most appropriate. Food is either:
- passed around the table for everyone to serve themselves,
- portioned out by the head of the family and full plates
are served to each family member.
The following rules for setting a table correspond to the
numbers seen in the table setting illustration below.
- The flatware, plate, and napkin should be one inch from
the edge of the table.
- The plate is always in the center of the place setting.
- The dinner fork is placed at the left of the plate.
- If a salad fork is used, it is placed to the left of
the dinner fork.
- The napkin is placed to the left of the fork, with the
fold on the left. It can also go under a fork, or on top of the plate.
- The knife is placed to the right of the plate with the
sharp blade facing in towards the plate.T
- he teaspoon is placed to the right of the knife.
- If a soup spoon is needed, it is placed to the right
of the teaspoon.
- The soup bowl may be placed on the dinner plate.
- The drinking glass is placed at the tip of the knife.
- If a salad plate is used, place it just above the tip
of the fork.
- The cup or mug is placed to the top right of the spoons.
for setting the table
- The table should be clean; it can be left bare or a table
covering can be used as the background for the food and appointments placed
on it. A table covering helps protect the table and muffles the noise of clanking
glassware and dishes.
- Placemats or tablecloths can be used for special occasions.
- Choose dinnerware and flatware appropriate for the occasion
and that compliment the other table appointments. Match or blend colors and
textures in the dishes or contrast with something different.
- Use appointments that match the meal or food to be served.
That means, a snack can be served on a paper plate with paper napkins while
a home-cooked dinner should be served on attractive dishes to show off the
meal. On the other hand, party food may use the familys best dinnerware
and cloth napkins.
- Only the utensils necessary for the meal need to be placed
on the table.
- Put down the correct number of placemats or a tablecloth,
if these are being used.
- If there is room, serving utensils and dishes can be
placed in the center of the table or on a nearby counter or server.
- The centerpiece should be attractive. Simple ones such
as fresh flowers, a plant, or fruit can be used. If candles are used, they
should be lit with the flame above eye level. Be sure that the centerpiece
- low, so that people at the table can see over it,
- colorful and blends with the colors of the tablecloth
- fresh and clean looking.
Learn the following tips that deal with eating manners so
you wont be embarrassed!
- Try some of every food served even if you dont
like it or dont think you will.
- Avoid playing with foods on your plate.
- Ask to have foods passed to you, rather than reaching
in front of someone else or across the table.
- Eat quietly with your mouth closed. Wait to speak until
you have swallowed any food in your mouth.
- Take small bites. Eat all that you take on your fork
or spoon in one bite.
- Look neat and talk about cheerful topics to make mealtimes
- Pass food at the table to the right with your left hand.
Try not to blow on soup to cool it - it is not polite.
- Cut salad with a knife if the pieces are too large to
fit in your mouth.
- Use a small piece of bread as a pusher to
help guide food onto your fork.
- Break off a whole piece of bread or roll into 2 or more
- Leave your silverware on the plate or saucer under a
bowl when you have finished.
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