After you’ve chosen your favorite dinnerware for the dining table, it’s time to decipher between all those different utensils.
Dining etiquette was once a right-of-passage for young people emerging into the adult world, but these practices are often overlooked today.
An Introduction to Table Etiquette
Placing the Basics
For most meals, you’ll only use the basics alongside the main dinner plates. Base your arrangement on right-handed people’s eating habits.
Place the fork on the left side while reserving the spoon and knife for the right. Right-handed people easily reach for the right side utensil to cut meat or sip a soup, for example.
If you know a left-handed person will be joining you, simply reverse the setting.
They’ll appreciate the forethought as a concerned host.
Too Many Courses?
There will be times where multiple courses are served, requiring several sets of utensils. Don’t worry yourself about adding every fork and knife necessary for the meal.
Only allow three forks and knives to surround the plate along with one soup spoon. You’ll need to alternate new utensils onto the table as the courses are served.
Because each plate must be taken away between courses, it gives the server an easy chance to pick up the utensils simultaneously.
Simplicity is More Common
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the seemingly endless supply of different utensils, rest easy on most days.
Simplicity with a basic appetizer, entree and dessert is most common in any home. In these cases, you don’t need a host of various utensils.
Place all the flatware down as you set the table before the meal and you’re finished.
There’s no need to remove and add utensils for several courses because that’s normally reserved for more formal affairs.
Nothing Hidden Please
Regardless of the meal’s formality, all flatware should be easily visible beside the plate. Some etiquette professionals suggest a one-inch spacing between the utensil and plate, for example.
Space the utensils from one another as well to avoid stacking or a jumbled appearance. Visitors shouldn’t have to look for their flatware, allowing them to continue on in conversation at the dinner table.
Neatly placed flatware also adds to the table’s aesthetic, especially if the utensils and dinnerware match in design.
Where to Start
Whether you are hosting a meal or invited to one, there are frequent scenarios where you must remember which utensil goes with each food on the table.
A simple rule-of-thumb tells you to start with the utensils residing the farthest from the plate and slowly work your way to the inside.
Formal place settings are usually created by professional servers, ensuring you have the right utensil in the perfect position on the table.
There’s also no harm in asking the server which utensil to use. Everyone can’t be perfect all the time. Using the best flatware means being aware of dining table aesthetics.
Placing the utensils around the plate requires actual measurements for more formal settings, for example.
Everyday meals aren’t as complicated, allowing you to use the basic utensils as necessary while storing away the more specialized items.
You’ll be ready for that formal place setting anytime with the best dinnerware tucked in your cabinet.