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Wichita Falls Living Magazine

Gather Around the Dinner Table

One good thing to come out of COVID-19 is many families have started having meals together. Any family meal is important no matter if it is fast food on the couch or a homecooked meal served on a properly set table, but there is just something about the conversations around the table.  Hearing the highs and lows about each other's day, and what everyone is looking forward to tomorrow. 

The topic around my dinner table the other night somehow led to a proper table setting.  Setting the table is one of my kids' chores so they were interested to hear my rusty knowledge from High School Home Economics.  I decided to brush up and share what I found from realsimple and remember from my required school Etiquette Dinner.  Think of the formality of setting the table as marking the importance of family meals and a fun nod to the past when this was common knowledge!  It is okay if it's Chinet instead of China.  What matters is you are together and making lasting memories together.

 Basic table settings should accompany basic manners:  "please pass the salt/pepper/ketchup", removing your hat at the table, sitting up instead of leaning on the table, waiting to start eating until everyone is seated and thanking the cook to name a few.  A family prayer thanking God for His provisions of the meal and praying over specific topics important to your family is a great way to model for your kids we can bring everything to God in prayer.

Basic Table Setting Instructions

  1. Lay the placemat on the table. (optional)
  2. Put the dinner plate in the middle of the placemat.  The Plate should be an inch from the edge of the table.  You can use the first joint of your thumb to measure.
  3. Lay the napkin to the left of the plate.
  4. Place the fork on the napkin.
  5. To the right of the plate, place the knife closest to the plate, blade pointing in. Place the spoon to the right of the knife. (Note: The bottoms of the utensils and the plate should all be level.)
  6. Place the water glass slightly above the plate, in between the plate and the utensils, about where 1 p.m. would be on a clock face.

 Knowing how to set a casual table will come in handy when you’re tasked with knowing how to set an informal table for a get-together or a laid-back dinner party. Essentially, the basic table setting, above, and the casual table setting are nearly identical, but in a casual table setting, there is the addition of a soup bowl and a dinner plate. As a general rule, only set out the glassware, tableware, and flatware that you’re going to be using. If you’re not having a salad course, all you need to set is a dinner fork. If you’re only serving white wine, a red wine glass is not needed. And if there's no soup course, skip the soup bowl and spoon.  I still remember "solids on the left, liquids on the right" meaning a bread bowl would be to the left of your dinner plate and all drinks go to the top right.

Casual Table Setting Instructions

  1. Lay the placemat on the table. (optional)
  2. Put the dinner plate in the middle of the placemat.
  3. Place the salad plate on top of the dinner plate.
  4. If you’re starting with a soup course, place the soup bowl on top of the salad plate.
  5. Lay a napkin to the left of the charger.
  6. To the left of the plate, place the fork on the napkin.
  7. On the right of the plate, place the knife closest to the plate, blade facing in, and then the spoon.
  8. Directly above the knife, place the water glass.
  9. To the right and slightly above the water glass, place the wine glass or a glass for another beverage.

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