"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. "
~John Lennon


Friday, August 3, 2012

Table Setting

Growing up learning correct table settings, at home and in school, has not been of much use in my casual lifestyle. Many parties and get togethers were held at my place, wherever I was living at the time, but most of them were buffet style. Guests serving themselves frees the hostess to enjoy the event, as well as setting a mood for relaxation.

In comparison, my older daughter chooses large formal sit down meals, with occasional more casual parties. She knows the proper etiquette for the grander venues, so I am sure this graphic is not needed at her home.

My growing up years were spent in sparse circumstances, so the occasion of my first formal dinner is etched in my mind. My fiance was the younger brother of a man who was married to the daughter of the president of a platinum company. She grew up used to special holiday dinners and formal celebrations unlike any I had ever seen. My first Christmas holiday celebration with the entire family was for me somewhat disarming. The huge table was set with crystal salt bowls at each place setting, and more forks and knives and spoons than I knew anything about. So I followed the lead of my seat mates and tried to blend in to the formal setting, including a finger bowl. Fortunately I was dressed appropriately with my very best clothes. I was so nervous throughout the lengthy meal, I don't remember what we ate, just that there were so many courses and large amounts of food, compared to my lifestyle. I do remember the dessert. The final course. Holiday Pudding. The maid brought in a flaming dish and everyone clapped. I was the only one who did not know there would be a silver charm hidden in one of the pieces, and I enjoyed the whole ceremony of Christmas Holiday Pudding.

12 comments:

Ms. A said...

We never used a formal setting when I was growing up. I learned it in school, dined at a few formal dinners where formal settings were used, but have never done it in my home, ever.

Shammickite said...

I don't own enough knives and forks and spoons to attempt a formal place setting, and I don't know any people posh enough to know how to deal with all those different pieces of cutlery anyway! Never heard of Holiday Pudding.... is it Christmas Pudding? My mum used to make Christmas Pudding and it always had money hidden in it.

LL Cool Joe said...

I have been to many a posh party with my partner over the years, because of work, but I'd never be that formal in my own home, although we do set the table once a year on New Year's Eve.

Stephen Hayes said...

Thanks for the instructional post. I grew up with just the knife, fork and spoon, but Mrs. Chatterbox was an Army brat ,the child of a high-ranking officer, and she knew all about a formal table settings. She gave me a proper education on silverware and table manners. But I have always insisted on picking up fried chicken--and I don't care what she says!

Abby said...

Well now THAT's a setting! From my own growing up years, I mainly remember getting out the good dishes and silverware for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. As a teen, I worked in a restaurant and occassionally had to do the fancy banquet settings.

These days, we like to keep it casual. I wonder if I should school my sons better! In case they're ever at a dinner like the one you described.

bill lisleman said...

I am much more interested in the taste than appearance. Paper plates are fine with me. Oh, one more thing - where does the beer pint glass go?

Cheryl said...

I remember my mother setting the table on special occasions (probably Thanksgiving and Christmas) with her wedding china, beautiful roses on the plates and edged with gold. She would use delicate green goblets and her wedding flatware. I always felt extra special on those occasions. I am more a paper plate type of gal myself but occasionally can "set" a good table!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Growing up, we didn't own enough matching forks and knives for a big family gathering but that didn't stop us for getting together to celebrate the holidays "in style", meaning we dressed up and got to have dessert. This is a sweet reminder of days gone by. Thanks.

I'm a big "table-setter" and like to entertain so I have a fairly good idea of this fancy table setting but I prefer to keep things slightly more simple. But making Holiday Pudding is tempting... I've never done that before.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Brian Miller said...

it was only holidays that the fine china was broken out...there was def mystery to it growing up because mom kept them in a special cabinet and would in preparation take them out or unwrap them...we knew it was something special...

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I get confused by all those utensils and glasses. But I do love the holiday pudding tradition.

Hilary said...

My son's girlfriend had a modern and quick-thinking solution to trying to figure out which glass was hers and which was my son's at the wedding we attended on the weekend. I figured that the bread plate was on the left of the setting and the drinking glasses on the right but everything appeared just a little out of sync in their placement and I began to doubt what I thought I knew. Her eyes lit up and within seconds, she confirmed what I thought. How? She Googled it on her phone. Bright girl!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I still refer to my cookbook, Fanny Farmer, and look to make sure I'm setting the table right!