Sunday, May 19, 2013

"On The Subject of Entertaining" -- Part II

Setting the Table.  The proper arrangement of silver is often a problem to the hostess who is unaccustomed to entertaining.

First of all -- knives to the right, forks to the left -- except of course, in the case of he oyster fork, which, since it is used with the right hand, must be placed on the right.

Spoons also must be plaed on the right, and all silver should be arranged in the order to be used -- the tool to be used first at the outside of the row.  For instance, if the first course be soup, then the soup spoon must at the extreme right of the row; if it be oysters, then the oyster fork.  To the left the dinner fork first, and the salad fork next to the plate.

The fork or spoon to be used for dessert does not appear on the table, but is brought in with the dessert on the individual plate. 

The water glass appears at the right, just at the tip of the knife.

The bread and butter plate at the left, just above the fork.

With white damask and solid silver, crystal glassware is in order.  The modern hostess often favors pastel linens with tinted glassware to harmonize, which makes a pretty table.

Candlelight lends charm to any table.  many of the best dining rooms are not equipped with electricity, which insures the serving of every evening meal by candlelight.  Several sets of candles in different colors will provide no end of variety to your color scheme.

Tips for Table Setting.  Never decorate your table with ribbons.

Pickle jars, catsup bottles and tooth picks likewise have no place on the well dressed dinner table.  Pickles and sauces, if you must have them, are served in glass dishes with small serving spoons -- likewise jelly or marmalade.

Place folded napkin, at the left, or on the service plate.  Fancy foldings are not in good taste.

While ash trays have no place on the strictly formal dinner table, the modern hostess will require them -- ladies no longer retire to the drawing room while the gentlemen smoke.

Table Decoration.  Suit the decorations to the type of entertainment, or character of the house, and remember that simplicity is always the keynote of good taste.  A bowl of fruit flanked with plain candle sticks is better than an elaborate centerpiece.  Flowers properly arranged, and in keeping with the color scheme are lovely, but should not be high.  Keep table decorations low always, so that your guests will have no difficulty in looking at each other.

Do not go in for novelty decorations unless the occasion is novel -- such as Halloween, Valentine or St. Patrick's Day.

Place cards may be placed just above the plate, or on the napkin.

Buffet Service.  Buffet service is very popular, for it solves the problem of entertaining large groups.

Again the table arrangement is the first consideration.  The cloth may be of damask, lace or embroidery -- or runners, if the hostess prefers.  Careful arrangement of the centerpiece, be it flowers or fruit, are its main charm.  Candlesticks come next -- or a candelabra may be used for the center, with flowers on either side.  Candles are not used, however, before four in the afternoon.

The coffee or tea tray, or the punch bowl, are placed at opposite ends of the table.  Plates filled with sandwiches, tea cakes, etc., are arranged down each side, with the silver and china needed close by so that guests may serve themselves easily.  Piles of napkins, too, must be where easily reached.  Guests stand or sit at a buffet meal, as they wish.  Bridge tables are often arranged for their convenience.

The Detroit Times Cookbook, 1936.

1 comment:

melissa said...

Wow! I'm new to your blo and really loving it. I was looking for just this info the other day. Thanks for posting and I'm gonna keep an eye on this place. It looks like fun. :)