Friday, October 2, 2009

Table the Issue

It wasn't supposed to be like this. I started out life as sort of a messy, carefree child, with twigs stuck in my bowl-cut and my overalls caked in mud. And I still like to think about myself as a fairly laid-back person (to wit: I sometimes stay in my pjs all day. I rarely vacuum. I enjoy beer). But I fell in love with a military man, and some part of that OCD seems to have rubbed off on me and sunk in real deep. And now, I have to admit, there are certain things about which I have become an absolute stickler.

One of those sticking points is the proper way to set a table. I know, you're probably thinking, "Oh, who cares, so long as there's a plate, a cup, and some sort of utensil with which to shovel the food into my gaping maw?" But the answer is: I care. And so does the rest of polite society. And so should you. Therefore, as the kindly hotel concierge teaches Julia Roberts table manners in Pretty Woman, so shall I do for you (just don't expect me to rescue you from that lecher, Jason-Alexander-before-he-was-George-Costanza.) But I digress.

If you've gotten this far into life without knowing how to set a table, it stands to reason that you could benefit from a memory aid or two. To know the placement of the utensils, as I learned from Emily Post, just remember the word FORKS. The setting goes from left to right:

F: for Fork (the salad fork goes outside the regular fork, if you are using both).
O: is for the round plate (okay, that one's a stretch, but I know you can handle it).
R: and to the Right of the plate:
K: is for the Knife and
S: is for the Spoon

See? That wasn't so bad. Nice try, Emily, but like most mnemonics, this one is slightly flawed: It leaves out the napkin, which goes to the left of the plate, underneath or inside the forks. It also can go on top of the plate if you are going for a jazzy place setting look, or want to try out a pretty napkin fold, but let's just stick to the basics for now.

Let's try another memory device, shall we? To remember the placement of the drinking glass and bread plate, just hold your pointer fingers out and touch your thumb to your other fingers. Your left hand will take the shape the letter "b" and your right hand will look like the letter "d". This indicates that the bread goes on the left and the drink goes on the right. This comes in handy at other times, too: I frequently do this under the table at weddings and fancy restaurants to keep myself from inadvertently stealing the bread or drinking from the wine glasses of my dining companions.

Now, as they say, you are all set.

1 comment:

Allie-Chat said...

Truly, your tactics are brilliant. I assume you've read Tiffany's Table Manners-my favourite as a wee.