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manners MATTER Basic Table Setting Karen La Corte is an etiquette and manners expert trained and certi- fied by the Emily Post Institute in Vermont. She has been teaching eti- quette and manners to children and adults for over thirty years. She is also a certified image and fashion consultant. Karen is happy to answer any personal etiquette or image questions you may have by emailing her at G ood table manners begin at home. You’ll have fundamental rules set in place when you dine out in a restaurant or in someone else’s home. Depending on the type of dinner party you are hav- ing, you can set a table that is basic and casual to one that is polished and refined. This is where the fun begins. You can incorporate your artistic style and personal expression in your table by the dishes and silverware you choose, the linens that are selected, and the centerpiece that takes center stage. Your menu and the beverages you will be serving will also influence how you should set the table. Here are a few simple rules to help you that are timeless. • Use the silverware farthest from your plate first. • A fork is preferable to a spoon. • Forks should go to the left of the plate, and the knife and spoons should go to the right. • The salad fork should be on the far left, and the main course fork should be closest to the plate. • To the right of the plate, the meat knife should be closest to the plate (cutting edge facing the plate), fol- lowed by the bread knife, the tea- spoon, and the soup spoon. A cock- tail fork may be placed to the right of the soup spoon. This is the only fork placed to the right of the plate, the exception to the rule. • A small butter knife is placed diago- nally on top of the bread and butter plate. This dish should sit to the left of the dinner plate above the forks. It may also sit to the right of the dinner plate to the left of the water glass, if wine glasses are not being used. • A salad plate may be set to the left of the dinner plate above the forks. Or, if salad is being served to you, it may be placed on top of your dinner plate. • 88 BY KAREN LA CORTE The napkin can be placed to the left of the forks, under the fork or forks, in one of the wine glasses or water glass, or placed atop the din- ner plate. It is opened only half way when placed on your lap. Luncheon napkins are opened fully. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN • The water glass should be positioned directly above the knives to the right of the dinner plate. Bottled water may be served in a more casual atmosphere, however, a water glass should still be offered. • When serving wine, the red wine glass and the white wine glass should be placed after the water glass in that order. Glasses can be set on a diagonal toward the center of the table to allow more room. your choice of timing for serving champagne will dictate to the positioning of the champagne flute. • Food is served from the left. Beverages, and empty plates are removed from the right. • Soup is eaten with the soup spoon and crackers are eaten with the fingers. The spoon is scooped away from you, not towards you. There’s an old saying I used to tell my kids to help them remember: “As a ship goes out to sea, so I scoop my soup away from me.” I can’t remem- ber where that came from, but the saying has been in my mother’s house and my house forever. • Bread is to be buttered with a knife. The butter is to be placed on your butter dish first, and then butter one piece at a time. • Dessert spoons and forks can be brought in on the dessert plate just before des- sert is served, or they may be placed directly above the dinner plate, spoon handle facing right and fork handle left, fork below the spoon. Use the fork to hold the dessert in place and to push the food onto the spoon if necessary. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017