I know when I set the table I get out a plate, a fork, and if I remember, a glass for everyone who will be eating. Occasionally; however, I like to get fancy. That's when I bust out my 17th edition of Emily Post's Etiquette by Peggy Post. The 18th edition is available for pre-order and comes out in October if you're interested. You can also go to www.emilypost.com. So in ten minutes (probably less) you can learn to set the table properly and even teach your kids. Here is the information from the Emily Post Institute for a basic table setting. (Click Here to see a formal setting)
For a basic table setting, here are two great tips to help you -- or your kids -- remember the order of plates and utensils:
- Picture the word "FORKS." The order, left to right, is: F for Fork, O for the Plate (the shape!), K for Knives and S for Spoons. (Okay -- you have to forget the R, but you get the idea!)
- Holding your hands in front of you, touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your forefingers to make a lowercase 'b' with your left hand and a lowercase 'd' with your right hand. This reminds you that "bread and butter" go to the left of the place setting and "drinks" go on the right. Emily Post could have used that trick -- she was often confused about which bread and butter belonged to her -- and sometimes she used her neighbor's! In which case, when it was called to her attention, she would say to the dismayed lady or gentleman, "Oh, I am always mixing them up. Here, please take mine!"
- Knife blades always face the plate
- The napkin goes to the left of the fork, or on the plate
- The bread and butter knife are optional