You’ve whipped up multiple delicious courses, procured some lovely wine, and your guests are on their way; but how should you set the table? Hosting the perfect dinner party is a cinch once you have read this elegant guide, Elements of the Table. Whether you plan to host or attend a formal get together, this book is here to the rescue!
Formal dinner parties are often intimidating because of the elaborate table settings they require. This charming and practical primer on dining etiquette will answer all your questions, de-mystifying the art of proper entertaining. With sensible advice and clear explanations, Lynn Rosen simplifies everything from table linens to basic etiquette. The book is separated into five sections: napery, china, silver, crystal, and table décor. You will learn basic rules for arranging silver, why you might need 5 glasses on the table, how to fold napkins in a variety of ways, why table cards are always a good idea, and how to arrange centerpieces. And perhaps most importantly, you will learn the top ten etiquette errors so you never make them again!
Dinner parties should be a celebration of great food and great company, but they should also appeal to our visual senses, which is why we adore the emphasis on the visual aesthetic of the table. The book is full of tips and ideas that will enhance the beauty and elegance of your gatherings. Also, since we are smitten with English period dramas like Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey, we found the historical tidbits about formal dining woven throughout to be endlessly amusing. Elements of the Table is a wonderful reference that you will continue to refer to, but you don’t have to follow all the rules all the time. Ideally you will master the lost art of formal dining etiquette and table setting traditions, and then incorporate some of what you learn.
Lastly, did you know that cocktails are meant to be served before dinner, while champagne shouldn’t make its bubbly appearance until dessert? On that note, we will leave you with the wise words of Mark Twain: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.”
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