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How to lay the table

Laying the table with cutlery / flatware

To use the right cutlery or flatware and set the table properly with the correct knives and forks is not really difficult and when you sit down to eat just remember to start from the outside and work inwards. The idea should never be to intimidate your guests, instead you will put them at their ease.


table set with Windsor cutlery


 Setting the table properly makes life easier for the guest. They will see a table which looks good and feel, quite rightly, that you are making them feel welcome. A well laid table speaks volumes to a guest.

Above is a picture of a place setting in U.K.. ( this cutlery design is called Windsor and is plain, simple and feels good tol hold in the hand.) 
Windsor setting with soup spoon and tea knife
This table is set for soup, a main course and a dessert. A small butter knife has been placed on a small plate to the left of the place setting. This could be used for bread rolls or later for the cheese course.


The diagram below shows the layout of a table set to include a fish course.


A place setting.

On the far right is a soup spoon. Then from the outside to the inside this illustration shows: fish knife and fork, dinner ( or table) knife and fork, dessert knife. Above the dinner plate is a dessert fork and dessert spoon. Glasses may be in a triangle or a straight line and napkin on the bread Grapefruit is eaten with a small pointed serrated edged spoon which should already be on the plate.

grapefruit spoon and dish
This little spoon is usually pointed and has a serrated edge so that it is easy to deal with cutting and eating the grapefruit. Click here to see an example of a serrated edged grapefruit spoon.


Melon is eaten with a small knife and fork or spoon and fork which can either be on the plate or incorporated into the place setting.

 If you are dining in a group of less than 7 people then you should wait until everyone is served before you begin to eat. If more than 7 you may begin immediately, before the food goes cold. Soup can always be eaten as soon as it is placed in front of you. Soup bowls should be tipped away from you whilst you eat and the spoon should scoop soup away from you. Serviettes (or napkins) should be placed on the lap and used for dabbing the mouth before you drink from a glass.

For roasts, one person carves using a carving knife and carving fork. They cut a few slices and place them on each plate which is then passed round to the diner. Everyone helps themselves to vegetables.

 Click here to see a selection of serving cutlery items.   These range from tablespoons to extra large serving spoons from cold meat forks to slotted vegetable straining spoons.  There are ladles for sauces or gravy, cheese knives for the cheese board, cake lifters and salad servers. All these items make the table look elegant and help your guests.

Finally add a small table decoration, for example, fresh flowers, to your table and you will be ready to entertain your guests.


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