Just the magazine cover alone makes us swoon! Thank you Southern Seasons magazine for the mention of our book on page 117 in your early Spring 2016 edition. As West coast residents we hadn’t seen this exquisite magazine before. Truly a feast for the eyes!
East-West-North-South, where ever you reside – the importance of knowing how to dine well is important. It all starts with the Basics of Setting the Table. Do you know how? Really, know how? Or, do you assume you have the skills necessary to set the table for any dining situation. Let us share a story with you. The person who did this shall remain nameless to protect their reputation. Linda. Oops. Well, it will be our little secret.
Linda likes to set her dinner table a day or two before the event so she can concentrate on cooking and all the other little details, such as mixing that Signature Cocktail for her guests upon their arrival. Since this dinner was during the week and most everyone had to go to work the next day, Linda decided to have a warm cheese appetizer with grilled bread and roasted garlic for a first course rather than to serve this during a cocktail hour. A small butter spreader knife was selected by Linda to use for this appetizer course. She set the butter spreader to the outside of the dinner knife. After all, knives are set on the right side of the dinner plate and diners “work from the outside in.” Correct? Well, yes. In theory.
In the meantime, out in the wild, wild west of her grilling area Linda had pressed the “start” button on the grill twice. Don’t tell anyone, but she can’t multi-task. Cocktail in one hand and a serious discussion going on at the same time caused this minor little mishap. Mr. Weber created a “fail-safe” precaution that shuts down the grill when the ON button is discharged twice in succession. Dang.
While guests were dining on the delectable cheese, grilled bread and roasted garlic, Linda had excused herself to check on the grilling chicken. Because of Mr. Weber’s fail-safe mechanism she discovered her chicken wasn’t going to be cooked at the appropriate time. She gathered up the chicken and moved them to a 500 degree oven inside the house to accelerate the cooking time. Guests dining at midnight just didn’t seem like an option.
In the meantime, she had to slow down the process at the dinner table. Her beautiful tomato salad that was going to be served as part of the main course was now going to be served as a salad course. When she went to the table to remove the appetizer plates with the butter spreader knives, she discovered her “oops.” Half of the guests had used their dinner knives and the butter spreaders were still on the table – unused. Only a couple of guests had actually used the butter spreaders appropriately. And the remaining guests had used both their dinner knife and butter spreader. Cocktails and wine will do that to a guest.
As the co-author of an award-winning book, “Which Fork Do I Use?” you would think that Linda would know how to set the table. Here is the lesson. Even an expert can make a table setting mistake. Yup, it happens. What should she have done instead?
Tip of the Day:
- Appetizer course – In this case, she should have brought the butter spreader out on the appetizer plate so that her guests would easily know what piece of flatware to use. And not a word should be said to the guests about how they used their flatware. Pick up the used flatware with the appetizer plate (as well as the butter spreader, if they had not used it) and bring back a clean knife for the guest(s) to use during the main course.