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What You Need to Know About Table Settings Slideshow

What You Need to Know About Table Settings Slideshow

Jane Bruce

It’s meant to be used to aid in picking up food with the fork (and before the 16th and 17th century, when forks became more popular, it was used with the spoon), not for lifting food to the mouth, or licking. When setting the table, place the sharp side towards the plate — some say it’s like saying f-you to your neighbor if you face a knife blade out.

Dinner Knife

Jane Bruce

It’s meant to be used to aid in picking up food with the fork (and before the 16th and 17th century, when forks became more popular, it was used with the spoon), not for lifting food to the mouth, or licking. When setting the table, place the sharp side towards the plate — some say it’s like saying f-you to your neighbor if you face a knife blade out.

Fish Fork

Jane Bruce

We'll start to the left of the plate.

It’s not just pretty to look at (or best for combing your hair like Ariel did in The Little Mermaid). Slightly curved, the fish fork traditionally has a wider left tine which is thought to add extra leverage when cutting through more delicate foods.

Fish Knife

Jane Bruce

Just because it looks more like a dagger doesn’t mean it’s for spearing your tomatoes, potatoes, or your neighbor at the table. The knife’s pointed tip aids in removing any hidden pinbones lurking in your salmon steak while the palette-shaped body acts as more of a pusher than a cutting implement.

Dinner Fork

Jane Bruce

The long, narrow tines make spearing a cut of meat — like steak, not your neighbor — easy.

Salad Knife

Jane Bruce

Now, to the right of the dinner plate.

A slightly smaller cousin to the dinner knife that is not to be confused with the even more petite butter knife, this knife usually features a rounded, blunt tip, sometimes with a little indentation, for easy spreading.

Salad Fork

Jane Bruce

No, it’s not the dinner fork for little kids or for those with small mouths (What, do you measure your dinner guests’ palates when they come in the door?) It’s the smaller cousin of the dinner fork because salads are often less dense than an entrée and easier to pick up.

Dinner Spoon

Jane Bruce

It was around long before the fork. With a larger, more round-shaped bowl (in some place settings, the bowl is round), the spoon is able to hold more liquid (without spilling) thanks to its greater surface area — perfect for soup. But sadly, it doesn’t stick to your nose as nicely as a regular spoon.

Dessert Spoon

Jane Bruce

Now for what lies above the plate*:

Positioned at the top of a place setting with the stem of the spoon pointing right, the dessert spoon (also called a serving spoon in the U.K.) has a capacity of approximately one tablespoon, is more egg-shaped than the soup spoon, and is meant to be used to eat desserts and cereals.

It’s not to be confused with a teaspoon, which is slightly smaller (and is to be used for tea and coffee).

*The dessert utensils might lie above the plate when you dine at a friend's home. In restaurants, typically the dessert utensils are not presented unless you do order dessert, so it makes it easy.

Dessert Fork

Found between the dessert spoon and the top of the plate, the dessert fork (also known as a pastry fork) traditionally has three tines as opposed to four, with the left tine wider than the other two. It’s again designed for leverage when cutting through cake and pastry, not for combing your bangs or brows.


How to Set a Table: Basic, Casual, and Formal Table Settings

Learn how to set a table, from a basic table setting, to an informal table setting for a casual dinner party, to a formal place setting for a holiday.

How to set a table used to be common knowledge, but in today’s fast and busy world, knowing how to set a table properly has become somewhat of a party trick. If you’ve been tasked with hosting a baby shower luncheon, an informal dinner party, or a big Thanksgiving dinner and weren’t taught how to set the table as a child, no worries, we’ve got you covered. Here are detailed instructions on how to set a table properly for three different situations, from casual family dinners to a formal holiday feast. To make it even easier, we&aposve included a table setting diagram for each scenario so you can easily visualize where to place each plate, napkin, fork, and knife. Bookmark this page so you can easily reference it as you&aposre setting the table before the meal—or share the diagrams with your kids and task them with preparing the table for dinner.


How to Set a Table

Set a Formal Table

To set a formal table, you'll need a table cloth, charger, dinner plates, soup bowls, salad plates, bread plates, napkins, salad forks, dinner forks, knives, soup spoons, butter knives, dessert spoons, water glasses, red wine glasses, and white wine glasses.


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Before the Meal

The only pieces of china that should be part of a table setting before the meal starts are the bread plate and a charger, if desired. A service plate (also known as a charger in America) is a purely decorative, oversize plate used to add texture, color, or pattern to the table. Chargers may be made of just about anything&mdashchina, pewter, and brass are all common, but even straw or papier-mâche will do.

Remember that food is never served directly on the charger, but a first-course soup bowl or salad plate can be set on top of it. The charger should be cleared along with the bowl or plate.


You use Windows. You use social media. But it’s easier to use your phone to type in emoji and kaomoji (what’s that?) rather than Windows, right? Wrong. We’ll show you the Windows keyboard shortcut to enable emoji, and what kaomoji is, anyway.

Windows Security is like an airbag: Windows 10’s built-in security mechanism should protect you without the need to think about it. But it’s important to know what each element of Windows security does, and if you need to make any tweaks. This is our beginner’s guide to Windows Security.


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Before the First Course

"Once you realize table setting is based on logic, things become less intimidating," says etiquette consultant Pamela Hillings. For example, you begin eating a meal by using the flatware at the outside left and right, and then working your way in towards the plate as the meal proceeds. Forks are placed to the left of the plate, knives and spoons to the right. Stemware is set above and to the right of the dinner plate bread-and-butter plates sit above the forks, to the left of the place setting.

Flatware should align with the bottom rim of the charger, a large plate, which will be removed after everyone spreads his napkin on his lap (napkin rings, often customary at family meals, may be used as a festive decoration). The water glass stands above the dinner knife, white wine to its right, and red wine top center.

"When more than four guests are expected, be sure to create seating in advance," says Smith. "Place cards are a lovely touch, or the host may direct people to their seats." And remember, if you're using place cards make sure you place them for your guests, but not for yourself.

Although it may seem protocol, both Lee and Smith strongly advise against setting a napkin underneath the forks. "It creates quite a bit of noise, and the occasional dropped fork as guests pull their napkins for use," says Smith. "The first thing people do when they sit down is reach for the napkin, and they have to disrupt the place setting to get to the napkin, which isn't gracious," adds Lee.

Also, remember to think ahead when setting the table&mdashif there are going to be toasts, Smith says a champagne glass should be added, and be placed furthest to the right to enable guests to easily raise their glasses.


6 Unique Ways to Serve Cookies at Your Wedding

How do you want to serve said cookies? Take look below for inspiration from real weddings.

Welcome Gifts

Set the tone for your event by including custom cookies in your welcome bag. This is a great way to honor your destination or a special loved one—like your cat or dog!

Escort Cards

Make this treat serve a double purpose by utilizing cookies as escort or place cards. That way, guests can take a bite while they await the first course or save it for a midnight snack or memento.

Dessert Table

Make a show of your special creations by doing just that—showing them off! We like the idea of organizing a table by type so guests can pick and choose what they'd like to try.

Table Décor

Everyone loves to snack at a wedding so why not turn your cookies into edible décor? We love the idea of displaying these in lieu of a standard breadbasket.

Wedding Cake

Go big with this idea by decorating your wedding cake with cookies! This can be done as a simple cake topper or all around the cake, as this couple did with macarons.

Wedding Favors

Much like the dessert table, you can display these treats for guests to get in a grab-and-go style or package each cookie in an individual bag or box for every guest. Bonus points for a custom sticker or logo!


Settings to improve battery life

Living with a phone that has poor battery life can be infuriating, but there are some steps you can take to maximize each charge right from the very beginning:

1. Turn off auto screen brightness and set the slider to under 50%. The brighter your screen, the more battery power it requires. Pull down the shortcut menu from the top of the screen and adjust the slider.

Some phones also have a toggle for auto brightness in the shortcut panel otherwise, you'll need to open the settings app and search for "brightness" to find the setting and turn it off.

2. Use Adaptive Battery and Battery Optimization. Google first introduced both of these features in Android 9.0 Pie: They focus on learning how you use your phone, knowing which apps you use and when, and then optimizing the apps and the amount of battery they use.

Some Android phones will have a dedicated Battery section in the Settings app, while other phones (looking at you, Samsung) bury these settings. It's a little different for each phone. I recommend opening your settings and searching for Battery. The results should get you to the right screen.

Using dark mode on any phone is an easy and good-looking way to save battery.


Crash Course: A Guide to Ordering (and Eating) Sushi Like a Pro

Sushi is truly a delicacy. It’s delicious (so many flavors!), it’s beautiful (so many colors and shapes!), and it’s full of Japanese tradition. The beauty of sushi is in its freshness and simplicity — but for a sushi newbie, unfamiliar words (what’s uramaki?) and etiquette questions (chopsticks versus hands?) can seem intimidating.

Fear not! If you’re ready to open your culinary horizons to the goodness that is sushi, here’s everything you need to know: basics, how to navigate the menu, do’s and don’ts, and the proper way to eat rolls on rolls.

While “sushi” has become a colloquial term for bite-size nomz rolled up with seaweed and rice, it technically refers to just the sticky, vinegared rice. “Sashimi” refers to the raw fish. For the purposes of this Crash Course, we’ll use “sushi” in the colloquial sense, but consider yourself schooled!

If you haven’t yet dabbled in sushi because eating a sliver of raw fish, TBH, scares you, here are two facts to ease your mind:

1. Not all sushi contains raw fish. Some rolls have cooked ingredients, and others contain only veggies, like avocado, sweet potato, or cucumber.

2. Sushi-grade fish is far fresher and of a higher grade than a regular old cut of salmon from the grocery store. Sushi chefs take great pride in using the freshest ingredients and often fly their fish in overnight.

Opening up a menu and not recognizing your options can be overwhelming. Before you make a restaurant rezzie (or order takeout), brush up on some Japanese terminology to get familiar with what you’re ordering (and eating).

Maki: Rolled, cut sushi. This is the most common and most widely recognized type, often showing up in grocery stores as well.

Uramaki: Rolled, cut sushi with rice on the outside of the seaweed (aka “inside-out roll”)

Sashimi: Sliced raw fish, often dipped in variety of sauces, from soy sauce to vinegar-based sauces

Nigiri: Sliced raw fish served over a little bit of rice

Nori: Seaweed, which is wrapped around the ingredients and/or rice

Shoyu: Soy sauce

Wasabi: Japanese horseradish — the green paste served on the side of your order with pickled ginger. It’s extremely spicy and is an acquired taste, so less is more to start!

Tempura: Fish or vegetables that are lightly fried in batter. Tempura can be eaten solo or incorporated into rolls.

Just about any kind of fish can be used in sushi. Some of the more popular ones you’ll find on a menu: sake (salmon), unagi (eel), ebi (shrimp), kani (crab), hamachi (yellowtail), maguro (tuna), and masago (smelt roe) — no one knows what a smelt is, but their eggs are orange and delicious.

And don’t be afraid to order using the Japanese names for fish. No one will laugh at you for showing effort!

Indulging in a special roll piled high with unidentified ingredients can be intimidating to a sushi novice. A slice of raw salmon may also make you wary. When introducing yourself to soosh, start easy with these popular and more basic rolls (some featuring cooked ingredients), which you’ll find on most sushi menus:

California roll: Real or imitation crab (cooked!), avocado, and cucumber

Philadelphia roll: Salmon, avocado, and cream cheese

Boston roll: Cooked shrimp, avocado, and cucumber

King crab roll: Cooked king crab and mayo

Shrimp tempura roll: Fried shrimp with crunchy battered flakes

Vegetable rolls: An array of either raw or cooked veggies and fruits, like carrots, shiitake mushrooms, cucumber, spinach, avocado, and mango

Sushi is typically eaten with a pair of chopsticks, which, truthfully, take some practice to master. Whatever you do, don’t rub wooden chopsticks together like you’re trying to start a fire at the table — it’s rude and implies you think the food is poor-quality.

Eating sushi with your hands is also completely acceptable (even in a restaurant). If you’re not comfortable with either of those options, there is zero shame in asking your server for a fork.

When your plate arrives, you’ll be presented with your sushi of choice, a dollop of wasabi, and thin slivers of pickled ginger. What’s next, you ask? Here are some step-by-step guidelines for eating sushi the traditional way for the best flavor experience:

  1. Pour just a touch of soy sauce into a dish and dip one piece of sushi, fish side in. Rice is a sponge, and giving your food a brown sodium bath ruins everything.
  2. If you like heat and bold flavor, use a chopstick to graze the top of the sushi with wasabi — but don’t add too much, or you’ll mask the fish’s delicate sweetness.
  3. Put the sushi in your mouth and chew it completely to bask in all the flavors. Sashimi and small nigiri rolls should be eaten in one bite, while large Americanized rolls from the special menu may require a few bites.
  4. Take a sip of sake.
  5. Eat a piece of pickled ginger. Its mild flavor will cleanse your palate and prepare your mouth for your next bite, which is especially important if you ordered a variety of rolls. Contrary to popular belief, you’re not supposed to top your sushi with ginger.
  6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 until you’re OMG so full.

Making and rolling sushi is an art form that takes an incredible amount of skill and training — that’s why sushi chefs take such pride in what they do. As a beginner, there’s no better way to learn about sushi than to get in on the action and watch the pros at work!

When you sit at the sushi bar, you can watch the chef make your meal and even directly ask them questions. If you’re feeling adventurous but don’t know what you like, ask what special ingredients they’re offering that day. Or ask for omakase, which means “to trust the chef,” giving them the creative power to make something unique for you. (Just be prepared to pay for whatever comes your way.)


Table linens, whether a full tablecloth or individual placemats are essential to give your table an elegant, soft and inviting look. Fabric tends to absorb sound, so it can also make the dinner table more intimate.

Napkin placement depends on your preference and there are many folding variations. As a default, it can be placed (fanned and folded) in the water glass, simply folded on the dinner plate, or placed beside or underneath the flatware to the left. Some tableware pieces may be optional, depending on the dinner to be served.

Setting a beautiful table is not difficult, nor do you need expensive tableware or silverware. Arrangement and creativity are the keys to a pretty place setting. You can also add a plate charger under each dinner plate setting. These tend to add glam to the table.

Adding a table centerpiece will complete the decor and you can buy something appropriate or make your own. A sprig of evergreen in a vase, a crystal bowl filled with holiday tree balls, or a gold-painted pumpkin are examples of simple, do-it-yourself table centerpieces. Candles help to create an intimate atmosphere but keep them unscented as some people have sensitivities to scents.

Being creative with the decor will help bring out your personality and particular style. The objective of setting a nice dinner table is to create a soft, intimate, and elegant place to break bread with family and friends to share together and build memories.

If you're setting a table for a formal dinner, hosting tips can help. Preplanning for a special dinner is key to serving on time and maintaining the proper temperature of food. It also alleviates stress and makes your dinner party more enjoyable for guests as well as for yourself, the host.

Having the right equipment for a dinner party can help you to stay on target when it comes to serving. It's also easier to cook for a group when you use the right equipment. Find some helpful tips about products for buffets or housewares for serving at special events, formal dinners, weddings, or group and sports socials.