One lost art in our society is dinnertime. We tend to eat in front of the television instead of gathering together. Learn how to properly set a table for dinner to get some good quality family time.
Setting the Table: A Lost Art?
One of the big things that I try to do in my household is hold dinnertime as family time. With all the busyness of the day, and the distractions of our phones and other tech, time to actually connect is important to me. Making the table inviting in order to make everyone WANT to sit down and eat together is important to me.
I don’t use huge decorations or fold our napkins all frilly. Feel free to if you desire. But for gathering everyone together, just knowing how to properly set the table for dinner is key.
My Table Setting 4-H Project
One of my first projects (classes, if you will) in 4-H was learning to set the table properly for dinner. My mom was adamant about me being in 4-H and I am truly grateful for it. I learned so many skills via 4-H!! Not just setting the table, but cooking and sewing and raising animals. It was educational but really fun.
*If you have kids, getting them involved in 4-H is a great learning tool. Make sure to check out the 4-H website for ways your family can benefit from this wonderful program.*
My 4-H table setting was an actual judged display. I was probably only 5 or 6 at the time. It was scary to do for the judges, but I did excellent. Because it built my confidence in my ability, I was excited to set the table at home also. One of my daily chores was to set the table each time we at together.
This has definitely carried over into my adult life. There is something in me that loves to cook and set the table for my family. It’s hard to explain, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment. It feels as if I’m loving my family better by setting a proper table for dinner each night.
How to Properly Set the Table for Dinner
I guarantee you have everything you need already in your kitchen to properly set the table for dinner. You have your plates, even if they don’t match. I know you have silverware in your drawer. And I know you have drinking glasses, even if some of them are still sippy cups.
First, clear your table.
This seems like a no-brainer, but realistically most of us have piles of clutter on our table. It’s a catch-all area. I’ll own it. Paper and mail, work supplies, and other random things just seem to get throw there out of convenience. It’s a really bad habit that I’m trying to break us of.
Next, start with your plates.
Just whatever you have in your cabinet. Set them in front of each person’s seat. You may or may not want to use placemats. Center the plate with the chair they are going to sit in. You may use chargers if you have them, especially for holidays or other special occasions. But just for dinner, a simple plate is perfect.
Now, your utensils.
For this tutorial, I’m going to use all three standard pieces of flatware. Starting with the fork, place to the left of your plate. Center it with the plate, about an inch away.
To the right, place your butter knife in similar fashion as your fork. Face the serations toward the plate. About a half inch right of the knife, place your spoon. Line the bottom of the spoon with the bottom of the knife.
If you are using napkins in your table setting, they will go beneath the knife and spoon.
Cups & Glasses
Some people may have bottles or other drinks that they bring to the table, but having the glasses there makes it easier to share water or other drinks. Your water glasses with go above the knife to the right of your plates.
Serving wine? Place your wine glasses to the left of the water glass , staggered back about a 1/2 inch.
Viola! A Properly Set Table for Dinner
There you have it. Your table is set and inviting. Hopefully practicing this brings your family to the table without so much arguement. You may want to add this task to your children’s chore list so that they can also learn to properly set a table. I think table settings are a dying art as we spend so much time in front of the television instead of at the dining table.
Start a new family tradition today of eating at the table, including a proper table setting.
Cool! It’s nice to do things properly isn’t it?
When I was a waitress (we are talking back in the 80’s! ) we put a spoon and fork at the top, above the plate, for dessert. And a side plate to the left with a butter knife for the bread. I guess at home we don’t tend to have bread too do we?
When people finished dinner we would ‘crumb down’, just wipe away any crumbs with a rolled up napkin onto a side plate, and then move the dessert spoon and fork down for them. Needless to say I don’t do THAT for the family!! I think they’d think I’d finally lost it!
Donna @ Modern on Monticello says
So glad you shared this post. I needed the reminder to do it as well. I can admit that now that it is just my husband and I that over half the table is covered in clutter since we don’t need to use that space. I am motivated to clear it off now. Thanks for visiting the party this week and sharing your table. #HomeMattersParty