I think one should set the table every night. It is a good way to keep your family at the table longer, it prompts conversation. It sets a good precedence for your children, by setting the stage for learning table manners. I am astonished how many kids and adults do not know where a knife and fork should be placed. Paper napkins send me over the edge and soda bottles on a table make me cringe. If you routinely eat on a paper plate you need a time out. Save those for the picnics!
Photo: The 10 minute dinner table setting
I can sense the eye rolls. I know we are all super busy, time is tight and some may think it is silly to put effort into setting a table. It seems like every day is “Casual Friday” and I think it should stop. What’s so wrong with a little formality? I am not suggesting we put on a suit to travel or wear white gloves, just simply take the time to set your dinner table. I timed it. It takes 5-10 minutes to set a table with plates, napkins, silverware, and a place mat.
Photo: Caroline’s Placemat
Give your children the job of setting the table so they know how it is done, do it with them and then set them free and let them do a table scape themselves. Caroline has drawn place mats for us, picked flowers, pine cones, special rocks or shells when she set our table. It was a great activity and it kept her busy and out of my hair while I cooked dinner.
I will admit I do use paper napkins when there is a messy dish such as ribs or if it is lunch on the run, but I try to routinely use cloth napkins. It’s so much nicer. You can use a tip from Lulu Powers, author of “Lulu Powers, Food to Flowers” and go to Ikea, buy some $0 .79 cent dish towels. Buy a ton and keep them folded in a cute basket so you have them at your fingertips. They wash nicely and even look better with wear. If they get too stained then throw them out or use them a dust cloths.
So for those who need a reminder here is a diagram of a proper table setting. Keep in mind the daily meal setting will be much simpler so don’t freak about the 12 different pieces!
I may loose you here….How about pulling out the Wedding China out on a regular day? Who says you have to keep it for a special occasion? I like to have a “fancy” dinner night where I use all the good stuff, but I serve breakfast for dinner.
So go open your linen cabinet and pull out your napkins and table clothes and start setting your table!
Just do it!