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Table Accessories

An Accessory may be a thing of secondary or subordinate importance but one cannot deny that they add to the beauty, convenience and effectiveness of whatever they are accessorizing.


The dining table is definitely one of the most important piece of furniture in any home. For it is over this piece that the family gathers two to three times a day, to share not only their meals but also their thoughts and deeds. Therefore it is very necessary that a lot of thought goes into choosing the table that would suit your purpose.

While choosing a dining table one has to take into consideration a few points. Like for example design is important but not at the cost of basics. All tables should have a height of 30 inches and correspondingly the chairs should have a height of 18 inches whereas for kids an extra cushion can be added.

For a table for two to four persons, the convenient size is 3 feet square (minimum 2.5 feet square is required), or 4 by 2 feet rectangle or 3 feet diameter if it's a round table. For more than four people, you have to choose between a rectangle or round table with the size increasing correspondingly to the number of persons you want to accommodate on one table. Availability of space is however the prime aspect. The material and design come next, which has to complement the rest of the décor. Wood is still the most preferred choice. Allow good leg space and facility for chairs to be pushed in when not in use. Chairs should be sturdy and designed to support the right posture for sitting. A water- proof tabletop is the most ideal.

Side Table

A side table should ideally, compliment all dining tables. It not only has a utility value but can also add to the aesthetics and make the room look full. It can be utilized to keep crockery, cutlery, glassware, jugs, mats, ice buckets, napkins, coasters, candle stands, cruet sets, flower vases, menu stands, other decorative pieces, trays etc. If space provides one can also keep preservatives like pickles, sauces etc. It definitely increases the efficiency of service. Make it a point however to ensure that after the meal all things come back to the side table properly washed, wiped and stacked in its original place.

The worktop of the side table should be at 34 inches from the ground. You can have the display cabinet designed upto a height of 72 inches above the worktop, fitted at the back of the side table. Width of the side table should be 18-24 inches. Upto the worktop, the side table can have cupboards with shelves and drawers to keep various things. They should be lined with sound absorbing cloth. You can also keep an electric heating plate on top, which can keep a few dishes warm while they wait their turn to be served. With the side table at your service you can empty your dining table and double its use for study etc.



Table Manners

To the Manners Born

The word Manners is defined in dictionary as social conduct as per the rules prevalent in the society that one lives in. And if one aspires to attain any degree of social standing it is absolutely necessary to conform to these rules. There are Manners set for every aspect of social existence among which Table Manners play an important part in making a favourable impression. They are visible signals of our behaviour and upbringing and therefore essential to professional as well as personal success.


How to Behave at the Dining Table

  1. Posture: Sit up straight at the table, never lean backward, nor forward and also never let the elbows touch the table. This makes a good impression. When you are not eating, keep your hands on your lap or rest on the table.
  2. "Please" and "Thank you" are basic manners at the table: Say "Please" when asking people to pass you something and "Thank you" when you receive something.
  3. The best way to use a napkin: The napkin should be placed on the lap to catch crumbs or drips while eating food and should be kept back on the table neatly, after the meal is finished.
  4. Food is passed at a family meal by the head of the family or the host/hostess: It is often passed in a counterclockwise movement around the table.
  5. Wait for others to start eating. In many homes they say a prayer first.
  6. It is best to order foods that can be eaten with a knife and a fork. Finger foods can be messy and are best left for informal dining.
  7. The only way to eat is slowly and quietly. Chew small bites of food and swallow with the mouth closed.
  8. Smoking should not be done while dining out.
  9. One should avoid touching nose, teeth and combing hair while dinning.
  10. The table and tablecloth should be kept clean. Do not put bones or any other morsels on the table.
  11. Avoid spitting anything out. If there is something in the mouth, which can't be swallowed, quietly put it in a paper napkin and then continue. (e.g. bones, seeds, etc.)
  12. End the meal properly. When a person has finished eating, the fork and the knife are placed diagonally crossed across the plate, this is the best way to inform the server that you have finished eating.
  13. When you have finished eating, express appreciation for the meal. You can perhaps say "What a delicious meal! Thank you so much." And then wait for all to be finished before leaving the table.

Some Important Table Manners

To handle some of the unfortunate and embarrassing moments while eating food, following are some tips:

  1. If some beverage or food is spilled on some guest while eating: The best way is to handle the situation with a calm and quiet frame of mind. Apologise first and then using the cloth napkin and water wipe it gently or else gently guide the guest to the wash room.
  2. When a bug appears: If a bug or anything of that sort appears in your salad etc. quietly send it back but do not point it out because it might ruin the entire dinner for the rest of the people.
  3. To remove a distasteful food item from the mouth: The food should be removed in the napkin discreetly and the food morsel should be kept out of view from others.
  4. If a piece of silverware falls onto the floor: It should be picked up if one can reach it and the server should be told to replenish it with a clean one.
  5. Some food items can be eaten with fingers: Some food tastes better when eaten with fingers. So you can eat with your fingers provided you use just the first two segments of the thumb, the index and middle fingers to pop the food into the mouth. Avoid licking fingers after finishing the food. Food should be always eaten with right hand.

Table Setting

Buffet Set Up and Services

A buffet meal is the most convenient way to serve a group of people at informal gatherings. It is usually set up on a large dining table on which food is laid out in a particular order to make it more navigable and attractive. It should be bright, inviting and in sufficient quantities with the marvelous aromas wafting across. All buffets whether they are cozy, noisy or sophisticated should contain an element of joy and merriment.

In this type of setups, the plates should be stacked at the end of the table from where the service is going to begin. The entire cutlery, along with other crockery, should be placed next to the plates. The food placed on the buffet table should follow the order of the courses of the menu (salads, soup, main courses, breads, accompaniments, etc). Desserts can either be kept on the same buffet table or on a separate dessert section, where a variety of desserts can be displayed.

The term 'Buffet' service means self-service so the guests normally serve themselves, but if the host wants to give a personalized service to his guests, he can serve them. At the buffet table if the service of any dish is difficult for the guests to manage while holding the plate, an appropriate server should be arranged to serve that particular dish.

Plated Service and set up:

In this type of service, the dishes should be pre-plated in the kitchen and placed at individual covers as soon as the guests are seated. The food should be served in order of the courses of the menu - soup being the first and dessert being the last. If desired, additional food may be placed in the center of the table or on an extra table adjacent to the dining table.

Whatever the type of food service, the most important accompaniment should be gracious hospitality. Etiquette for a Dinner Party

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