‘Fess up now: we know your momma raised you right, but did she tell you how to set a table – bread plates, dessert spoons and all? It’s something every good hostess should know, and we’re glad to see that the editors of Southern Living’s new Home Cooking Basics cookbook saw fit to include the information.
We like the book for the dozens of step-by-step techniques, clear photos, and solid recipes, but we think the how-to on setting a table is equally important. After all, a special meal deserves special treatment. We’ve posted the traditional place setting and list of serving pieces from Home Cooking Basics so your Thanksgiving table (and all your future meals to come) will be picture perfect. Momma will be proud.
Match the numbers on the table setting above to this guide:
1. Butter Spreader This small knife is placed on the individual bread plate at each setting.
2. Bread Plate This individual plate is placed to the upper left of the dinner plate.
3. Salad Fork Diners use this fork for the salad course before dinner. It can also be used for desserts, appetizers, or other small foods. Place it on the left of the dinner fork.
4. Dinner Fork This is used for the main dinner course. Place it on the left, closest to the plate.
5. Dessert Fork Always placed above the dinner plate, with the tines pointing to the left, this fork is intended for eating cakes, pies, and pastries that follow the main course. It looks a lot like a salad fork.
6. Dinner Knife This knife is used for the main dinner course but may also be used for spreading butter and/or condiments. Place it on the right, with the sharp side of the blade facing the plate.
7. Place Spoon Also known as a tablespoon, this versatile utensil may be used for soup, dessert, or cereal. It can even double as a serving spoon. Place it to the right of the knife.
8. Teaspoon This spoon is used for stirring coffee and tea and can also be used for dessert, soup, and cereal. Place it to the right of the tablespoon.
9. Wine (and water) Glasses Place these to the upper right of the dinner plate.
10. Meat Fork Use this fork for serving meats, cheeses, and even some types of vegetables.
11. Sugar Shell This shell-shaped spoon is commonly used with a sugar bowl.
12. Table Serving Spoon This large spoon is used for serving vegetables.
13. Slotted Serving Spoon This spoon is very similar to a table serving spoon but offers holes in the bowl of the spoon to serve vegetables that need to be drained.
14. Butter Knife This is used to spread butter onto rolls and biscuits.
15. Pierced Table Spoon An alternative to a slotted serving spoon, the pierced edges of this spoon allow spearing of vegetables such as asparagus and green beans.
16. Gravy/Sauce Ladle Commonly 6 to 8 inches long, this ladle is used to serve sauces and gravies.
17. Pie/Cake Server This utensil is used to cut and serve pie and cake slices neatly and evenly.