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How to set a table

The How-To Issue

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First of all, congratulations. Either you’re throwing a dinner party (which, if you don’t already know how to set a table and you’re going for it anyway: RESPECT), or you’ve been asked to one and don’t want to come across like a Cro-Magnon, which is also nice and very responsible of you.

The diagram to the right spells it all out, but if you’re in a situation where you can’t refer to it, the basics are this:

1. Fork(s) go on the left. Knife (or knives) and spoon(s) go on the right.

2. Just work from the outside in: utensils for the earliest courses will be on the extreme left or right (salad fork, soup spoon). Dessert utensils are laid horizontally above your plate.

3. Sometimes place settings blend together at a crowded table and it’s hard to tell what belongs to whom. Rule of thumb: Your glasses are the ones above your knife – that is, on your right – and your bread plate is on your left, above your fork.

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