If you love cooking, you probably love entertaining at home more than eating out. Planning and organizing a dinner party can take a lot out of a busy parent, but if you love it, you find a way to do it! In the summer, it is easy. You can fire up the barbecue and people come and go. There is lots of space outside, and you can make the most of the kids keeping each other amused.
In the winter, when the weather is too awful to be outside, it is really nice to make the use of a good dining table. There are hundreds of sets to choose from at the moment. If you only have a breakfast area in your kitchen you are likely only to seat four adults at a time, but you can still make the most of a beautiful meal and a brilliant evening.
If you are lucky enough to have a formal dining room or a good sized dining area in your family room, you can make the most of all the etiquette of hosting a dinner party. You can click here for ideas for your table linen. Most people love a clean, crisp white cloth. They like to jazz it up with a bold colored runner draped down the center line of the table. If you have a formal dining room, you may choose to leave this in place all week.
Table mats protect the cloth and the table from minor food spills. They also protect the wood from heat from the plates. Glass mats can be purchased to match if you buy in a set. You may also be able to find center mats in the matching pattern. Napkins or serviettes used to be considered a little too high-brow for some people, but they have become the norm again. Placed in the lap, they are very handy for catching crumbs and drops, and are essential for wiping the mouth after eating spaghetti. You can buy cute little napkin rings to hold the napkins on display on the left side of the place mat.
Cutlery is usually all placed out prior to seating. Knives and forks are placed in order of use. Fruit sets will be on the outside for starters, mains or steak sets next and dessert forks on the inside. If you are serving more courses, add more layers. Spoons sit above the place mat with the handle end on the right (as most of us are righties – sorry lefties). Glasses are placed above the right corner of the placemat for the same reason.
Formal dining is great fun and needn’t be stuffy at all. You and the guests should be relaxed as you eat to aid digestion, so don’t bring anything to table you would be nervous or worried about. After all, you are there to entertain, not to provide restaurant quality service. Take your time and have fun with it. You can always test it out on the kids first!