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Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by kuan, Jan 15, 2003.
How would you set a table for a multi (6+) course meal if there's no tablecloth?
Since it is 6 courses, I am guessing it is formal. However, since there is no tablecloth would there really be a difference from when a cloth is present? I would assume it would be the same place setting, no?
Uh, formal in an informal setting? Does that sound right? Is it OK to put silverware directly on a table? That was the real question.
Would/could there be cloth placemats of some type? Or are we talking bare wood table?
It's bare wood, quite nice wood, but still bare wood. I guess they can get a piece of silverware with every course then? Heh.. things you never think about.
I'm no Martha S., but giving guests the appropriate silverware with each course sounds right to me. If you laid out cutlery for 6 courses all at once on a bare (though nice) table, they might tend to slither all over the place with every glass, plate and arm movement. I've never thought about it before, but cloth probably serves to hold everything more or less in place.
I have in the past made individual flowering herb bouquets,laid the silver ontop of them and tied them with rafia (sp)in an easy to open bow.
It protect the table,looks elegant and smells nice as well.
I never lay out more then three courses of silver at a time as it can be a bit pretentious and confusing.
Setting without a tablecloth is awkward in formal situations, as this sounds. I agree with Cape Chef, setting more than three courses is pretentious.
That said, if your client must have it all set at once, the general rule is to set cutlery from the outside in. In other words place the silverware for the first course on the outside, the second course one step in, and so forth. Butter knives are set either across the bread and butter plate or horizontally below it. Dessert cutlery is often set directly above and perpendicular to the charge plate. Make sure all the vertical cutlery is lined up evenly with the bottom of the charge plate. The napkin should be placed in the middle of the charger and folded artistically or held by a napkin ring-never shoved into a wine glass!
The water glass should be placed directly above the dinner knife and approriate wine glasses placed to the right of it in opposite order corresponding to the course service (ie, again working from outside toward the inside according to the courses served).
I know that this is archaeic information, but my Mom is a real anglophile and loves formal dinner service.
The thing is, if you don't have a lot of waiters to clear each course, you've got a mess of dirty cutlery sliding all over the table. If you do have a bevy of waiters, why not just have them place appropriate cutlery when each course is served?
I'm in the "re-set for each course" camp. Silver, wineglasses. Clear the used stuff with the dirty plates, put down the new silver and glass, bring out the new course.
I hate to say it, but I agree with Cape Chef and Suzanne on this one.
Personally I don't have a nice bare wood table, I do all my formal dinners on a steamer trunk and only change flatware between main courses and dessert. I would not, at any cost, lay down place settings for more than two courses.
What's a nice wood table like anyway.
SO!!!! The suggestions make sense. It's pretentious huh? Hrm... a little bit I guess. I never thought of it that way.
So you make herb bouquets CC, what about the next few courses? Looks like they silverware is well on it's way to the table with the plate
Nope, not a superbowl party. Email if you want to know who it's for. It may or may not be a big deal depending on who you are of course
PS: This bloody dining room table costs as much as a new car man. It's like this 4 piece bookmatched cherry table with handlaid marquetry. No, the minimal heat from the plates won't hurt it.
I like the herb bouquets for silverware. That would be an elegant touch.
I have a question for foodnfoto - did you really mean to say the butter knife goes horizontally below the bread and butter plate? I've always placed it horizontally above the plate.
So, Kuan, what's the menu?
Those of who use steamer trunks as our dinner table picked up a couple of bamboo placemats. They look kind of like those sushi roller things. They might blend in well with the wood and you solve your bare-wood dilemma. Easy to clean, etc.
Sooo, what's the menu. I like living vicariously.
CC, I love the herb bouquet idea too. Are any of them flowering?
Kuan, yes, please tell us the menu, but can't you also give us the guest list? Or is posting their names on the forum too gauche. Personally, I'd be honored if I were invited to one of your dinner parties.
Tonight's dinner is for Grammy winners Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the Assad brothers from Brazil, Sergio and Odair. Now I know some of you hotel chefs see celebrities in your hotels all the time, but this is Minnesota, and I'm also a musician (wannabe) in another life. So very exciting for me, even more than meeting say, Jack Welch (yawn).
So... the menu is:
For starters... pao de quejo (brazilian cheese bread)
1) Chicken "weisswurst" with basil oil, balsamic glace
2) Scallops with citrus beurre-blanc and shallot confit
3) Intermezzo, tropical fruit and champagne sorbet
4) Lamb "ribeye" with fava bean ragu
5) Asparagus salad with shaved prosciutto, parmesan, pinenuts
6) Lavender scented cheesecake
I left out the garnishes, too much to write.
Oh Kuan, the menu is exquisite! :lips: Is this what you do? It's really impressive. I feel like I get to know you folks on lots of levels, but what I (we all) miss out on is the food. I would love to see, smell, touch and taste these wonderful dishes. How many wines? One for each course?
But I'm also knocked out about Salerno-Sonnenberg! I saw her perform ten or twelve (or fifteen?) years ago. I didn't know who she was (a friend couldn't use his tickets), so I was utterly unprepared for her artistry and her performance level. Other than Leonard Bernstein, I don't think I've ever seen such passion on-stage from a "classical" performer. What a gas that you are cooking for her!
My wife and I saw Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg at the Gardener Museum in Boston, playing The Suite from Pulcinella. Quite a lovely afternoon. You had to be there.