November 27, 2008

Until just a few years ago, formal table settings made me nervous. All those wine glasses and silverware! I was never sure what to use or which bread plate was mine. Taking my cues from watching the fancy people around me just added to my confusion because, quite frankly, a lot of them were clueless, too.

Then I discovered the three tips that transformed me. Three simple little tricks that gave me confidence on the cuisine front. Wish I knew about these little tricks back in the go-go ’90s, when I was married and hanging out  in four-star restaurants! Oh, well. Anyway, I now have very good manners when I visit the local diner.

Here are three tips that will save you forever from acting like a hick:

"Right" is spelled r-i-g-h-t. Just like k-n-i-f-e and s-p-o-o-n.
"Right," "knife" and "spoon" all have five letters. Which leads us to...
Tip #1: Always arrange your knives and spoons to the right of the dinner plate.
"Left" is spelled l-e-f-t. Just like f-o-r-k.
"Left" and "fork" both have four letters. Which leads us to...
Tip #2: Always arrange your forks on the left side of the dinner plate.  

And now, it’s onto the huge breakthrough moment. So you’re seated at the table. Before you lies a confusing, overwhelming spread of plates, glassware. The other guests are chatting away. You’re wondering what to do. Here’s how you crack the code:

Tip #3: BMW
B-M-W stands for Bread-Meal-Water (or, Wine).

So “read” your table setting like you read the “BMW:” from left to right.

At your far left is the little bread plate.

Reading onward, you hit the big meal plate.

Finish reading with W, the water and wine glasses to your right.