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November 14, 2007
Anatomy of a Place Setting

Worried about drinking from the wrong wineglass or eating someone else's bread? Place settings will change depending on the formality of the occasion. Here's an easy guide to help you know what to reach for and when:

Rules on Flatware

Start from the outside and work your way in toward the plate as the meal progresses. Usually, the big fork is for the entree; the big spoon for the soup. Any utensils placed horizontally above your plate are for dessert.

Which Drink is Yours?

Here's an easy tip to help you remember. Make a circle with your thumb and forefinger. Your left hand will form a "b" and your right hand will form a "d." Bread (b) is on your left; drink (d) is on your right.

Once a Utensil Has Been Used...

It never goes back on the table. When you're taking a break, rest your fork and knife entirely on the plate. When you are finished, place them diagonally on the plate, side by side, with the handles at 4 o'clock. The knife blade should face the center of the plate, not point out toward another guest (an ancient sign of aggression).



Confused about finding the right size tablecloth? A guide with table sizes and shapes, the number of people who can be seated and what size tablecloth you'll need.

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