The correct gestures when sitting down to eat, have been polished over time. Until the Middle Ages, the rules of etiquette were practically non-existent, so much so that in the XNUMXth century it was considered refined - and as a show of great consideration - "to throw the bones under the table, taking care not to hurt anyone" .
It was at the time of the Renaissance, when the "bad habits" began to be refined, until completing the manual of good habits at the table today. One of the most revealing situations of pertinent manners is the way of setting the table, according to the setting of the diners and the pomp of the occasion.
History in bites
Cutlery: Its use at the table was introduced by Felipe III in the XNUMXth century. Knife tips were rounded to prevent them from being used as toothpicks, and the use of spoons was individualized. Dishes
Dishes: Individual dishes were introduced at the French court of King Francis I in the XNUMXth century.
Salt shaker: In antiquity given the symbolic load of these, the first salt cellars were kept under lock and key, as if they were treasures.
Tablecloth: The first rules of etiquette are praised as distinguished the fact to clean the hands with the tablecloth, instead of sucking them.
Order of the Formal Table:
- coat. It must not show fold marks, and must fall evenly on all sides. For formal meals and banquets, the color white is preferable.
- Napkin. It is placed folded, in a rectangular shape, on the flat plate. If a deep dish is to be used, it is placed to the left of the diner, before the forks.
- Cups. They are placed from left to right, in the following order: water, white wine, red wine and champagne. (Currently only one glass is used for wines)
- Bread plate. There the bread is cut, always with the hands. It is placed on the left side of the diner towards the center of the table.
- Flat plate. It is placed just in front of the diner, on the base plate. In very formal tables it is usually white and porcelain.
- Base plate or platter. It can be silver alone, silver and gold combined, white metal or glass. The platter serves to mark the alignment of the guests. Its use is optional.
- Cutlery. They are placed all at once, aligned by their grip, and arranged according to the order of use, from outside to inside.
- Dessert cutlery. They must be in parallel position: the fork with the teeth facing to the right and the spoon behind it, facing to the left.
How to set up an Informal Table
- coat. Cotton ones are common, with some prints. Singles are also used.
- DIsh de pan. The wicker baskets are also used, so that each one takes a piece of bread.
- Napkin. It is enough to make a simple fold and place it on the plate, or to the left of it.
- Cups. They wear two. One for the water on the left and one for the wine on the right.
Most famous cutlery brands (Manufacturing firms)
Cutlery: Christofle (French). Sheffield (English). Alex (Italians). Tiffany (Americans).
Dinnerware: Limoges and Sévres (French). Meissen, Bavaria, Rosenthal and Hanschentreuter (German). Spode, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Crown Derby (English).
The famous ritual of pleasure
French formal table: The hosts are placed in the center of the table sharing the presidency with the guests of honor. This system is the most used in banquets or official meals, where precedents take on special importance.
English formal table: The hosts sit at the ends: the man in front of the entrance and the woman in front of the kitchen. To their respective rights are the guest and the guest of honor, with the least relevant diners in the center