According to The Emily Post Institute, there are 15 pieces to a formal table setting. And look – there are count ’em, FOUR forks in it! Or is that thingy to the far right of the plate not a fork contraption???
My mama and my god-mother, bless their souls, tried to teach me the semantics of proper setting of the dinner table. They were raised in the 30’s and 40’s and that was just what they did back then. I hope they somehow have now managed to rest in peace that while I may have memorized it well enough to visually pull it off, gosh forbid that I ever actually remembered what to do with any of it all or which order it all should be used in. Or any other proper dining etiquette beyond the basic P’s & Q’s and remembering to NOT tuck my napkin in at my neck and into my bra to catch spills.
Case in point …
Late 1980’s. I was a teenager, so they both would have been in their 50’s. Auntie Lo (my god-mother) was visiting us and we took her out to one of our favourite buffet joints. A ‘dinner engagement’ as she called it, was cause for wearing her prim and proper, colour and accessory coordinated Sunday best. And she did look fine, hat and all. As always, I chowed down more food than a barely 100 lb teen girl’s tummy really had room for. And in my puritanical style, I leaned back in my seat, let out a good sigh of contentment, and proceeded to unzip my painted-on hot pink jeans. My aunt’s eyes grew bigger than her stomach and I think I heard her jaw hit the floor in disbelief. If only Instagram and Facebook had been around back then, I think pics of the scene of my crime would have gone viral.
Back to the table setting stuff …
According to The Redneck Marianne Doctrine, there should only be 4 items required on the coffee table for dinner:
- Big serving size plate to hold as much food as I can get on it
- Big fork to eat it all with (why waste time on a little fork?)
- Big steak knife (so called butter knives don’t cut anything but butter)
- Big coffee mug (fork can be used to mix in cream & sugar)
Okay, well maybe 5 if soup or chili is being served. Don’t need a spoon though. Just the bottom of a styrofoam cup to put on the end of the fork to scoop it all up. If I don’t have any of those cups, then you can probably figure out how I eat my soup and chili …
In conclusion, I would like to say I actually am a kind and polite person but obviously I ain’t no Emily Post or Miss Manners, nor do I aspire to be like them. I failed this manners quiz terribly, but I must be as smart as a cue ball cuz I thunked dis redneck quiz wuz as easy peasey lemon squeezey as herdin’ moose with a string of beer cans. So nope, I guess I ain’t got no couth. But I’m cool with that thank you very kindly.
And if any of the fine folks over at The Emily Post Institute ever read this, may I please make a suggestion for an edit to your Top Questions For Dining Out page? In the “Remember, no …” section, perhaps it would be wise to add a bullet for not unzipping your pants at the end of a meal? Tell them to wear yoga pants instead. Works for me these days.
In response to today’s Daily Prompt: Fork