I’m on a quest. A quest to become……drum roll please…….Betty Crocker. Feeling inspired to become the “modern” homemaker of 1950 in order to be a better homemaker in 2010, I am heeding the advice of my “imaginary friend,” Betty.
Betty asked a wonderful question…..
Oh Betty…..in my whiniest voice…. Did you really have to go there?? Alrighty then….. I need to take a gander at my table…..
It’s 4:45pm and as you can see….the after school snack trays, my work station and other clutter is making my table so unbelievably UNattractive!! Wasting no time, I quickly cleared the clutter…..Betty will be here to inspect my table and to answer the attractive question in any minute!! Oh, by the way, the clutter was thrown to the kitchen counter. Hopefully, Betty will have blinders on!!
Cleared table….. check
So, now on to the table setting….. Betty says….
1. For formal dinners: use all-over cloth of white or pastel colored damask or lace. For informal dinners and luncheons: lace or linen mats or runners. For breakfasts: gay, colorful cloths or mats.
I heard you snicker at "gay." Careful Betty is watching!!
Running straight for my “linen” closet, I quickly discovered remembered that I put all the place-mats, table cloths, and the finer things I got from my wedding shower (14 yrs ago) into the consignment shop. I had figured since the lovely things had never adorned my table in the 14 yrs I had them…. they would be better off elsewhere. Not giving up, I dashed to my material stash…..nothing big enough to even be considered as a table cloth. Well, Betty will just have to deduct points…..scratch the cloths and mats. On to #2.
2. Place napkins, folded in squares or rectangles, at left, as near silver as possible without touching it, or on the service plate. If no service plate is used, napkin may be placed in center of cover. Place open corner of napkin at lower right.
What is a service plate?? Thank God for Google!! A service plate is also called a Decorative Charger Plate….. apparently it is to hold the napkin and to look pretty…..I think……
My biggest worry is the napkins. I have purchased several kinds of linen napkins over the past couple of years. Remember folks…. I don’t purchase paper products anymore. I have a basket of odds and ends that we use….and I have two styles that I actually have 4 of……which do you think will go with my pink rose china pattern with a silver edging?
Green….Blue….green….blue….. I think I will get a nod of approval with the blue. So, napkins….. check.
3. Place silver 1″ from edge of table in stright line even when edge of table is curved. Place no more than 3 pieces of silver on each side of plate.
4. Place all forks (except cocktail fork) at the left of plate with prongs up. Place knives at right of plate with sharp edges toward plate. Place spoons at right of knives.
5. Each piece of silver should be placed in order of use, beginning at outside. (When salad accompanies main course, dinner fork may be used for both meat course and salad.)
6. At informal dinners, dessert silver is usually on the table at beginning of the meal. For more formal service, dessert silver is brought on with the dessert.
I know….I know…. picky picky picky…..Now I need to recover some points so I did exactly as she advised……
#3, #4, #5, #6…. check, check, check, and CHECK!
Feeling pretty confident now…. I skimmed over #7, #8, #9 and #10….. basically they told me where to put the drinking glass (just above the point of the knife). They were so technical that my head began to spin…….
11. Always observe neatness, order, and balance. Avoid crowding center of table.
Mark!! We need a bigger table!!! No…. a bigger dining room for a bigger table!! Betty will just have to accept the fact that I have a small table….. (squeaky voice)…. more points deducted……
Running towards the end of the check list……we finally reach #12…..
12. The centerpiece for informal family meals may be a few well arranged flowers, a growing plant, or colorful fruit in a low bowl. Even for more elaborate dinners, the bouquet or pyramid of fruit should be low enough so guests may see across the table. The soft glow of candles lends a festive air to the evening meal. Candles should never be used for daylight parties.
Centerpiece??? Betty are you for real? You just said not to over crowd….okay…okay…. I will figure something out……..
….well arranged flowers??? No fresh flowers yet…. would a sprig of wild onion do??
…..a growing plant??? Could use my 8 yo’s cabbage plant he brought home from school the other day……does it have to be growing??? could a dead one or a plastic one suffice??? Another bust…..oh no…. not any more deductions!!!
….bowl of fruit???? Jar of applesauce maybe???? No time to run to the market!!
……ding ding ding…….I have a small flower arrangement I use to decorate for Thanksgiving…….Ta-DA!!!!
Perfect!! Now…. oh my goodness….. the time has just slipped by…..I have everything in place…… doesn’t our very informal dining room look like a million bucks pennies??
You may be wondering what I served at this elegant dinner….. frozen lasagna, frozen green beans, fresh spinach salad…. from a bag, and iced tea. It was a lovely evening and dining experience. We gathered together in our formal attire everyday wear…..my 8yo son was shirtless and shoeless because it is like summer outside…..couldn’t convince him otherwise.
After the meal, I felt so satisfied that Betty could come over to see the Dettras experience a more formal…..informal…..formally informal dinner. I believe I saw her add points on the family interaction and poking fun at mom and her “imaginary friend.”