Retro Saturday: Setting the Table

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

I have struggled with the proper way to set the table my entire life. I finally learned what order to put the knife, fork, and spoon in when my dad said to set the table alphabetically. In other words- fork (plate), knife, spoon. Prior to that tip, I’d just slap down the silverware willy-nilly and make my mom nuts every time I did so.

So, to help you guys out, I went over to my mom’s house this afternoon (because I don’t think I have three forks that match each other, much less formal tableware- Fiestaware is as good as it gets in my house) and took pictures of the correct place settings.

Here is the correct place setting for a formal table:


(Yes, my photoshop skills are horrid.) Here it is without the handy annotations:


And, here’s an informal table setting:


And without words:


Now you can make your kids set the table and they can’t claim they don’t know how- just send them to Home-Ec 101!


  1. Retro man on December 14, 2008 at 5:00 am

    Gosh how formal – I only ever see cutlery so well organised when I eat out in restaurants.

  2. AA on December 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    THANK YOU so much for the alphabetical notation! I was talking with my Mom over Thanksgiving and telling her that unless a knife has a makers mark on the blade I can’t figure out what side it goes on! (mark is always down blade pointed in) I think I can remember alphabetical, which also works for bread and drink.

    The other way to remember bread plate and drinking glass is to make the “ok” sign with both hands. Left hand makes a lowercase b for Bread and right a lower case d for drink. (It is amazing on what one learns on the BBC! 🙂

  3. Tiffany @ Snapshots of Life on November 23, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks so much for this post! I am always getting confused and drive my Mom nuts, too! I marked this post so I can come back when I forget.

  4. Vintage Lunchboxes on November 23, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Or you can collect pre-packaged plastic silverware + napkin packs from fast food joints. This will also take care of having to entertain future guests.

  5. Gary Catona on November 23, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Great post!

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