Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Setting the (regular dinner) table...

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On one of my other forums (birth board) there was a discussion about how to set the table.

The question was...when you set the table (for dinner) do you put spoon, knife, and fork on the table (even if not all are necessary) or do you only set the table with what is needed?

One poster stated that etiquette wise you only set with what is necessary--her example being that when you go to a nice restaurant they remove the unnecessary utensils after you have ordered because of etiquette rules.

I have been to nice restaurants where they remove utensils, but they usually just remove the soup spoon/seafood fork/salad fork/dessert spoon/etc. leaving the spoon, knife, and fork on the table.  I've never had them remove my knife or fork if I was having soup or my spoon if I was having pasta.

For my perspective--I was raised that you always put spoon, knife, and fork on the table for dinner (lunch/breakfast are separate affairs) whether you need them or not.  So I'm intrigued with the answers that were given.

Any thoughts from the etiquette gurus here?   ;)

We just set the table with what's needed - knife, fork, spoon (if needed).

(i say "we" but its my sweet DS who sets the table - i trained him since he was a little kid!)

We don't set the table for everyday.  We serve ourselves from the kitchen, taking a napkin and whatever utensil is needed.  That said, I believe it's correct to set it with knife, fork and spoon.


You set with what's appropriate for the meal.  Restaurants aren't good role models for this, because they have to accomodate a wide variety of meals -- many will set for the most complicated possible and then remove utensils, while some will do a standard set and add specialized utensils as needed.

At the risk of bragging, among my odd accomplishments is a blue ribbon from the Los Angeles County Fair in tablescaping.  In those compentitions, you will get marked down for having the wrong utensils for the menu.

no guru here but I believe it is correct to put on the utensils you need for the meal -- we do that -- steak knives when there is meat -- soup spoons when there is soup and crossways above the plate if there is going to be a spoon using dessert -- we don't ever put teaspoons on the table although that is a common thing to do for some reason in the US -- the basic setting is knive and fork and then anything extra that will be needed -- we don't use  a salad fork for family meals but add it when we have formal guest meals if salad is being served


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