Setting The Scene

A Footman's Delight

A Footman’s Delight

One of my biggest joys in life is setting the dining room table. I know this makes me sound slightly neurotic but it really is something I enjoy. I’ve laughed that I must have been a footman in a great house in another life.

It can be a grand dinner over the holidays for eight or ten or just the two of us dining alone at the table. Each meal becomes an occasion. There is that old expression that the eyes eat first. I actually agree with that. The way you set your table and how you eat is completely related to that.

A highly polished tabletop

A highly polished tabletop

First of all, I love polishing our dining room table before I start. It’s a big mahogany table from 1904. It’s got several leaves that can extend it. I actually can’t use them all or it would fill our dining room from end to end! My next weird confession is about how therapeutic I find cleaning silver is and how much I love it! So a day or so before a dinner event, I usually spend an evening with music on cleaning candelabras, trays, ice buckets, water jugs, flatware, nut dishes and who knows what else!

Table pheasants in residence

Table pheasants in residence

Then the fun begins! What do I want the table to feel like? Seasons help dictate the type of food, and usually suggest the flower choices which then affects the linen and china choices!

Formal is the new casual

Formal is the new casual

Do I want a simple setting or a more elaborate tablescape? I always use very tall 18-inch taper candles (that I buy at a church supply house). Either way, I put thought and attention to the overall feeling and placement of everything.

Dinner for two

Dinner for two

Even when it’s just the two of us on the terrace table, I choose linens and plates that make sense to me with what we are eating! Why not make a burger and salad special?

Whatever and wherever you eat, try to dial it up and enjoy it. We are spending an inordinate amount of time together at home at the moment, so why not make every meal a special one?