Coming together to share a meal is one of our most vital traditions. Whether dining with friends, family, or business associates, we know that an elegant setting and gracious manners bring a sense of harmony and order to the occasion. Yet when it comes to knowing precisely how to set a table for formal and informal dining, which fork is for dessert and which for the appetizer, how to serve different types of wine -- even how to eat certain foods -- many of us are not fully confident.
Suzanne von Drachenfels learned this firsthand in her career as an expert on table setting, tableware, and etiquette. Conducting seminars throughout the country, she would hear the same questions again and again: Should bread be buttered entirely or bite by bite? What is the purpose of holding a wine glass by the stem or the base? Is handmade crystal worth the price difference?
The Art of the Table answers all these questions and more. A treasure trove of timeless information, this complete guide is to the table what Joy of Cooking is to the kitchen. Von Drachenfels shows us how to select, lay, and use tableware to enhance any dining experience, and how to properly store and care for it -- whether it's your grandmother's porcelain or everyday stainless steel. She provides guidance on mixing and matching tableware patterns; the basics of coffee, tea, and wine; menu planning; napkin folding; and the proper service techniques for all types of entertainment. So as not to let the lore of the table fall away, she delves deep into the history of specific tableware and the customs we keep, making today's practices understandable.
For the novice host, this is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide with more than one hundred helpful illustrations. For the host with more experience, it is a rich and exciting source of new ideas. Like its author, whose passion for the table is contagious, The Art of the Table is an authoritative, elegant, and sophisticated resource for all one's dining needs.
Suzanne von Drachenfels's passion for table things led her to a career as Tabletop Consultant to Fitz & Floyd, a maker of fine dinnerware that has been used in the West Wing of the White House. As an expert on the table, she has traveled extensively to conduct seminars and appeared on local television morning shows throughout the United States. She lives on the Monterey Peninsula in California, where she and her late husband, Baron Alexei von Drachenfels, have lived for many years.