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Table appointments...
Tableware or table
appointments include the
dinnerware (including both the
dishware and serving pieces),
beverageware, cutlery and flatware,
linens, and centerpieces used in
setting a table and eating a meal.
The appointments for one
individual diner are referred to as
the “place setting”.

The nature, variety, design and

number of objects varies from
culture to culture, and may vary
from meal to meal. When
selecting table appointments,
you set the tone of the meal…
either “formal” or “casual”.
Dinnerware... Dishware is the general term for the
dishes used in serving, and eating food,
including plates and bowls.

Dinnerware is a synonym, especially

meaning a set of dishes, including
serving pieces.

Historically, dishes have also been

made of wood, metals such as
pewter, and even animal skulls.

Modern dishes may be made of

earthenware, china, glass, and durable
plastics such as melamine resin.
Disposable dishes are made of paper,
Styrofoam, or lightweight plastics.
General Dinnerware Terminology...
Ceramic: A general term for dinnerware, referring to articles made of earth
materials such as clay, sand, etc., and processed by firing or baking. The
classification includes pottery, earthenware, china, and glass refractories
(heat resistant glass).

Glaze: A glossy transparent or

colored glass-like coating that is fired
onto the ware, producing a glossy
surface for decorative purposes and to
make it nonabsorbent and more
resistant to wear.

Shoulder: The raised rim of the

traditionally shaped plate.

Coupe Shape: A contemporary plate

shape without a shoulder, flat across the
diameter, and rolled up slightly at the rim.
General Dinnerware Terminology...
Services for 4, 8 or 12: The most inexpensive
way to purchase dinnerware is to purchase it in
“sets”. A 16 piece set consists of four 4 piece
place settings. A 20 piece set for four consists of
four 5 piece place settings, while a 45pc set for
eight and a 65 piece set for twelve consists of
two or three 20 piece sets, respectively, and a 5
piece serving set.

Open Stock: Refers to the fact that

individual pieces of a pattern may
be purchased at any time as long as
they are in production.
Serving Set: A set of accessory pieces that may
accompany a dinnerware set. It is often a 3-5 piece set,
with some combination of platter, vegetable bowl,
gravy boat, covered sugar bowl, creamer, covered
casserole dish, butter dish, coffee pot, salt & pepper
shakers, etc.
Earthenware is any type of clayware fired
Earthenware... at comparatively low temperatures
producing a heavy porous body that is
opaque (light cannot pass through it) and
Pottery is a type of may chip or break easily. Because
earthenware made from earthenware dinnerware is generally in the
lower grade clay. It is low and medium price brackets and lends
fired at relatively low itself to a variety of decorative styles and
temperatures, and does methods, it is well suited for casual dining
not become vitrified and/or everyday use.
(hard and "glassy") or
translucent after firing
unless it is glazed.
Unfinished pottery is
typically somewhat
porous with a thick,
opaque, clay body. It
lends itself best to
colorful, informal
decoration and simple
Delft: Pottery originating in Holland. It is
characterized by a colored clay white glaze and
blue decoration.

Quimper Ware: Colorful

French-made pottery of a
peasant character which takes
its name from the town of

Faience (fī-äns') : Originally a type of French-made

pottery. The term is used today to refer to a fine tin-
glazed earthenware usually bearing highly colorful

Majolica: A type of Italian

pottery glazed with tin enamel
and generally decorated in rich
Crazing: A defect in a clayware glaze consisting of a
network of tiny cracks caused by the difference in the
rates of expansion and contraction between body
and glaze. It is almost the same in appearance as
deliberate crackling… a decorative effect produced
by sudden cooling and called Crackled Ware.

Ironstone: A form of stoneware containing a powdered

iron slag. Ironstone has a slightly porous body, causing it
to chip or break easier than other stoneware. Since it is
less durable, it is also less expensive.

Stoneware: A hard ware made of a single light clay

and fired at a high temperature. It is non-porous and
very durable but does not have the translucence of
china. Often it is glazed in subdued, earthy tones,
giving a handcrafted look.
It is chip resistant and oven,
freezer, dishwasher and
microwave safe.

Jasperware: A type of stoneware noted for its fine, soft finish,

first developed by Josiah Wedgwood. Its best known form is
the popular blue and white ware by Wedgwood.
Translucence: The quality
of fine china that makes it
semi-transparent. Place
your hand across the back
of the piece and hold it up
to the light. A silhouette of
the hand will be visible
Vitrification: China is vitrified when its
through the body of the
silica (sand) ingredients literally turn to
glass when fired at high temperatures -
giving it translucence. It is far stronger,
thinner, and more translucent than ware
fired at lower temperatures and for shorter
periods of time. It is non-porous. Vitreous
and semi-vitreous china refers to its
degree of “glassiness”.
Porcelain: A hard, translucent clayware body that differs from china
only in the manufacturing process. In all other aspects, the two are so
much alike that the terms are generally used interchangeably.
Glass dinnerware...
Glass dinnerware is usually chip- and break-
resistant and microwave safe. Tempering is a
process that adds strength, and if the piece
does break it will do so in small fragments
rather than irregular shards. Transparent
pieces sparkle in the light.

Corelle is a popular brand of glass dinnerware, made

through a lamination process that thermally bonds three
layers of glass. The process creates a lightweight, durable,
multi-layered product. In addition, the unique enamels used
during the decorating process actually become part of the
glass, so the patterns last as long as the plate.
A – 8” Salad / Dessert / Luncheon Plate
Names of B – 12”
Charger / Buffet Plate
C – 9-10” Dinner
dinnerware Plate
D - Cup (6 oz) / Saucer (5 3/4")

pieces... E - Soup Plate/Pasta Bowl (9-10")

F - Mug
(8 oz)
G - Handled Soup Cup
(8 oz) / Saucer (6")
H - Demitasse Cup (3 oz) /
Saucer (4 1/2")
I - Bread & Butter Plate (6")
Sugar Bowl (8 oz) / Creamer (8oz) Camera
12 oz. soup/
8 oz.
A coffee cup has a handle in which your finger can
fit through. It is served on a saucer… a small plate
with an indentation in the middle to rest the cup. A
coffee cup may also refer to disposable cups which
hot beverages (including coffee) are drunk from.

A mug is a sturdily-built type of cup often used for

drinking hot beverages, such as coffee, tea, or hot
chocolate. Mugs, by definition, have handles and often
hold a larger amount of fluid than other types of cups. In
more formal settings a mug is usually not used for
serving hot beverages, with a teacup or coffee cup being

A teacup is a smaller cup with a handle,

generally a small one that may be grasped
with the thumb and one or two fingers. It is
typically made of china, and often has a
matching saucer. A teacup without a handle
is called a tea bowl.
Chargers and liners...
Buffet / Chargers/ Service Plates: These
larger plates, often about 12” in diameter,
allow for generous servings during a buffet. At
formal dinners, they may serve as an
underliner for a smaller plate or bowl. They
should never be used for more than two
courses, and should always be removed
before the main course is served. The charger
is set flush to the table edge, while the dinner
plate, when the charger is removed, is set
about an inch in from the table edge.

Years ago, chargers were always

made of metal. They were heated
and then dinner plates were
placed on top of them. They
helped to keep the food warm.
Today, chargers are mostly used
for appearance and offer a rich
look to a table setting.
Hollowware... Hollow Ware is another name for serving
pieces in earthenware, china, clayware,
wood, glass or metal. These pieces
include items such as as cups, pitchers,
vegetable bowls, tea and coffee services,
sugar bowls, creamers, egg cups, trays,
platters, salvers, vases, candelabras,
soup tureens, ice buckets, gravy boats,
casserole dishes, chafing dishes, salt &
pepper shakers, or any other piece that
serves as a container or means of
Salver: A flat tray of silver or Platter: A large
other metal used for carrying or shallow dish or
serving glasses, cups, and dishes plate, used
at a table or for the presenting of a especially for
letter or card by a servant. serving food.
A meal or
Tray: A shallow flat receptacle with course can be
a raised edge or rim, often having served on a
handles, used for carrying, holding, platter.
or displaying articles.
Tableware or Flatware...
Flatware or tableware refers to any
hand utensil used in preparing, serving,
and especially eating food. It is more
commonly called silverware, but that
term suggests the presence of silver so
is not always correctly used. The major
items of flatware are the table knives,
forks, and spoons, serving spoons and
forks, dessert spoons, tea spoons and
coffee spoons. Drinking straws and
chopsticks also fall into the category of
tableware. Cutlery has the more specific
meaning of “knives” and other cutting
Three forms of utensils combining
the functionality of various pairs
of flatware are the “spork” (spoon
and fork), “knork” (knife and fork)
and “splade” (spoon and blade).
Flatware patterns...
lavish and richly

There are over 29,000 current
and discontinued flatware
patterns; you should pick the
one that matches your
personality and life style and
complement your dinnerware.
colonial design;
includes key,
scroll, urn,
shell, and CONTEMPORARY: linear and sophisticated;
blossom motifs foliage motifs; textured surfaces; graceful curves
Place settings & hostess sets...
Like dinnerware, flatware can often be
purchased by the piece from “open stock”, but
the most economical way to purchase it is in
sets. The basic setup revolves around the place
setting. Most patterns available offer the 5-piece
Place Setting. It includes a salad fork, place fork,
place knife, soup spoon, and a teaspoon.
Sometimes the place fork and place knife are
referred to as a dinner fork and dinner knife. A
60 piece set would include twelve, 5-piece place
settings. There are many specialty pieces, also.

A set of serving pieces is referred to as a Hostess

Set, Completer Set, or Entertainment Set. They
vary in the amount and kinds of pieces in a set, but
are usually combinations of serving spoons,
pierced serving spoons, meat forks, sugar spoons,
butter knives, pie/pastry server, gravy ladle, and/or
salad tongs. 20 5-piece sets (for 4), 40 5-piece sets
(for 8), and 60 5-piece sets for 12 are usually sold
with a hostess set.
Flatware can be made of sterling
Flatware choices... silver, silverplate, gold
electroplate, stainless steel,
Stainless Steel Flatware - Stainless steel pewter, or plastic.
is an alloy. The flatware will be identified as 18/10, 18/8, or
18/0. A product labeled 18/10 means 18% chromium and
10% nickel. A minimum of 12% chromium added to the
steel that makes it resist rust, or stains. The higher the
nickel content, the more protection from corrosion.
Inexpensive stainless flatware is stamped from a thin
piece of metal, and has the rough edges smoothed out on
the top and bottom of the piece. Quality silverware is
stamped from a larger piece, and extra attention is given
to polishing the fork tines, so they are rounded instead of
rough edged. Also, the bowls of the spoons are polished
and smoothed around the edges. Drop-forging involves
pouring molten steel into molds, rather than traditional
stamping, creating a better quality. The handles of the
knives are usually hollow. Good stainless steel flatware
will be heavier, dishwasher safe, and doesn’t bend. The
tines should feel good in the mouth; the handles should
be balanced. Knife blades that contain high-carbon steel
cut better. The less carbon, the more “serrating” is
needed on the blade to allow it to cut.
Sterling Silver: Silver's use in flatware began in
the late 1800's. Federal law from 1906 requires
that companies who call their flatware "sterling"
make sure that it contains at least 92.5% pure
silver. The rest is often copper, which gives it
more strength. Pure silver is too soft to be used
effectively as flatware. Some silver items are
marked "925", which refers to the 925 parts of
pure silver out of 1000.
Sterling silver is an expensive flatware choice,
and is considered an “heirloom” or “investment”.

Silverplated Flatware – This is made by chemically bonding liquefied silver to a

good stainless steel flatware pattern, in very thin layers measured in microns. It
takes just 2-5 microns of silverplating for an inexpensive piece to 60 microns for
expensive pieces. (a human hair is about 100 microns.) Both sterling and
silverplated flatware “tarnish”, a discoloration caused by prolonged contact with
air, chemicals, or foods such as eggs, vinegar, salt, tea, and coffee. It can be
prevented by everyday use or removed by polishing. Handwashing with a mild,
non-citrus-scented soap is recommended, with hand-drying and storage in a
flannel-type cloth (never plastic or newspaper). Do not allow silver pieces to
come into contact with stainless steel. All silver gets scratched, but these
scratches eventually give the silver it desired “patina”, or soft, rich glow.
Gold Electroplating: Instead of silver, some flatware is plated with a gold
overlay. It is more expensive than silver, and requires delicate care. The
gold layer wears away easily, and should not be polished. There is a type of
gold electroplating called “vermeil”. (Pronounced vair-MAY) This
substance has a fine double-plating of 10 or more karat gold over the
sterling silver.
Pewter: Pewter
flatware must not
contain lead, so it is
completely food safe. It
often features a pewter
handle and stainless
steel food surface. It
requires extra care
when cleaning, similar
to silver; it does
tarnish very slowly.

Plastic: Plastic flatware is made for disposable use, although

some is dishwasher safe. It is inexpensive and sanitary, so is
frequently used in fast food outlets, on airlines, or for other
single-uses applications.
Names of flatware pieces...

A - Bouillon Spoon I - Dinner Fork

B - Butter Knife

J - Dinner Knife
C - Butter Spreader

D - Cocktail Fork K - Fish Steak knife

Beverageware... Drinkware or Beverageware is a
general term for the class of vessels
from which people drink. Glassware is
a class of objects that include
drinkware made from glass or crystal,
but beverageware is also made of
plastic, stainless steel, or paper/
styrofoam products. A glass differs
from a cup in that it does not usually
have a handle.

All glassware, regardless of its quality or shape, begins with molten glass.
The content of the glass will distinguish its quality. Although you will find
sand, ash and limestone in most glass content, the addition of lead oxide is
found in crystal. Lead content results in its unique translucency, clarity, a
fine edge, color, and bell-like ring when tapped. Delicate crystal and hand
blown pieces should be washed by hand in warm soapy water. A small
amount of ammonia or lemon juice helps remove water spots from glasses.
Lint free dishcloths are recommended to dry crystal glassware.
Crystal is very sensitive and may break with extreme temperature changes.
When storing fine glassware always place it right side up. Its delicate edge
can be damaged if stored upside down. Do not stack glassware.

Etched stemware

Some glasses are made to have three distinct portions. They have a
bowl, a stem or post, and a foot or base. These types of glasses are
called Stemware. The rounded top rim of a glass is called the “bead”.
A smaller bead is associated with a finer quality.
They are graceful in appearance but fragile. They come in different
shapes and sizes. The joint between the bowl and the stem or the
stem and the base is not visible in quality pieces.
Common types of beverageware...
Highball: A 12 oz. “tumbler”, this tall slim glass is
commonly used for mixed or iced drinks. Larger
versions are called "coolers".
Old Fashioned: A 8-12 oz. “tumbler”, this wide, short glass
is also referred to as an ‘on the rocks’ glass. It is used for
everyday use and mixed drinks. A smaller version holding
only 5-6 oz. is used for fruit or vegetable juice.

Cocktail Glass: A 7-8 oz. glass used for serving

mixed drinks, most notably martinis.
Brandy Snifter: A cocktail glass holding about 17 oz. of
liquid when filled to the brim. The glass is wider at the
bottom and narrower at the top, to concentrate the "nose"
or fragrance of the brandy. It has a short stem and wide
pedestal, giving it a characteristic shape. The wide bowl of
the glass accommodates the hand, which warms the
brandy for drinking.

Margarita: A 8-16 oz. specialty glass used for frozen

beverages and salt-rimmed cocktails.
Goblet: An all-purpose stemmed glass with a 12-14 oz.
bowl. They are generally used for water, but can also be
used for all types of wine.

Red Wine Glass: A 12-14 oz. wide-mouthed rounded

bowl which allows the wine to “breathe”. A red wine is
served at room temperature, and held by the bowl to
keep the wine at an appropriate temperature and
enhance the aroma.

White Wine Glass: A 10-14 oz. glass that is taller in shape

and tapered at the mouth. As white wine is served chilled,
it should be held by the stem, which prevents the hand
from warming the wine.

Burgundy: An oversized 20-22 oz. balloon-shaped glass

used for full-bodied red wines. Like the standard red
wine glass, it is meant to be held by the bowl.

Flute: Used for serving champagne or sparking wines,

this glass is 6-8 oz. in size. The flute’s tall shape and small
mouth allow the bubbles to move slowly and retain their
A tankard is a form of beverageware consisting of a
large drinking cup that usually features a single handle,
usually of silver or pewter construction. Tankards
featuring glass bottoms are also fairly common.

A beer stein is a similar to the tankard, but may be made

of earthenware or glass and often has a hinged lid and
levered thumblift.

A beaker is a beverage container typically made

from non-disposable plastic or ceramic. It does
not have a handle.

A chalice is a goblet most often

used in ceremonies, such as
religious ceremonies.

Optic glassware has been manufactured

using a decorating technique that yields
swirls or ripples in the glass.
A - Brandy Snifter Every brand of beverageware will vary
slightly in design.
B- The glassware here is a “cut crystal”.
Champagne Flute The surface of the glass is cut into
various designs that reflect light and add
C- beauty.
Sherry / Port
Materials other than glass...
Plastic beverageware is often a
choice because it does not break
easily or at all, and is economical. It
does stain, however, and surface
scratches can cause it to become
hard to clean and unsanitary. Some
inexpensive plastics are created to
be disposable.

Disposable paper, Styrofoam, or

plastic beverageware is popular in
fast food restaurants, for
convenience, and for one-time use.
They are economical and sanitary.

Metal beverageware is not common other than for tankards

or chalices. Metal is sometimes used as a trim on glassware.
Table linen includes table
cloths, place mats, table
runners and table napkins.
They are called table linen
because in old times they
were mostly made from linen
fabrics which are durable.
Nowadays table linen can be
made from both natural and
synthetic fabrics.
The linens you select and the
manner in which they are
displayed on the table set
the tone for a formal or a
casual dining experience.

Table cloths and mats

protect the table; napkins
protect the diner.
Table covering fabrics...
Linen fabric is made from
flax, and is the most elegant
and expensive tablecloth
fabric. It has a natural
luster, gets softer and finer
with repeated use and
washings, is easily dyed, Jacquard weaves
does not fade when
washed, wrinkles easily but
also presses easily, can be
boiled without damaging
the fiber, and is highly
absorbent. Creasing in .
sharp folds in the same The majority of tablecloths come in cotton or
place over time will break cotton blends. Vinyl cloths with felt backing are a
the threads in the fabric. good choice for easy cleanup or outdoor use.

Jacquard is a type of weave commonly used for linens. A pattern is created

using a plain or satin weave. The Greek acanthus leaf, scrollwork, florals,
vines, and leaves are common designs. Damask is a fabric with a reversible
jacquard weave. Venise is a very fine damask table linen consisting of large
floral patterns.
A tablecloth can be
chosen to decorate the
table, set a formal or
casual tone of the meal,
protect a table, or cover a
table that has been Tablecloths can be used with
damaged. a table pad. These
protective mats work with
the tablecloth to prevent
spills from penetrating
through to the table surface,
provide heatproofing, hold
the top cloth in place, and
cushion sound.

White or ivory tablecloths are traditional for formal

meals, but you can also use lace or plain- and pastel-
colored cloths. Patterned or brightly colored cloths
are more casual. Be careful so patterns don't make
the table look too cluttered once it's set. A tablecloth
should always be pressed well and wrinkle-free.
Tablecloth size...
The length of fabric that hangs over the table
edge is called the “drop”. For casual settings,
the drop should be at least 6-8 inches. For
formal tables the drop should be 10-12 inches.
The longer the drop, the more dramatic the
effect. Better too long than too short.
Floor length cloths are for buffet tables,
rather than for tables where people are to sit
and dine.
So if your table is 60” long and you want your tablecloth to
hang down 10 inches on a side, you take 60”+ 20”= 80” cloth.

Restaurants sometimes It is possible to use

use a double cloth, square cloths on round
removing only the top tables. Position the
cloth as it becomes corners of the square
soiled and leaving the tablecloth correctly to
undercloth. hide the legs of the table.
Table runners... Table runners are usually about 12 inches
wide and a little longer than the table on
which they are used. They can be used
alone, with placemats, or over a tablecloth.
They are usually placed lengthwise, across
the middle of the table.
The primary purpose of the table runner is
for attractiveness. Sometimes they are used
as a silencer to prevent dinnerware from
making noise on the table. They can also
serve as a heat pad.
Placemats usually measure about 11-20
inches wide. They came in various
shapes e.g. rectangular, oval, round
etc. The material used includes linen,
lace, plastic, jute, cork etc.
Placemats are easier to maintain than
tablecloths, but they should not be
used for very formal occasions.
Sometimes they are placed on table
cloths to protect them. One of their
primary purposes is to show off
beautiful wood table tops. They also
cushion dinnerware noise and offer
protection from heat.
Table napkins are used for wiping hands, wiping the
Napkins... mouth, and protecting clothing when eating. The fabric
must be absorbent. Napkins can match or complement
other table linens. Most napkin folds require a material
Standard napkin sizes: that will hold a crease, usually cotton or linen fabric,
Cocktail – 10” square that can be starched and ironed. Plain colors are best,
Luncheon – 17” although some patterns look nice in a fold.
square Dinner –
20-22” square The Napkin rings
napkin must be offer an
perfectly square for alternative to
most folds to work decorative folds.
Disposable table coverings...

Disposable table covers and napkins are suitable for informal dining only.
Table cloths can be made of paper or lightweight plastic. Napkins are made
of paper. They are economical and save washing. They are an inexpensive
way to decorate your table for the occasional “theme” meal.
Monogramming & storage...
Linens are one item in the home that is often monogrammed to personalize
them. Single- or three letter monograms are the most popular.

Placement of the monogram on table linens depends entirely on your

personal style and how you like to set your table. Tablecloths are usually
monogrammed in all four corners, two diagonal corners, or in the center of
the cloth. Napkins are generally monogrammed in the lower right hand corner
(straight or diagonal) or in the center. Placemats are monogrammed straight
in the lower right corner.

To store linens, make sure

they are completely clean and
dry. Avoid starching them
prior to storage. Fold items
gently and store them in a
cool, dry, and well-ventilated
area. Do not store linens in
plastic bags, cedar chests, in
basements, attics, or garages.
Avoid large fluctuations in
humidity and temperature.
Centerpieces... The #1 rule in selecting centerpieces
is one regarding “height”. Sit down
at the table. The centerpiece should
Candles can be used on your table if the never block the diner’s view of
room is darkened or the sky will be dark others sitting across the table. The
anytime prior to the end of the meal. If only place for very tall centerpieces
you are going to use candles as part of is on a buffet table. 15” is a good
the centerpiece, they need to be lit. rule of thumb for “maximum” height.
Flowers and candles rank first in ideas for
centerpieces. Think about safety when considering
candles, and containers that don’t tip when
planning flowers.

The centerpiece may be

“centered” or may
extend the entire length
of a table.
Centerpieces may Food items that may be eaten near the
carry out a end of the meal, like this cookie
theme, such as bouquet, fresh fruit, or a decorated
an event (baby cake.
shower or
wedding) a
holiday (July 4th),
or a season

Almost any aesthetically pleasing kitchen item

can be transformed into a centerpiece.
Think carefully about the
sensitivity of your guests
before using items such
as live fish, hairy, furry, or
feathery items, aromatic
substances such as
potpourri, or common
The size of your dining table will be
one guide to choosing centerpieces.
need large
tables. A
centerpiece that
is too small is
dwarfed on a
large table. Guests look
“under” this
instead of
over it.

The casual or formal tone of the meal is

also be used as a guide for selection.