Jul 29, 2009

Good Housekeeping, 1955--Hostessing, Part 2

A whole page is devoted to centerpieces. I'm not known for my centerpieces, that's for sure. I have done flowers. I tried doing candles. My husband pointed out something about the candles I was using: I was using scented candles. After a few meals he gently explained to me that the candle scent was interfering with the delicious aromas of the meal. You'd think I would have caught that. He's a kind and long suffering man. I bought unscented candles.

As I said, there is a whole page for centerpieces. The next pages describe place settings and how to serve the guests. There are even directions for using a maid.

What really caught my attention, though, was something I hadn't come across before (besides using a maid!). The title is "How to Route Traffic for a Buffet."

Now that's something I need to learn. At last someone will give me instruction on the ORDER to lay things out for buffets! I will now share this wisdom with you:

At a buffet supper, guests should be able to move easily around the serving table and to serve themselves in logical order. (Yes! Logical order. I'm there.)

Arrange plates and food (each dish with its own serving silver), etc., so they can be picked up in this order:

  • napkins
  • dinner plates
  • hot dishes
  • cold dishes (or cold then hot)
  • salad
  • bread
  • relishes
  • forks

If you can, leave enough room between the serving dishes so guests can put down their plates while serving themselves.

NOW we're talking. It has always been a pet peeve of mine to have the eating utensils laid out at the beginning of the buffet. My fingers get all pinched and cramped. I winced thinking about it.

And how about the idea to provide room to set your plate down while serving? Genius.

I can go to bed and sleep peacefully now that I know I've passed along some tips that will bring relief to cramped fingers everywhere.


Packrat said...

Cramped fingers. People milling around not going with the flow. Trying to juggle everything. Then trying to squeeze into a chair between two other people while holding a plate of food. Hmmmm. I think I like that organization bit.

Anonymous said...

Great tips for the next big family dinner! The placement of silverware was always a problem for me too! Trying to juggle too much stuff and fill a plate...it's just too much work! You could starve to death before getting it all done without dumping it! :)

Tess said...

haha... buffets are so tricky! I was at a wedding recently where the buffet tables (3 of 'em) were brilliantly set up, with one hitch. The traffic flow was such that after passing by the last table, the line had to cut through itself to get back to the seating area!

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