"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" LdV

Thursday, 10 December 2015

DRESSING A TABLE : THE FRENCH WAY

DRESSING A TABLE : THE FRENCH WAY

Since my tender childhood, I have seen with delight my grandparents, parents or aunts preparing a table in a formal or informal ways. The formal took hours and the repast itself with several courses was a long way until the end of the afternoon… It may well explain why I have created a blog with easy and quick recipes…

Christmas was the highlight in my old family house with the gathering of all my cousins and Co approaching sometimes the 100 in numbers and decibels!

Since then I always receive and I absolutely adore it. Especially now living in Great-Britain, I tend to be homesick every now and then and dive with delectation in my French cooking, reassured by the family China I have inherited…

The table in France is an art de vivre, a new "monument" of culture and héritage recognized by UNESCO. Where good manners and politeness are extensively tested around : we eat but talk, observe and listen…


FROM THEN...

It's at the beginning of the Middle Ages that the lying down meals are permanently abandoned to the sitting position...But there are absolutely no table manners : you eat with your fingers and thrown the remaining to the dogs around (classy...).

The art of the table appeared in 1530 in nobility only. It follows a novel from Erasme "Civilitas Morum Puerilium"(the moral civility of children).
From there, to be invited became a show where everyone wanted to be seen...
It's Catherine de Medicis, Henri II's wife who brought the "2 teeth" fork, fine China and glassware. 

Thanks to Versailles, the French Service (knives, forks, napkin, plates and glasses in good orders) appeared in the 17century. Richly decorated, highly structured, festive meals are organized in form of lavish buffet...

Finally, at the revolution, the Chefs who were serving the aristocracy are forced to leave their place. But some opened restaurants in Paris... So everyone could access the food reserved then for nobility... Paris became the culinary capital in Europe...

TO...
Me!
Now, you arrived at my table...
The table I prepare when I invite my friends.
The table I will find if I am invited by my friends as well : a table dressed the French way by French people.

 
 

CHAMPAGNE ?

How would you like your Champagne served ?
In a Flûte or in a Coupe ?
In fact, you should served the Champagne in a "rugby ball"shape wine glass.
If you would like to push the boundaries a bit further, it will even depends on the champagne you will served : pink, white, Vintage...

 
The flûte is good for air and bubbles...






With a Coupe, the bouquet escaped in all directions so you cannot really grasp the nuances of your lovely champagne...


Verdict : YOU will choose...the one you prefer...


THE GLASSES (Les verres)
From left to right : from the largest to the smallest...

  The largest glass on the table is reserved for water and it is placed on the left. 



The other glasses are placed to the right of it. 




   The second glass will be for the red wine

 
 The third glass will be for the white wine


 
THE CUTLERY (Les couverts) AND THE PLATES (Les assiettes)

The cutlery are placed in the order in which you will be using them.
The cutlery furthest from the plate are the ones you will begin with.
The forks are placed to the left of the plate, with the teeth pointing down (it is called à la française).
It shows as well the arms of your family.
The knives are placed to the right of the plate with the cutting surfaces pointing towards the plate.
The spoon is placed face down and to the left of the plate.
The dessert fork, the little spoon and dessert knife are always above the plate.
Obviously, plates should be changed between courses. 
Only the salad could be served in the same dish as the main course.

The dinner plate



 The dinner knife (on the right) with the dessert knife (above the plate)



The fork and the dinner spoon (on the left)




 The soup plate, the cutlery and the napkin (always on the right)
 FORGET about paper ones PLEASE!



The dessert plate with the dessert spoon and dessert fork (above)




IT'S TIME TO GO...
At the end of the evening, offer your guests a little fruit juice, they should (normally) understand that it is time to go home...




DO NOT !
- As a women, never, ever refill your glass of wine yourself! Men are responsible to serve you.
- Never cut the salad (or eggs, pasta) with a knife (your education will be revealed at this precise moment...).
- Please, don't say "Bon appétit!". Which means literally "I wish you a very good intestinal transit".

GOOD TO KNOW
If you wish to offer flowers to your host, send them before with a few words of thanks. Believe me, it's not easy to deal with several bouquets that must be prepared and put in vases when you have many thinks to prepare at the same time when you are receiving...



Merci Jeanne-Baptistine pour tout...




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