Napkins and napkin etiquette:

NOTE: None of these rules applies when the paper napkin has been retrieved from a dispenser. However, if you find yourself at a more formal event, or you would like to treat your family to a special table setting, nothing classes up the joint like a folded cloth napkin. Here are a few “rules” most isissies know but might need a refresher course:

  1. If there is a napkin-use it! Leaving it neatly folded next to your plate just screams your upbringing in a barn.
  2. When the host/hostess picks up their napkin, it is a signal for you to do the same-any sooner and it would appear that you are usurping host duties – which is the farthest thing from your mind – you just want to eat.
  3. If the napkin is larger than your lap, fold accordingly. However, this should be done with the smallest of gestures-no fanfare or shaking the napkin to release it from its beautiful folds. Also, speaking of small movements, the napkin is not intended to exfoliate your face-just small dabs around your mouth will do.
  4. And where does one place the napkin?   Always, always, always resting on your lap-not tucked into your pants or belt and only tuck into your shirt collar if you are in Italy and the entire family or eating establishment has done so. Don’t be a trendsetter at your boss’s annual formal dinner.
  5. We have moved beyond the communal napkin, which really is just a tablecloth, made popular during the Renaissance. Don’t use the edge of the tablecloth to rid yourself of that last bit of butter sauce on your fingers.
  6. I hate to mention it but please don’t blow your nose into your napkin – or, for that matter, anyone else’s either.

Here are some fun folds to make your table a little more special than everyday:

Flare fail-I didn't have any heavy starch and this fold so needs that.  Wanted to share how you can do a lousy fold, but put it in a pretty glass and it looks kind of okay : )

Flare fail-I didn’t have any heavy starch and this fold so needs that. Wanted to share how you can do a lousy fold, but put it in a pretty glass and it looks kind of okay : )

Pyramid fold with little wooden ornament tucked in fold.  Guests can take the ornament home as a memento of the evening.

Pyramid fold with little wooden ornament tucked in fold. Guests can take the ornament home as a memento of the evening.

White battenberg lace napkin folded into pocket for silverware

White battenberg lace napkin folded into pocket for silverware

Pyramid fold with a sparkly pick tucked in the fold.

Pyramid fold with a sparkly pick tucked in the fold.

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