Welcoming guests into your home doesn't stop at making delicious food. In fact, how food is served is every bit as important as how the meal actually tastes. And the old etiquette rules of "fork on the left, knife on the right, glasses three centimeters behind the plate" just don't cut it any more. Where you place your forks and spoons is, of course, important, but methods of decorating tables have changed a great deal over time. The TV program "Yemekteyiz" has emphasized table decoration to remind people in Turkey about the importance of this subject.
Suddenly there has been a realization that the gorgeous tables we are used to seeing at weddings and evening functions can also be prepared for guests you have at home. In fact, these days young women even gather special table decor related items in their trousseaus, not just tableware sets and silverware. Tablecloths, laces, beads, special kinds of service plates, napkins, napkin holders, etc. -- many companies, despite the financial crisis atmosphere, can't even fill orders as fast as they are coming in.
Every table has its own style. Try and create harmony between what you are serving and the way your decor is arranged. For example, you could decorate your table in a sea or water theme if you are serving seafood or with copperware from Anatolia if you are serving classic Anatolian fare
All over the world, the way a table is prepared for a meal is seen as very important. In fact, there are even names who have based their careers on this. One of these is famous American personality Martha Stewart. In Turkey, though she is not nearly as widely known, there is Selin Kutucular, who has written a cookbook and is a food stylist. In any case, we spoke with her and collected some notes for you on the latest trends in table decoration.
Tableware and tablecloths are essential for the design of a table, but these days, other details are in the spotlight. For example, napkin holders: It used to be that good napkins would be folded into a triangle or square and placed either on the plate itself or right next to the plate. These days, though, napkins are being placed in napkin holders; it doesn't matter what kind. They can be silver, studded with stones, shiny or even plastic. What matters is that these napkin holders are in fashion right now. Napkins are pulled through the napkin holder and then placed, according to the general style of the table, either on top of a plate or right next to it. These days in Turkey, larger grocery stores carry napkin holders. Or if you want, you can make your own out of metal wire and any pretty beads you might have lying around home.
As for centerpieces, these are no longer the salads, dolmas or pickled foods we used to see before. No, these are now candles and fresh flowers. As for the appetizers we mentioned above, nowadays we see them offered separately to people alongside the main meal, but on special service plates. Of course, we are talking about the evening meal here. If you are talking about lunchtime, then these special service plates can be placed in the center of the table along with the main meal, and everyone can put as much as they want onto their plates.
Another aspect to note on table decor is that people are using many plates and special service elements that aren't a part of their regular tableware sets. Uniquely shaped salad bowls, cake plates and appetizer holders -- these sorts of service plates and holders are particularly useful when it comes to breakfast time. Olive holders that are shaped like long boats are perfect in that they don't take up much space and they look so chic. And very popular right now are mono-colored charger plates people place underneath their regular plates, especially in silver.
This year, linen tablecloths are also extremely popular, in mono-tones or with prints. If your tableware is very highly designed and you have lots on your table already, you might want to consider a mono-colored linen tablecloth for a calmer look.
You can also use the lace and needlework you already have at home to decorate your table beautifully. After all, placing a lace covering on top of a mono-colored satin tablecloth looks wonderful. You can also scatter some colored leaves or colored stones in the center of your tablecloth, according to the season and the decor of your table. Or you could even scatter these carefully between plates, for a very colorful look. Think about using fresh fruit as a decor item, too. A table can be filled with color immediately through a few gorgeous, well-placed plates of fresh fruit.
These days, every table has its own style. Kutucular's suggestion on this subject is to try and create harmony between what you are serving and the way your decor is arranged. For example, you could decorate your table in a sea or water theme if you are serving seafood or with copperware from Anatolia if you are serving classic Anatolian fare.
For tea parties, you can offer up a wide variety of food and still make sure that waste doesn't occur. One idea is to fill the table with different plates of offerings and let people prepare their own plates -- rather than preparing one for them -- thus ensuring that people take only what they want, so food is not wasted.
One more suggestion from Kutucular: Guests appreciate meaningful gestures. For example, each plate could have its own flower, a name card or some sort of message. And of course, the most important detail that must never be forgotten is the principle of hospitality. The hospitality of a host or hostess is just as important as the deliciousness of the food or the beauty of the table decor.