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The Art Of The Table Paperback – June 21, 2013

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The Art Of The Table + Elements of the Table: A Simple Guide for Hosts and Guests + The Mere Mortal's Guide to Fine Dining: From Salad Forks to Sommeliers, How to Eat and Drink in Style Without Fear of Faux Pas
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Do you know how to set the table? Worry about your dinner manners? Finally, with The Art of the Table, Suzanne von Drachenfels comes to the rescue with a truly comprehensive guide to the correct use of tableware and confidence-building information about proper dining etiquette. Von Drachenfels, a former Tabletop Consultant for dinnerware makers Fitz & Floyd, defines the vocabulary of tableware and explains the selection, use, and care of dinnerware, flatware, stemware, and table linens. She expertly details the basic service techniques for all types of entertainment, and even includes advice on menu planning. Learn how to read the labels of wine bottles or how to filet a fish at the table; learn where and when to sit down and the proper way to eat finger foods.

Spicing up the how-to text are fascinating tidbits of social and culinary history. Who knew, for instance, that the first napkin was a lump of dough or that ancient Egyptian feasts often concluded with a coffin laid out with an imitation skeleton to remind diners to appreciate the bounteous gifts of life? The author reveals the origins of everyday expressions--such as "eating humble pie"--and covers the history of table manners to shed light on the commonsense reasons behind today's customs. Food service professionals--restaurateurs, service staff, and caterers--will find the book an indispensable guide to the correct way to set a table and present food, but anyone who has a need or yearning to know the nitty-gritty of table setting, table manners, and tableware will be sure to find answers to all of their questions and more in this exhaustive reference book. --Robin Donovan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Nancy Dunnan coauthor of The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette Suzanne von Drachenfels's charming book, The Art of the Table, combines the history of what we eat with how we eat in a way that will appeal to those who entertain, those who are interested in the history of civilization, and those who simply want to know what the rules are. -- Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1481297473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481297479
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,104,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Susan Shwartz on July 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My best friend, who collects silver, recommended this book to me; the combination of THE ART OF THE TABLE and eBay is a dangerous, but pleasurable one.
I was afraid it would simply be an extremely high-ticket etiquette manual. While it explains what fork to use -- and I never knew there were so many kinds of forks! -- it also explains the history and craftsmanship behind flatware and dishes with a fascination I could well appreciate and a level of knowledge I had to respect.
The level of care and detail is intimidating. I rather doubt I'll ever entertain in diplomatic circles, which is kind of a shame because now I'd know what to do! For daily life, I'd say more care&feeding of tableware is definitely indicated, and I'd be glad of a maintenance section: what to do when things scratch, things break, etc. And I'm going to put my sterling in the dishwasher ANYHOW.
Reading this book is like looking at holiday catalogues: you understand why they used to be called wishbooks. I'm proud, however, that my friends say I set a lovely table (they're good guests, which is an art in itself), and I'm determined now NOT to keep the "good stuff" stored away because it's too good to use.
von Drachenfels has added to my quality of life, as well as my credit-card balance. I'd say I came out the winner.
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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book as it contains tons of useful information. You don't need to read it all, if you wish, but, it's worth having it for reference.
The Art of the Table helped me in making my mind about the pieces of tableware I should buy considering my "entertaining" style and the courses I usually serve to my guests. She is not pretentious or snob and clearly advises you to buy the best quality of tableware you can afford and forget about buying silver, for example, if you simply don't have the budget.
I also love the detail. It's the first book of the many I own on table settings that tells me what are the differences between the three possible coffee cups you can buy (coffee, after-dinner coffee and demitasse). Not bad as I live in Italy and Italians are crazy about coffee!!
My advice: simply buy it.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Manley VINE VOICE on November 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is filled with details about dinning, plate service, silverware, glassware, and so much more. Granted much of the information contained in this book is not useful in everyday life, as the progression of tableware is much beyond what we normally use, the extra tidbits of information is very enlightening. I like this book because it explains everything you could possibly encounter. I found that the pictures of silverware, and tableware to be very helpful.
Drachenfels writes with a great style that makes the reading effortless. She writes a thorough history of tableware, and manners how they have developed through the ages. Sometimes the reasoning behind a specific manner can be very intriguing. While the book calls itself a complete guide to table setting, manners, and tableware, I feel its main focus is on the tableware and table setting. This is not the complete guide to manners.
The book is a fascinating read if you are interesting in dinning, and is very helpful for setting a table, and selection of tableware. The book is well written, easy to read, and has many illustrations for examples of what is being discussed. The Art of the Table is also very interesting from a historical perspective and how dinning has evolved in the West over the years.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book makes for great reading and reference for anyone who loves silver, china, crystal, manners, entertaining, or the history of dining. There is plenty of good information for novices looking for their first patterns, as well. The history of the evolution of sterling silver designations, and the differences among types of china and stoneware are well described and interesting. Especially helpful is practical advice for choosing and combining patterns. The book is informative even for those already familiar with the topics.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Johnson on August 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Gently and sensibly, this author explains the purpose of formal and informal dining and guides her readers towards a satisfying dining experience. If this book is not considered THE ultimate informative guidebook on the subject, it should be.

The majority of Americans do not observe the strict protocol of formal dining but everyone will benefit from the information found here. A well laid table says "welcome" to both family members and guests. Setting a pleasant informal table, serving food graciously, and enjoying mealtimes are all covered here. Readers will learn how to choose and properly care for

dinnerware, flatware, and glassware. Menu planning and table manners are also discussed in thorough and helpful ways. Whether you want to enhance a simple family meal, plan a buffet luncheon, or entertain royalty, von Drachenfels outlines each contingency step by step. Formal and informal dining in American and Continental style are thoroughly explained in easy-to-understand terms with simple pictures to accompany each topic. If you ever wondered what all the forks were for, or worried over proper placement of soiled napkins, you'll find those answers here.

The Art of the Table is much more than helpful and informative. The author includes a fascinating history of eating utensils, serving ware, glassware, tea, wine, and coffee. And in the center of the book are full color pictures of both formal and informal table settings. In essence, this book is like the dining experience von Drachenfels extols -- a memorable experience. It would be the ideal gift for brides, and is a must have for anyone wishing to learn more about The Art of the Table.
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