In all of the bustle around holiday gatherings, I love being assigned to setting the table.
For get-togethers large and small, I envision the table long before the day, composing all of the pieces in my mind, sometimes even sketching possibilities. In Korean culture, all of the main dishes are presented to the table at once – but at the French table, composition has a more extended meaning and the table setting becomes a map of what is to come.
If I’ve collected various greens, flowers or herbs, I’ll start by decorating the table with whatever theme I had in mind, watching it unfold piece by piece. And when it comes to setting each place, I have carried my own secret weapon for years: my trusty table-setting blueprint. Following its outline gives me a sense of rhythm and assembly – much like the feeling I get when I’m designing Aplat – pacing the order of things to come and offering a path through the meal, one instrument at a time. I love to watch people slowly circling, going from setting to setting to find their place at the table, anticipating a convivial hour or two in good company.
So if you need a spark of inspiration, or even a hail mary pass, consider this table-setting blueprint my party favor to you. For color inspiration, think about Persimmon – a warm, inviting shade that’s perfect for this time of year – and with a list of cooking assignments for your friends and family, you’re ready to go.
On your marks, get set!