For an Informal Lunch
- A casual afternoon meal offers a chance to relax and have a little fun, so all you’ll need is the basics. Take the opportunity to show a bit of personality by mixing and matching textures, patterns, and colors. This table features a patterned salad plate on top of a contrasting dinner plate. A charger isn’t required for such a casual setting.
- The flatware aligns more or less with the bottom of the dinner plate.
- No matter the occasion, make sure the knife’s blade points toward the plate. “It’s impolite to allow blades to face other diners,” says Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of etiquette expert Emily Post and the author of Emily Post’s Wedding Parties (Collins, $23, amazon.com).
- Feel free to use tumblers in place of wineglasses. It’s OK for stemmed and stemless glasses to coexist.
- Place salt-and-pepper shakers near the center of the table. If someone asks you to pass the salt, hand her the pepper, too. The pair should always travel together.