Thursday, September 1, 2011

Help for putting your plates in their place

"It is valuable to know your place, even if that place is temporary." —Dune

Your plates, forks, spoons and glasses do not intuitively "know their place." Human hands must put them in their place. The conventional rules of the European/American formal dinner table can be so confusing. Now there's a guide for the perplexed.

The Kniggerich placemat, helping to re-establish European dinner etiquette. (Kniggerich Cheat Sheet Placemat by llot llov, photo from Charles & Marie)

A German company diagrammed the perfect place setting, with detailed instructions in German to take the stress out of setting the table and maybe injecting a little humor at the same time.

I wish a Korean company would be similarly inspired to create similar place mats or tablecloths so one could set a proper Korean dinner table easily. In the Chosun Dynasty, Koreans had different table settings (called bansang) based on one's rank and wealth. In general, the more bansang, the higher your rank to be able to afford that amount of food.

Imagine if a you had a tablecloth that spelled out exactly where each plate should sit? (Korea.net photo)

There are three common formal Korean place settings:
  • Five-cheop (첩 cheop means dish)
  • Nine-cheop
  • 수라상 surasang, a 12-cheop setting, reserved for the king and queen
The Korea Tourism Organization posted basic diagrams and photos of the Korean place settings. Imagine if you had a tablecloth with these settings already printed on it. Babo-proof Korean table manners.

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