Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

6070

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Bill Spohn » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:29 pm

So a small point I'd agree, but an annoying one to a perfectionist, and no amount of searching through Emily Post etc. seems to reveal the answer.

So you have a long dining table with guests arrayed on either long side. You also have a pair of candelabra, with three candles in each. What is the proper orientation for the candelabra - facing (i.e. the candelabra at right angles so all three candles are visible) to the ends of the table, or arranged in line so the people on the sides of the table see three, not one candle in each?

Enquiring minds want to know? My wife asked me and I didn't have a good answer for her.
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

8226

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:54 am

No one at either end of the table?
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

6070

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Bill Spohn » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:01 am

No, big table that can seat 14 and we have 8 so four on each side. Trying to avoid the old English movie scenario with Mr at one end, Mrs at the other and servant running stuff back and forth!
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

8226

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:30 am

Bill Spohn wrote:No, big table that can seat 14 and we have 8 so four on each side. Trying to avoid the old English movie scenario with Mr at one end, Mrs at the other and servant running stuff back and forth!


Yeah, nothing says "bad relationship" like a very long table with a husband at one end and a wife at the other.

Just so I have this right, you're asking if the candelabra should be in line with the long sides of the table or the short sides?
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

6070

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Bill Spohn » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:33 am

Mike Filigenzi wrote:Just so I have this right, you're asking if the candelabra should be in line with the long sides of the table or the short sides?


Precisely!
User avatar
User

Jeff Grossman

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

4077

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:55 am

Well, I've hunted all the usual sources and also came up empty-handed. Part of the problem is that a Victorian table would be set with an epergne -- a centerpiece with attached candelabra arms -- so there was no need to develop an etiquette around the placement of straight-line three-arm candelabra.

My hunch is that the arms go with the length of the table, not across it, for two reasons: firstly, it is better for the flow of the table decor, a topic broached by Mrs. Beeton, and, secondly, in case your table is not especially wide, you must take care that the table decor does not intrude on guests' conversation or lines of sight to each other.
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

32462

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Jenise » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:55 am

Since Jeff did the instruction search, I went looking for examples in Google Images. Found many formal dinners at Buckingham Palace, as expected, but they were no help: their candelabras (with ugly little shades) are all foursomes, so the same from every angle.

Among linear style candelabras, MOST of the time, the candelabra's were positioned in line with the short sides of the table (see picture below). The only exception I saw was where small candelabras were placed either side of a center floral arrangement and where they did not impede diners' views of each other across the table.

tablesetting-17.jpg
tablesetting-17.jpg (106.86 KiB) Viewed 2388 times
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

8226

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:05 am

The one older source I found stated that the candelabras were to go halfway between the centerpiece and each end of the table, but did not mention their orientation. There seem to be conflicting issues here. I tend to go along with Jeff in thinking that keeping them in line with the long sides of the table flows better. On the other hand. some will have a candelabra between themselves and the person across the table from them. Maybe this didn't matter for old-style formal dinners as the hostess was supposed to insure that you were seated next to folks you would want to converse with, so there would be no need to talk across the table to someone?
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

6070

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Bill Spohn » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:39 am

Thanks, people.

This arose when my wife queried me when we were setting the table and (unusually) I didn't have a good answer for her. Glad I wasn't just being obtuse when I didn't know which way (if any) was 'correct'. Figured for sure I'd be able to find the answer in some Victorian guide somewhere.

Maybe I'll put one candelabra going one way and the other, the other way and listen to the ensuing discussion to see if there is a consensus! Assuming they notice.....

PS - the candelabras in question are these below. They are adaptable - the finisher in the centre allows use of only two candles (not sure why you'd want to) and you can also remove the whole upper section to leave a pair of candlesticks for single candles - I could go that way but refuse to do so just because I can't decide which way the 3 candle versions should orientate!

PPS - did you know that the removable 'drip guard' that fits into the socket at end of each arm is called a bobeche?

PPPS - that reminds me of a song from the late 50s by the Edsels - 'Rama lama bobeche....'

Image
User avatar
User

Jeff Grossman

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

4077

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:10 pm

Nice silver!

Yes, we have several different styles of bobeches at my house. We've just recently swapped-out the blue cut crystal ones for the seasonally-appropriate delicate glass ones with etched snowflakes.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

6070

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Bill Spohn » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:23 pm

I figured out that these candlesticks are 6 way!

1 - bases only
2 - base with small plain candle holder that sockets in - raises it a couple of inches
3 - intermediate section added
4 - same as 3 but remove fancy bobeche and stick in the plain tulip
5 - add arms with three candles
6 - put finials in centre candle spot and just use two candles

Your glass bobeshes are the more typical material and make a considerable change in impression. I guess you get the silver variants mostly with silver candlesticks.

I seem to have a slew of candlesticks around - including one simple oak one made by an ancestor from a ship wrecked in the Great Lakes in 1812 (haven't researched whether it was owned by, or sunk by the perfidious ex-colonials to our South) and scavenged for wood to make the candlestick a century later.
User avatar
User

Jeff Grossman

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

4077

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:37 pm

Jenise wrote:(see picture below)

Those are four-arm candelabra.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

6070

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Bill Spohn » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:46 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:
Jenise wrote:(see picture below)

Those are four-arm candelabra.


Plus the centre for a total of five candles per assembly. Those extravagant Royals and their over the top candle budget! Probably set in stone in the palace budget log back in the 19th century when candles were a primary source of light, before gaslighting took over..
User avatar
User

Jeff Grossman

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

4077

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:06 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Those extravagant Royals and their over the top candle budget! Probably set in stone in the palace budget log back in the 19th century when candles were a primary source of light, before gaslighting took over..

While looking up your candelabra question, I stumbled across a very interesting explanation as to why it was sometimes recommended to darken the wicks on new candles (i.e., light them briefly):

When electric lighting first came to the home it was, as is every innovation, kinda expensive. You might have dinner guests who could not afford electric lights and who, therefore, ate dinner by candelight. Thus, you would show that you use your candles, too, so as not to make them feel self-conscious about extending a return invitation to you.
User avatar
User

Bill Spohn

Rank

He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'

Posts

6070

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

Location

Vancouver BC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Bill Spohn » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:08 pm

Jeff - interesting etiquette note - I made sure to pre-blacken the wicks before Jenise arrived to avoid making her feel self conscious!

And the unanimous response to the question of which way the candelabras should go is along the length of the table, not across.
User avatar
User

Jeff Grossman

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

4077

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:42 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Jeff - interesting etiquette note - I made sure to pre-blacken the wicks before Jenise arrived to avoid making her feel self conscious!

You're a gracious host, Bill. (I know Jenise actually eats by the light of an Edison bulb attached to her stationary bike but, clearly, we are all accustomed to her pedalling throughout the meal.)
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

32462

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Table Setting Etiquette Question

by Jenise » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:11 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote:Jeff - interesting etiquette note - I made sure to pre-blacken the wicks before Jenise arrived to avoid making her feel self conscious!

You're a gracious host, Bill. (I know Jenise actually eats by the light of an Edison bulb attached to her stationary bike but, clearly, we are all accustomed to her pedalling throughout the meal.)


:)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider] and 5 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign
cron