Part of the fun of having a dinner party or just dinner is setting the table which can be a creative opportunity for anyone. But I’m not creative you say. That was my line until someone pointed out that creativity is just a way of looking at things.
To set a table, start out by thinking about the meal. Is it casual? Formal? Does the food lend itself to a theme or invite the use of certain colors? Once you’ve got a thought going, open your cabinets and see what works together, not necessarily matches but leads to the unexpected. Here, for example, the meal was to be comfort food, one dish served in a bowl with a salad on the side. It would have been fine to simply put the bowl and salad plate on a placemat, but considering that the meal itself was not very colorful, mostly brown with a touch of color in the salad, I thought the table needed a little pizazz.
Opening cabinet doors I found that these Fiesta style plates in a variety of colors were a perfect complement to a set of pottery that would work great for the food stuffs. Then, these seldom used handpainted glasses jumped right out off the shelf as a perfect finish. All that was needed were napkins and placemats that tied the whole look together.
The result was casual and added color to a meal that was rather plebeian. In my opinion, everything tastes better if it is presented attractively, and diners’ responses reflect not just an appreciation for the food but for the total package.