If you’re an enthusiast of classic tablescapes, you’ll recognize the brand names below. The epitome of timeless, fete-throwing style, these two enchanting patterns are our top picks.
Botanic Roses by Portmeirion
This pattern is a surefire hosting win. Light, cheerful, and ever brunch-ready, its fresh blooms infuse a little English sophistication into every meal.
Blue Italian by Spode
Designed in 1816, Spode’s signature style features scenes from the Italian countryside and a border inspired by Japanese art. It’s stunning over a crisp white tablecloth – or even when peeking through a glass cabinet.
With each generation, things change – holiday dinners are hosted at a different person’s house, or a meal that was traditionally a sit-down affair evolves into a buffet-style free-for-all. And as tradition shifts, so does hosting etiquette. What still applies to the modern-day gathering? Here, find four classic etiquette myths – and the modern truths behind them:
Myth #1: Traditional holiday menus are a necessity.
Who says the holiday potatoes have to be mashed rather than roasted, baked, or scalloped? You’re the host – so feel free to change up your dishes and recipes. Just be sure to share your menu plans with any traditionalists (or vegetarians, or guests with food allergies) who might protest. If it won’t be a real holiday dinner to your mother-in-law when she can’t have her favorite fig-preserve appetizer, let her bring it.
Myth #2: The bar must be stocked with every kind of alcohol and mixer.
It’s not always feasible to keep a bottle of every liquor known to man. Relieve the pressure by mixing up a signature sangria or cocktail for the event, just like at a wedding reception. Stock the ingredients for that one drink, plus a couple of different beers and both red and white wines. Add a few essentials – vodka, rum, tequila – for guests who like it straight or on the rocks, and you’ll have something to please everyone.
Myth #3: Paper and plasticware should always be shunned.
It is true that linen napkins, matching plates, and attractive silverware are the norm for a fancy dinner. But if you’re hosting family and friends in a more casual setting – especially if children are involved – it’s not uncouth to go disposable and lay down some colorful paper napkins, high-quality paper plates, and those metallic-hued plastic forks. Just stick to your décor’s color palette and give thanks for having fewer dishes to wash.
Myth #4: The more elaborate the better.
Rather than setting the table with every fork and spoon in the set – widely considered an outdated (and confusing) practice – it’s more than okay to start with only enough to get guests through the main course. Cutlery for later courses, like a dessert spoon, can be offered along with the dish. Also, a simple yet thoughtfully designed table can be more functional and just as beautiful as an elaborate setup.
Remember that entertaining has one primary goal: pleasure, for your guests and yourself. Do what is comfortable, fun, and thoughtful – regardless of any supposed “rules” – and you can’t go wrong.
By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer
Have any other classic hosting wisdom you love to ignore? Sound off in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.
Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.
Been hoarding canned pumpkin puree since the Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2011? Yeah, me too. These recipes are a perfect opportunity to use some up – without falling back on pie.
Don’t get me wrong. A good pumpkin pie is the king of autumn desserts. But compared to these dishes from our copy team’s pumpkin party? There’s no contest. Click on any (or all) of the savory and sweet titles or thumbnails below for a printable card you can add to your recipe box.
1 pound dried cavatappi or penne rigate pasta
1 quart whole milk
1 stick butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
8 ounces apple-smoked Gruyère cheese, grated
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Directions 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until just al dente. Drain, set aside. 2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, heat milk in a small saucepan over low heat, being careful not to let it boil or burn. 3. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until combined, about 2–3 minutes. Add in the milk, whisking until smooth and thick, about 3–5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Gruyère, Cheddar, and Gorgonzola cheeses, pumpkin puree, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground mustard, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper. 4. Add the pasta and stir until evenly coated. Pour into one 10” x 14” baking dish, or use two slightly smaller ones. 5. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in the microwave, then mix with the panko and Pecorino Romano. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta and bake for 30–40 minutes, until top is golden brown and bubbly.