The following points must be remembered when a meal is to be served: The dining-room must be clean, well aired, sufficiently lighted, and in good order.
The table must be perfectly clean and covered with a clean white cover (table-cloth, doilies, paper napkins, or oil-cloth).
A vase of flowers or leaves or a small potted plant, in the centre of the table, will help to make it attractive.
The table should be prepared with everything necessary for serving the meal, but only those foods should be placed on it that will not be spoiled by standing. If there is danger of the food attracting flies, cover it carefully.
Plates for everyone who is to partake of the meal should be arranged at equal distances from one another, and half an inch from the edge of the table.
The knife should be placed at the right of the plate with the cutting edge toward the plate, and one inch from the edge of the table.
The fork should be placed at the left of the plate with the tines turned up, and one inch from the edge of the table.
The spoon should be placed, bowl upward, at the right of the plate, to the right of the knife. It should be placed one inch from the edge of the table. Spoons and forks for serving should be placed at the right and left of the dish to be served, or in another convenient position. No one should have to use the personal fork or spoon for serving.
The napkins should be folded simply and placed at the left of the fork.
The tumbler should be placed at the upper end of the knife.
The cups and saucers should be placed at the right of the plate with the handle of the cup toward the right.
The bread-and-butter plate, if used, should be placed at the upper left hand of the fork.
The salt-cellars and pepper-shakers should be placed near the centre of the table or at the sides, where they can be conveniently reached. Individual salt-cellars, if used, should be placed immediately in front of the individual plate.
The chairs should be placed at the table after it is set. Care should be taken not to put them so close to it that it will be necessary to move them after they are occupied.