Welcome to letter N and to this year’s Theme:
The Glories of Tea With Stepheny
It’s a shame really, all the beautiful linens languishing away in sideboards or table cloths, rarely disturbed, hanging on poles in a closet. Women of my generation, gifted with their grandmothers and mothers beautiful things wonder what will happen to these treasures. It is a rare daughter, daughters-in-law, or grandchild who has any interest in handwashing crystal, and sterling silver. With linens, it all comes down to the ironing, doesn’t it? The days of irons slapping away at linen napkins seem a lifetime ago. Wedding gifts have given way to washable, shake the wrinkles out and go table coverings. But today, having tea with Stepheny, we will use our pretty things, crisp, ironed, and old. Enjoy!
Small napkins are used for tea. After sitting, unfold your napkin and place it in your lap after the host or hostess has placed his or her napkin in their lap. Use the napkin to blot your lips as needed and before taking a drink. Place your napkin in your chair if leaving the table during the meal. When the meal is completed, the napkin is folded loosely and placed to the left of your plate or in the center of your place setting if your plate has been cleared. Some etiquette tips talk about setting a table with the napkin under the forks rather than to the left of them. I was raised in the Madeline Thompson Forgue, school of setting tables. (My mother.) In that school, the guest never has to remove the forks to get to the napkin. I was taught that the hostess must begin first, lifting her fork so that her guests may then start their meal. In turn, the hostess finishes last never leaving her guests feeling hurried. And! the napkin edges are always facing the silverware/plate.