Monday, December 19, 2016

Faking A Grand Table

Set forth a groaning board by copying the original groaning board. It was a board. In the middle ages, planks laid across trestles formed the table for a hall house. There is no difference between that and the hollow-core door set across a pair of folding plastic sawhorses that lives on the south wall in my family parlor. A folding table from an office supply embodies the spirit of the medieval original.

Disguise the structure by draping it to the floor with a painter's cloth. Finesse the corner excess so that no one trips on it. There are charming pastel cloths in plastic bonded to paper. Brown kraft paper will do, and the putty-colored low thread count cotton version has become a furnishing staple in my interior. I would use a plastic tarp if it seemed to make sense. A mylar emergency blanket would be spectacular under the right circumstances.

Top the table skirt with a waterproof layer to protect it from stains, and add an upper cloth for the meal in question. "Cloth" can read "more paper"-guests enjoy writing on the table covering. You can set out a glass of markers or crayons.

Add tea lights in faceted glass canning jars or salvage from the recycling bin. Carefully folded paper towels will challenge no decent sensibilities. Plain white paper plates send a dignified message. Substantial plastic forks and spoons are better than nothing and much better than cheesy ones. They might cost more than a handful of stainless from the local thrift store, though. I appreciate a consistent appearance. Disposable chop sticks make short work of green salad. Fold a twist of paper to use as a chop stick support. Plan a menu that does not call for a table knife.

Go truly medieval by asking guests to bring their own cutlery. Go Afro by asking them to bring their own chair.

Serve in new brown bags with the tops folded into a double hem. Turn cardboard cartons inside out to their clean brown side and line them with foil or plastic. Decorate the table with flowers from the grocery chain simply trimmed and laid on the surface. Trim weary petals from bargain flowers. Straightforward place cards written on the back of business cards allow strategic seating. 

A buffet sidesteps seating. Crowding adds fun to a carefully considered presentation -30-




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