Southern table settings are like English formal table settings. There’s a history of gracious living, etiquette and tradition that helped to set the standard for formal and informal gatherings. Welcome, Friends to today’s Blog. I wanted to share a wonderful book with you. It’s not a new book….. but one I have just discovered. I’m a fan of Southern Lady Magazine and really enjoy their beautiful table settings, recipes, etc.

In 2007 Southern Lady published Gracious Tables by Phyllis Hoffman. I was a bit skeptical that a book published so many years ago could still be relevant. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a terrific primer for table setting.

The book is filled with practical tips and information that is timeless such as the chart above. There are similar information sheets for crystal and flatware. How to combine elements for centerpieces, marrying tablecloths and china and how to care for your silver are presented in a friendly, conversational tone.

Putting together beautiful china and crystal to achieve a particular style is well-represented. There are so many ideas in this book and the pictures so beautiful you will want to spend time exploring the many options presented.

How about gathering at the kitchen counter for a simple meal and dessert or, perhaps, a cup of tea. This simple blue, white and yellow combination is easy and appealing. It is casual but still with an element of formality that is especially “Southern”. I could happily sit here for an afternoon drinking tea.

Outdoor settings are included. I love the use of family quilts to dress the table. Gathered flora from the garden graces the table in this casual setting as a quick and easy centerpiece.

The book is available new and used. I paid $4 for my copy and it is in excellent condition. If you don’t already have it, I think you would really enjoy this reference book for gracious table setting. As an added bonus it includes lots of delicious recipes that compliment the various table settings. Although I chose to feature the more casual settings today, there are lots and lots of more formal settings specific to holidays and special events.

You might be able to find this book at your public library as well. Enjoy!

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