Dinner is Served 

Dear Minerva,

I am by no means an upper-class person. I wasn't raised with the best of everything nor pretend to be. My fiance is from a much more affluent background. I love him very much but I am uncomfortable around his family because I feel they look down on me. I realize a lot of it is my own insecurity so to try and get over it, I have invited his parents over for dinner. I'm a good cook, but frankly, what should I do about the table setting? I don't know where to begin.


—Place Upsetting

Dear Place Upsetting,

Alas, society has given us much anxiety about class difference, though thankfully, not nearly as much as in past generations. We are used to seeing grand place settings in movies and in the upper echelons of society. Those kinds of settings are really only necessary for very formal affairs. A good rule to follow is to only set the table for the amount of courses you will be having. Forks always go on the left side of the plate with knives (blades always facing the plate) and spoons to the right. The glass (or glasses depending on formality) are always placed near the upper right side of the plate with the bread and butter plate and knife near the upper left side. Use this as your basic guide and don't be surprised if people, even those in a higher economic class than you, still get it confused.

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