I’m not a particularly picky eater. Seriously. The food could be patio-grilled. It could be straight from the crockpot. It could be gourmet or even takeout. But if you serve it on paper plates with plastic forks and a paper towel for a napkin, you’re gonna lose me.
My husband Jimmy realized this the very first time he asked me over for dinner. We hadn’t been dating long. His place was squeaky clean, fragrant candles glowed invitingly, soft 80s music played…and then he offered me wine in a red Solo cup.
I’ll pause as you imagine my internal scream.
“Ohhhh…” I murmured in a squeaky voice. “Do you have a glass? Of any kind? Even a juice glass?” He dug around and found a heavy beer glass that may or may not have been cleaned in the previous year. I took it. The next time I was invited to dinner, actual wine glasses stood proudly on the counter. And that’s when I knew he was a keeper.
See—anyone who’s special to you deserves the real things at a meal: non-disposable plates, metal utensils, serving bowls, glassware, not-paper-towels napkins. Note that I didn’t list bone China or sterling silver or lead crystal or fine linen. If you have those—great! Use them! But if you don’t, just go with your everyday dishes…that are actual dishes. They don’t even have to match!
And don’t forget the placemats. Everybody deserves a placemat. Yes—even the kids! My brothers and I ate off laminated placemats of Michigan landmarks. There was often a battle for the Mackinac Bridge mat. So fun…and educational! Mom just wiped them clean after meals.
If you’re feeling particularly bold—or if your guest is particularly special—add some flowers and candles. Put your condiments in little bowls or cups. Get completely ridiculous and add a centerpiece. Lose your mind with wine glasses. Voila! Beauty abounds!
Your table doesn’t have to be gorgeous every time, but it’s a great habit to form, educational for kids, and a step up in social dining skills. So, explore your cabinets, assemble the elements, and try it tonight!