Even though I wasn't all that interested in cooking and food preparation, I was very interested in Kitchen Design and any and everything that had to do with Setting the Table. And so began a lifetime of collecting Dishes, Glassware, Tablecloths, Napkins, Crystal, Pottery and you name it in the realm of Vintage to Retro Table Settings. (from...AtoZ Letter H~Home Economics...Heloise Who?)
Although, written for 2015's April Challenge, the reference was from my 1964 Home Economics Class where 'Proper Table Setting' was introduced regardless of how many matching knives, forks and spoons your mother had in her silverware drawer.
Once you learned the art of setting out proper cutlery and tired to make sense of why 3 different sizes of glasses were necessary when your Mama served Texas Sweet Tea in a mason jar...you were told, "As hostess of your Table Setting you are the model for using EACH and EVERY piece in the setting".
Imagine my eyes rolling at the idea of unfolding a paper napkin and tucking it under my chin. At our table, Mama brought a dish towel to pass around the table, used her apron and made sure baby brother had a bib.
The next, and in my mind, most important lesson learned was Table Etiquette/Manners. Even though my Mama only had the basic three pieces of silverware, mason jar glasses, and a dish towel to share, she was big on 'elbows off the table', don't shovel in your food, chew with your mouth closed, and always say, "Please pass the peas."
"Please pass the peas" was about the only conversation at our table as my Dad was a firm believer in 'Chew with your mouth shut and Clean your Plate'. When your plate was clean, you were expected to clean it again at the sink with a conversation of, "Who's turn is it to do the dishes?". It usually was mine...especially when I could not clean my plate of the boiled okra.
The idea of adding ONE more THING to a Table Setting would have sent Heloise into a Table Spin, had Mama trying to fit it into her 'Junk Utensil Drawer' and my Dad scraping it off the plate into the trash...along with my boiled okra!