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Although paper napkins have largely replaced cloth napkins in the home, some people still like the more formal look a nicely folded napkin gives to a place setting, and they are a necessity for a formal dinner. There are many different ways to fold napkins. A few are easy and attractive, while some rival origami in their intricacy. However, most people can learn a few easy folds.
One of the easiest ways to fold napkins is the rectangle. Suitable for a more casual table, a square napkin is folded once down the middle, forming a rectangle. This is good for a smaller napkin. For a large napkin, the rectangle is folded into a square and then into another rectangle.
Another good way to fold napkins is the French fold. This fold is elegant, suitable for a formal table, but very easy. Fold the napkin diagonally and orient it so the fold is to the left. Bring the top point down and slightly to the right and below the bottom point. Fold the right-hand, slightly squared-off point down over the first fold and slightly to the right. The result is three folds with a point at the top. This is then draped over the plate.
The standard restaurant silverware roll is another good way to fold napkins. Fold the napkin diagonally, and orient with the long end facing you. Place the silverware in the middle of the napkin, lengthwise, and about an inch from the fold. Fold the long points over the silverware. Starting at that end, roll the silverware into the napkin and leave the pointed end on top. This is a compact roll, good for packing in a picnic, or for a casual lunch setting.
Using a napkin ring is probably the easiest way to fold napkins. With other folds, the napkin should be pressed and lightly starched, but with a napkin ring, it won’t matter. Simply place the napkin flat. Pick it up in the middle, forming a point, and put the pointed end through the napkin ring. Pull the end through about midway, fluff the free ends nicely and the result is a neat place setting.
Numerous other ways to fold napkins are available all over the Internet. Someone wishing to learn this art can practice with square paper towels, or real cloth napkins, if available. Folded napkins do make a table look neat and give it an air of style that goes beyond the usual place settings.
In order to have a nicely folded cloth napkin, one must begin with a good quality napkin in the first place. It is absolutely impossible to get all of those little creases and folds just right when the napkin itself is not sewn properly.
So, if you are going to go through the trouble to host a dinner party with cloth napkins, make sure that you can get a decent set. It doesn’t have to be the hundred dollar a piece French variety, but a moderately priced, linen set will work nicely.
Having a good quality item to work with makes folding a napkin much simpler.
We host the annual Easter dinner at our home, and have for years. Our whole family comes and brings their children with them. For the first few years that we did it we were able to go all out because we had no children of our own.
I became accustomed to setting a beautifully elaborate table, complete with intricately folded cloth napkins. Everyone was always super impressed, and I must admit that I ate it up!
However, the year that my daughter was old enough to walk, that was the end of the napkins and the formal aura all the way around. She climbed on top of the table, so the candelabra disappeared. She got ahold of the
salt shaker and made mini snow mountains, so they were also removed.
She attacked other various things, until she found her favorite demolition item of all – my napkins.
I gave up and now we have an Easter barbeque replete with Chinette and paper napkins for everyone.
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