The Proper Table Setting for a Spaghetti Dinner

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Your name does not have to be Emily Post to set a proper table for a family dinner or dinner party. Dressing up your table immediately adds elegance to your evening.

Even though spaghetti carries a notorious reputation for being messy and difficult to eat, a proper place setting gives your guests ample opportunity to dine properly and in style.


The full dinner menu will dictate the cutlery necessary for your spaghetti dinner. If you are serving soup prior to your main course and dessert following, then be sure to include the proper flatware. Place the salad fork, the smaller fork, and the dinner fork side by side to the left of the dinner plate. To the right of the dinner plate, place your dinner knife, teaspoon and soup spoon, in that order. Directly above the dinner plate place a cake fork laid sideways with the tines pointing to the right. Above the cake fork, place a dessert spoon parallel to the fork with the rounded end pointing to the left of the plate. A bread knife must be placed diagonally on the bread plate with the cutting edge away from the dinner plate.

Table Linens and Plates

The linens for your spaghetti may be the key to the success of your meal. If your guests are constantly concerned about making a mess, they will not be able to relax and enjoy themselves. To avoid guest stress, choose a darkly coloured table cloth and napkins that will not show accidental splatters. Fold the cloth napkins to form a rectangle and place them to the left of the salad fork. Place the dinner plate directly in front of each chair at the table. Place the salad plate on top of the dinner plate. Position the bread plate 3 inches above the salad fork and dinner fork.

Table Manners

Spaghetti must be eaten with a fork, not a spoon. Depending on the length and width of the noodle, you may wind the noodle around your fork or cut it. For angel hair or spaghetti pasta, trap three strands of pasta between the tines of your fork and wind the pasta until it forms a bundle around your fork. For fettuccine noodles, cut the noodles so the bites are neat and manageable. At some point during the meal a stray noodle may be hanging out of your mouth; at this time it is proper etiquette to quietly and quickly suck the noodle into your mouth.

Service Etiquette

When serving your guests for your proper spaghetti dinner, serve their plates from the left and remove the dishes from the left. Wait to remove each course until everyone has completed and signals you by placing their knife and fork parallel on their plate. Be sure to keep water glasses and other beverages full the entire meal. If you are serving dessert after your spaghetti dinner, offer coffee and tea. Make sure to respond gracefully in the event of a guest spilling spaghetti on your table linens.