Nonna Elvira's galateo: etiquette advice

Every time I go through my grandmother's recipe books and notes I discover new elements that show my grandparents full care and respect for food.

She loved cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, he was a true gourmet, and they both loved sharing this passion for food with relatives and friends organising impressive dinners in Via Ritiro 7, either in the domed dining room of the house or, during summer, in the terrazza overlooking Saint George cathedral.

Presentation was as important as food quality and taste to Nonna Elvira, her food looked always beautiful and she taught this care for details to all of us.

Today, going through her books, I found her notes on how to set the table, with a distinction between formal and informal dinner, accompanied by her own sketches, which I found irresistibly sweet. You can see the pictures below.

It is also common, to find a small sketch at the bottom of her recipes which explains how to arrange food on a serving plate like in the other photo below.

The explanations written at the bottom of each sketch on the "how to set the table" notes read:

"Napkin on the plate for a gala dinner."

"Napkin on the right side of the plate for an informal dinner.2

"Napkin on the left side of the dinner if starters were served before sitting at the table."

So from now on, I will go Nonna Elvira style even to set the table.

Who knows what else I am going to find in her notes;)! It is always a great surprise and I promise I will keep sharing it with you.

Written on
August 4, 2010