Friday, January 16, 2015

Well, crap! I forgot to publish this!

You know, considering I have this day job around here, it takes about a week or ten days to research, write and edit a new post. And then what? I forget to hit the PUBLISH button? For real? I just found this in my drafts folder and I'm furious with myself for not sending it out sooner!

It concerns proper table settings, meant to be posted right before the holidays in case your parents or horrible in-laws were coming and you might have needed a little help in knowing exactly where to put what on the dining room table.

It was inspired by my sister's recent visit to England. She stopped by Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and sent a photo of a wedding party setup in the main dining room. To pay the taxes on such an enormous estate, the Palace apparently hires itself out for weddings, anniversaries, and other miserable occasions like that. (Far be it from me to mention this, but I happen to know there's some luxury Divorce Resorts in the Caribbean that are doing equally as well.)

Anyhow, at first glance the picture was dazzling. Enough tables to seat fifty or sixty guests, with fine china, crystal wine goblets, and sterling silverware up and down the line. But on closer examination when you enlarge the photo, the tables were so hastily set that I almost croaked.

I understand that busy caterers threw it all together and that it was just a wedding party after all, not a state dinner with Regina and Prince Phillip showing up. But the silverware was all crooked, not parallel, and not properly measured from the edge of the table. While there were two wine glasses at each setting for the red and white wines, the third goblet for water was missing. And not to get down in the mud, but the napkins were simply rolled up beside the plate, instead of all the fancy options out there.

I could understand this more easily if the wedding was in Buttzville, New Jersey in the United States. But in England, the very source and mother-load of propriety and manners? On the other hand, maybe the British are a little less uptight and anally retentive than the upstart new-rich here in America. Who knows.
In any case (and condensing the original post) here's a link to some really beautiful table settings, from casual to formal.

And here's a link to the diagrams you might need. Don't freak out! They all make sense, according to what menu you're serving for the evening. I mean, if soup is not the first course then you wouldn't put out a bowl or soup spoon, right? Tables are set according to the menu.

Once you have a basic informal layout in mind, then you can always expand it--all the way up to a more formal table, complete with a white tablecloth and white linen napkins.

It's actually all pretty simple: knives and spoons on the right of the plate, forks on the left, and the drinking goblets go directly above the dinner knife. One important rule is that the blade of the knife is always turned toward the plate, not toward the spoons. (You don't want your guests cutting their fingers when they pick up the tea or soup spoon, right?)

Now don't be alarmed, but if you're serving an eight-or-ten course dinner, then there's going to be a lot more eating utensils on the right and left of the plate than just the basic five. But that's a whole different topic, coming up next.

Again, I hope you'll forgive my lameness for not sending this out before the holidays. But there's always some kind of idiotic special occasion or formal affair to deal with all throughout the year, isn't there? So this might come in handy anyway from time to time.

Happy dining!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Milestone for the Blog!

It's hard to believe, but as of this month we're beginning the fifth year of  "The Billionaires Butler"!

Back in 2011 when I first began, it was mostly a diary for my family and friends about how the super rich really live and conduct themselves on a daily basis. I seriously doubted if anyone else would be interested, but that wasn't even important at the time. I just needed a place to write about my employers' dazzling lifestyles, and to blow off steam from time to time at their occasionally selfish and and crappy behaviors.

But all that has changed. Soon enough I began to realize that beyond my own circles there's a real interest in the way rich people live, how they spend all that money, and what they do with themselves in their daily lives. While there's been no advertising for the blog at all (just word of mouth and Google search engines) there's something like 300,000 page-views to date, and the comments are in the thousands.

In fact, it's the comments that have kept me going. Responding to readers from all around the globe has been the most unexpected fun of all, and has expanded the topics in ways I could have never dreamed of. The truth is, I've lived among the rich for so long now that all their extravagances and nutty behaviors seem mostly 'normal' to me now, and I'm losing sight of what might be interesting about them, and what is not.

I've always strived (strove, striven) to keep this blog non-political, and to not take sides or berate the rich for their extraordinary behaviors and insanely voracious needs--although I will admit that sometimes I want to kick my employer in the shins for his crappy moods and self-glorified sense of entitlement.

In any case, for this anniversary and the beginning of our fifth year, I can only say thank you so very much for reading, and for your terrific comments that add to and explore our understanding of how the super rich live. Especially during these days when the divide between the rich and the poor are more scrutinized than ever.

I hope your new year is starting off well!