Is your table looking a bit shabby? Domestic goddess Rita Konig, author of ‘Rita’s Culinary Trickery’, has some thrifty and creative ideas on how to dress your table in style.
There aren’t many tablecloths I really like and I think that it’s best to stick to white, since they are the easiest to boil–wash. You have to be able to boil tablecloths and napkins, as they will get grease and red wine on them. Again, antique markets are a good hunting ground for old damask cloths – they’re so expensive if you buy them new.
I love using heavy French linen sheets on the table. They look great, they can be washed at the highest temperature, and because the fabric is so thick you can get away with not ironing them.
Red–and–white check cloths are lovely, as long as they are freshly laundered. I am afraid this is important with table linen: if you aren’t going to have it looking crisp on the table you are better not to bother. The red–and–white check looks good with red bandanas as napkins.
Paper napkins are horrid and don’t bother buying napkins or cloths that have any polyester in them. Napkins that aren’t pure cotton or linen are not nice to use and you can’t wash them at such high temperatures so they will get stained eventually.
Large napkins are the best but hard to come by, so if you see any really big ones in antique markets, get them. New napkins are usually small, which is just cost cutting on the part of the manufacturer and annoying.
I like having stacks of napkins and buy them in all colours for everyday use – a bore from an ironing point of view but they are quite easy things to iron.
For children, I like big old hand towels to tie around their necks. You can buy these very cheaply, again in junk shops, and they are perfect as bibs, great for drying glass and good for telly suppers as they cover your lap with enough extra for your hands.
This is an extract from ‘Rita’s Culinary Trickery’ by Rita Konig.
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