Book Review – Perfect Table Settings by Denise Vivaldo

by Robyn on January 24, 2011

Perfect table settings by Denise Vivaldo, a reference book for parties and moreBook Review: Perfect Table Settings by Denise Vivaldo Hundreds of easy and elegant ideas for napkin folds and table arrangements.
Publisher: Robert Rose Inc., Ontario Canada 2010 352 pages

Publisher’s summary: An easy guide to the art of napkin folding and creating beautiful table settings from a seasoned professional.
This comprehensive do-it-yourself guide is fun and demonstrates in great detail the art of easy and elegant napkin folding. The author also provides festive, imaginative and inexpensive table decor ideas, featuring everything from favors and linens to centerpieces — she even shows readers how to create the perfect buffet setting.
From the casual to the elegant, more than 250 full-color photographs illustrate napkin folding how-tos and place-setting ideas. All the projects are graded for beginners, intermediates or advanced, providing a myriad of ways for all readers to express their creativity.
The book is divided into four parts:

* Part one features 100 napkin folding ideas and dozens of suggestions for incorporating napkins into place settings and decor.
* Part two includes table-setting ideas that enhance various menus — everything from a garden brunch to location parties such as a beach or mountaintop. Diagrams and photos clearly illustrate table settings in detail.
* Part three provides ideas for centerpieces and favors. There are dozens of classic centerpiece designs as well as both non-floral and edible centerpieces. The author also includes party favor ideas for all occasions, from fun to romantic to kid’s parties.
* Part four shows readers how to incorporate decor ideas (props, linens, flowers) into an event. Whether planning a buffet, an hors d’oeuvre station or a barbecue, it’s all covered in easy-to-follow detail.

Denise Vivaldo is a walking talking cooking/kitchen styling maven. I’ve been reading about her life as a caterer and food stylist for a while now. I got to hear her speak at a conference I attended last year. She is a one woman dynamo! With her book Perfect Table Settings, Denise has put years of catering experience in our hands. The table is definitely the gathering place fo ryour guests, so why not put your best foot forward?

A quick flip through the pages gives an impression that it is a napkin folding book. Don’t buy that perusal at all. There is so much more than napkin folding in this book. You begin with an explanation of fabrics, their names, uses and best reasons for choosing which ones for venues. Yes, there are an abundance of folding techniques, use of napkin rings, monograms etc. You’ll find What tails, Birds of Paradise, Tuxedo, Shawl, and a simple fan to name a few. In fact, I really believe you could go through every fold in the book and not have the same one for every Sunday in a year’s time.

However, as stated above, Ms. Vivaldo doesn’t just share napkin folding with us. She sets out to give us a bit of finery in our lives. Even the humblest of tables can be improved with a bit of styling. Table settings, care and use of linens, the proper choice of dishware, when to use chargers and even how and when to rent the extras you may need. Want to set the tone of a party? Begin with the table setting, the linens and even something called a silence cloth. A silence cloth with dampen the noise at service of the clanking of silverware and dishes on the hard surface of a table. The noise will not interfere with conversation.

Inside the book you will find a floral seasonality chart and tips on floral arranging. You’ll enjoy the pages on types of parties, from children’s to formal affairs. There is etiquette for the 21st century, and tips on host or hostess gifts. Also included are 25 table settings ready to copy, using found items in your home purchased items to set just the right effect for your theme. She include a few of her favorite recipes for many of the themed parties also.

This book is a must have for party givers as well as those who want to ramp up their own family dinners. Who doesn’t want their family to feel special, like you’ve invited royalty to your home, on occasion. We all love to be made to feel like we’re the best guest ever and using the tips and techniques Denise shares in this tomb all of your guests will feel the love you feel for them. Perfect Table Settings is a must have reference book for your library.

I received this book from Robert Rose as a review copy.

{ 1 comment }

denise Vivaldo January 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Thank you for such a lovely review. I won’t shoot myself today.
Truly, appreciate it! Were you at Camp Blogaway?

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