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Episode 302 - Passage To India
Indian Table
It's gonna be spicy...
I’d like to welcome you to my private dining room a la India. Here’s what we did to create an intimate dining area for a grand-style dinner.

Seeing as colour is such an important component of Indian style, we wanted to ensure that our selection of items would be complementary to each other. Taking various shades of fine silk fabric, we created banners which we hung from the ceiling, placing a wooden dowel in the bottom of each one to help keep them aligned. The banners surrounded our table which was covered with vibrant pink and yellow sari cloth on top of a white linen cloth. We also ran a purple ribbon down the center of the table to add this vibrant look. Taking it a step further, we fastened a single ribbon (each with its own colour and pattern) up and down along the backs of each guest’s chair.

We set our table for eight guests using Rosenthal’s Bokhara. Its varied designs and colouration are so beautiful and they inspired the entire table setting, determining everything from the selection of colours to the manner in which the dinner would flow. Each setting included a main course plate, an appetizer plate, as well as a smaller side plate to be used for chutneys and dipping sauces. A tea cup and saucer at each setting was placed in order for each guest to enjoy “chai” - a traditional Indian drink composed of tea leaves, milk, and cardamom.

Again, colour combination was important in our selection of glassware. Colours like tangerine, mauve, and cranberry with gold borders matched the ribbons on the chairs and table, while the paisley pattern within the gold border matched the china. When you choose your own patterns you will see how much fun it can be to bring the whole look together.

In terms of flatware, I used my everyday cutlery. Sometimes whatever you have on hand can work. Napkins were brightly coloured, folded, rolled up, then secured with “churis” - the Indian glass bracelets I had purchased as departing gifts for my female guests. Using the smaller ones worn by young children, they served as beautiful napkin rings. Placed on the center of each guest’s plate was his/her place-card, embossed in silver pen with each guest’s name.

Finishing touches were fresh flowers: we placed carnations, tightly packed into oasis in inexpensive copper vessels, putting them down next to each other along the ribbon which ran down the table. Very, very tall candles were used to cast a ‘high-up’ glow; smaller candles were used to create a lower glow. A few accessory pieces to the china pattern - for sauces, etcertera brought some interesting shapes to the ensemble. Our dining extravaganza was accompanied by a colourful, big forsythia arrangement.

I’d like to share some final thoughts with you: let’s say your budget will not allow you to purchase a whole bunch of props. The one suggestion I implore you to take is to create an authentic Indian meal. Think of yourself as India’s finest chef and then prepare a meal accordingly. I can already taste those spicy samosas cooked to perfection!