Dinner In The Renaissance Style | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Finally, I have reunited with some friends again! Months of lockdown will be a memory soon. Some of my friends missed my theme dinner parties and I did too. I called some of them to ask if they were up to a Florentine Renaissance dinner and they were almost at my doorsteps the moment I hung up the telephone. If it was winter, I would have asked to come dressed in a period costumes. Theme dinners are things for tourists, some would argue. Well, I am a tourist in my life. I was a native only once in the city I was born, all of the other places I have lived, I have been a tourist, trying to absorb the culture and learning as much as possible of what is offered to me. People who are invited to my theme dinners, get a plot in advance or a subject I want to base the evening conversation, and plenty of time to research or to get prepared, just in case they are not familiar with the topic.

For the Florentine Renaissance evening, I prepared on the subject of table manners of that time period. I wanted a light and fun subject that everyone could follow and maybe add their own interpretation. The theme dinners turn into an evening of culture.

Today we set dinner tables more or less all the same way, a charger plate at the very bottom of the stacked plates that will be used during dinner, then a series of glasses situated according to the progression of wines/water served, tableware on both sides of the plate, the napkin can be a floating item, meaning it can be placed at the left side of the plate, on the plate, or in a glass, depending on how creative the host is. The center of the table usually is decorated with a centerpiece and the addition of bread/crackers, wines, and water. Some people display these items on a side cart and not on the table. Some people go to the extreme of setting a table with paper plates and plastic glasses, just to have a simpler cleaning up time afterward.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

 

Renaissance_Table

                                                       Renaissance Table

In the Renaissance, a dinner table looked much different than what we are used today. In the most affluent homes, the table was covered with a fabric that diners used as napkins to clean food oils from their hands. The plates called the “trenches” were pieces of levigate wood on to which food was served. The men took out the knives concealed in their britches, cut pieces of meat, and nibble at it from the tip of the knives. They also cut pieces of meat for the woman sitting next to him as a good table manner. The hands were the best tools, diners used them to eat and touch food until Catherine de Medici invented the fork. Pewter goblets were largely used for drinking vessels, for both water and wines.

The food of the entire dinner was propped on the table at one time, for people to choose what they wanted without following a progression of food as we would do today. Dogs and animals circulating around the dinner table received bones and leftovers from the diners. As far as the body needs after drinking and eating, it was acceptable to use the corners of any room away from the dining area. Wow, at least they had a bit of decency!

The stories of my Renaissance evening went on pleasantly, corroborated by the original de Medici House’s music played in their courts. I have an infinite music collection to satisfy the ears of any music lover.

To stay in tune with the background music, I set out appetizer dishes printed with musical notes. I did not want matchy glasses, but I wanted large wine glass goblets. In the center of the table, I put a set of three antique spice containers for the aromatic salts I make and I encouraged the guests to use it. They tried all the salts and were very impressed. On my table, there is always a bread basket, sometimes filled with different types of bread. The textured cover was a rough Shantung fabric I often use as a tablecloth.

The food in the gallery sums up the dinner, some were in the preparation mode, some were already made.

 

At the end of the dinner, guests left with a small gift of my aromatic salts.

Aromatic Salts

Aromatic Salts

I hope we can all pick up the social life we had before the lockdown and I hope to inspire others in designing a beautiful life, made of moments to remember and talk about. It is so very important, now more than ever, to add whimsy in our life, laughs, good food, wear colorful clothes, and read books made from the heart. We are here now, life exists, let’s make something extraordinary. Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon’s Author Page 

 

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

RenaissanceCostume

It’s my hope that through my writing and my stories I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style, and inspiring you to live in beauty. I love to encourage my clients to show their personality through their home décor, or the clothes they wear. I have loved my profession as an interior-fashion designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need it. Check out one of my books on the subject of colors, ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition.
Amazon  and Barnes&Noble 

 

 

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. robbiesinspiration
    Jul 29, 2020 @ 04:28:17

    This is such a great post and I love your idea of a themed dinner party. I have tried to do this but my extended family are not fans of putting themselves out to dress up. I am glad your life is returning to normal, Valentina.

    Like

    Reply

    • Valentina
      Jul 29, 2020 @ 04:35:23

      Thank you Robbie. My life is very slow returning to normal, and not quite the same way as before. I wasn’t used not to hug and kiss friends coming to my house, now we keep a distance as if we are diseased. It’s just strange. Thank you for the visit, you comment and the share. 😀

      Like

      Reply

  2. Teagan R. Geneviene
    Jul 29, 2020 @ 00:49:37

    Marvelous, Valentina. Love all the yellow.

    Like

    Reply

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