How to Fold a Napkin into a Basic Silverware Pouch

Beauty and utility combine, as you create these two simple napkin pouches. Each of these two designs offers a traditional and tidy look on your dining table. This folded napkin design is also ideal for a buffet. As host or hostess, you can offer an entire place setting of silverware in a neat package for your guests to pick up quickly, as they proceed through your serving line.

The square pouch

Lay a fabric napkin flat, decorative side down, on a counter or table.

Fold the napkin in half, left to right, so that the fold runs up and down on your left side and the selvages (edges) are on your right.

Fold the bottom edge upwards about 3″ to 4″ (depending on the size of your napkin).

Fold it up again 3′ to 4″ to form a pocket across the front.

Turn the left- and right-hand edges under, tucking one into the other to secure them together. It’s as simple as that!

The triangle pouch

Lay a fabric napkin flat, decorative side down, on a counter or table.

Fold the napkin, bottom towards the top, placing the lower edge 2/3 from the top. Crease along the new bottom edge.

Fold the top 1/3 down over this section. Crease along the new top edge.

Fold lengthwise, left to right, to locate the centerline. Open out again.

Fold the left end down, along the centerline, and crease. Repeat this with the right end as well. The left and right edges will meet at the centerline, forming a little log cabin shape.

Carefully flip the entire napkin over, being careful not to unfold any of your work. Place the point facing away from you.

The top triangle will leave a small strip of surplus fabric along the bottom. Fold this up over the bottom of the triangle area. At this point, your napkin will look like a little pirate hat. (If you are having a pirate themed party, you may wish to stop at this point.)

Fold the left and right corners toward the middle. Tuck the edges of one into the other to fasten them. That’s it!

Displaying your silverware pouch

Place the entire folded package on your dining table or buffet. Stick a place setting of silverware, a fresh or silk flower, a candy cane, a sprig of spruce or holly, a place card or another appropriate party favor into the pocket.

Your table will look festive and formal!

Note: Generally, napkins made of stiffer fabrics form the neatest folds. Brand-new napkins always look sharp. Laundered ones should be ironed and starched for the best effect. High-quality paper napkins may also be used, once you master the technique, but cloth ones really work the best.

How to effectively complain in a restaurant

It’s not a therapist’s office, where you can rant and rave. It’s not a stage, where you can release your inner drama queen. It’s not a freeway, where you can scream and swear at others. It’s a restaurant, where you can complain about food or service in a manner that’s not going to mortify your fellow diners and send them diving under the table in embarrassment.

Act without delay

A vital component of effective complaining is immediacy. The sooner you can address the matter, the better. This way, the restaurant has ample time to correct the issue with minimal hassle.

Stay calm and rational

There are times when you’ll have a valid, objective complaint: the food is undercooked, overcooked, too hot, too cold, it’s not the meal you’d ordered, a hair is marinating in it. Discreetly beckon the waiter over and tactfully – this is crucial – tactfully explain the problem. This is not the time for insults, hysterics or threats. It’s not the time to unleash pent-up frustrations about your job, the price of gasoline, your mother-in-law. If you’re horrendously obnoxious, you may find yourself getting kicked out of the restaurant, or even banned from it. Mistakes are bound to sometimes happen, and you need to give the restaurant the opportunity to correct them. Don’t automatically make the waiter your scapegoat – often the chef is at fault for errors, rather than the server.

Be knowledgeable about food

Don’t embarrass yourself by ripping into the waiter regarding food you know nothing about. Sweetbreads are not an animal’s brain or testicles, nor are they bread. Head cheese does not contain a speck of cheese. And if you rush headlong into a tirade about how cold your gazpacho is, don’t be surprised if you get smirks from the waiter, and any patrons within earshot – it’s supposed to be served that way.

Propose a solution

Would you be satisfied with an apology? Do you want the meal to be completely replaced? Would a discount suffice? Do you want your money back? Whatever compensation you choose, courteously present it as a suggestion, not as a demand. Ultimately, though, it’s the prerogative of the restaurant to determine how to defuse your complaint. Their resolution may even come as a pleasant surprise. Most restaurant staff know that if they can transform your displeasure into a positive experience, they may convert you into a loyal customer. But beware – if you’re only raising a ruckus to snag a free drink or a free meal, you’re not fooling anyone, and it’s not going to happen, no matter how many threats you fire at the staff.

Put down that fork

Don’t complain about a meal after you’ve already eaten most of it. If you’re able to wolf down a plateful, how bad can it really be? A complaint at this point will not be convincing to anyone.

At your service

If the service is truly dreadful, you may want to inform the manager. It’s key that you remain as calm and factual as possible. Without concrete proof, making a subjective statement such as the waiter “disliked my family” is pointless. Stick with the flaws in the service itself. State them firmly and politely, such as the service was too rushed or too slow. Explain exactly what was wrong with your meal, and precisely how you’d like the issue rectified. Remember to be realistic – don’t count on receiving a full refund just because the appetizer didn’t appeal to you. The manager should apologize right away and suggest partially discounting the bill, or offering a complimentary dessert or drink.

Hold the tip

If all else fails, reducing the tip – or not leaving one at all – can powerfully express your aggravation. If a tip is automatically added to the bill, request that it be deleted, and explain why. Remember not to assume that the waiter was at fault and punish him unnecessarily – the problem may lie with the restaurant. If the service was fine, but the food wasn’t, ask that the charge for the objectionable dish be removed from the bill instead.

Go online after you dine

If you believe that your complaint has been treated dismissively, or you’re still irritated by the experience, release your fury online. Internet reviews – whether complimentary or critical – are powerful avenues for expressing your feelings about a restaurant or its staff. Be assured that your review will be seen – no one in the business ignores them.

You don’t have to feel helpless when a restaurant or its service are not up to par. You don’t have to come across as a lunatic asylum escapee, either. If you master the art of complaining effectively, what started out as an aggravating incident may end up being a surprisingly pleasant experience.