India Today - - LIFESTYLE -

Save the Best for Last

The flow­ers Naghat Abedi has or­dered are dra­matic red proteas that per­fectly com­ple­ment the din­ing set and the walls. They are mas­cu­line, strong and scent­less and, there­fore, do not com­pete with the aroma of the food. Hav­ing your florist un­der­stand your taste in quirky blooms over the years is not to be un­der­es­ti­mated!

It’s All in the Ar­range­ment

When people are sit­ting down for a meal, the flower ar­range­ments should be flat and wide so that guests can look at each other and con­verse across the ta­ble. The talkto-your-neigh­bour-only eti­quette of a Nizam’s sit­down meal is not nec­es­sary for a close cir­cle of friends, or for din­ers peren­ni­ally in search of the next per­son to talk to!

Why Use a Knife?

When serv­ing In­dian at a sit-down din­ner, Naghat Abedi lays each place set­ting her way. She skips pro­to­col and does away with the knife. Her rea­son? When food on the plate is In­dian, ev­ery­one picks up the fork and prefers to eat with it, so why use a knife? It in­stantly brings the meal to life and re­minds you that you are there to dine the way you would find most com­fort­able when eat­ing In­dian food—with your fin­gers or with a fork.

Put Ev­ery­thing on the Mat

Naghat Abedi places both the main plate and the side plate on the ta­ble mat, mak­ing room on the mat for the fork as well. Only the glasses sit out­side the ta­ble mat. Ad­di­tion­ally, on the main plate are her sig­na­ture grey linen nap­kins, mono­grammed with the fam­ily crest.

Feast with the Eyes First

The She­hzadi likes to lay the food out on a buf­fet ta­ble, to one side of the din­ing ta­ble. Here is where guests get to view the spread and then de­cide what to eat. You then sit down at the for­mally set ta­ble where sec­ond help­ings are brought to you.

Only the Usual Serv­ing Spoons

De­spite what Naghat Abedi says, there is noth­ing usual about her serv­ing spoons. She has a serv­ing la­dle meant pre­cisely for each of her dishes. Long, flat ones for ke­babs; small, round ones with pretty han­dles for dal; deep, long ones with carv­ing for ko­rma— each sil­ver la­dle is a piece of art in it­self.

Naghat Abedi with daugh­ters Nida, Nar­gis and Sana

Live like a Ma­haraja: How to Turn Your Home into a Palace by Amrita Gandhi Pen­guin In­dia Price Rs 699

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