Simple Pleasures

I love napkins/serviettes. Not just the crisp white linen varieties found in restaurants and at formal dinners, but the pretty paper versions. They make me happy. I know that sounds daft but sometimes it’s the small things scattered throughout the day that bring a smile. I tend to pick up packs of paper serviettes while out and about, and almost always bring them home from trips away, both home and abroad.

20180525_133724While at lunch last week, Jane (after looking at me sideways when I admitted my fetish for paper napkins) helped me demonstrate a particularly pretty variety used by our eating establishment. And no, we hadn’t imbibed too much wine 🙂

Napkins/serviettes have been around a long time. The first napkins were used by the ancient Romans who used pocket-sized pieces of fabric to mop their brows while eating. The Spartans used lumps of dough to wipe their hands, a practice which morphed into sliced bread used by the ancient Greeks. Paper napkins came into use after the invention of paper in ancient China during the 2nd century BCE.

The practical soon became an art form, too. Elaborate napkin folding techniques date back to the time of Louis XIV of France and to 16th century Florence. Today, it is not uncommon to find intricate folding designs both in restaurants and at private functions.

Who knew the simple napkin/serviette could have such an interesting history?

8 responses to “Simple Pleasures

  1. Way cool! I, too, like decorative napkins, although I’ve been slowly weaning my cloth sets. It’s so much easier to buy paper ones, and I can change my variety as often as I want to. Every once in a while, on Facebook, I’ll see a napkin folding video and I’m fascinated! Lol.

  2. Who would have thought this simple idea would lead to such an interesting blog (apologies for my scepticism)! Also a source of lunchtime fun, worth agreeing to the photo!! You have converted me Mrs J. Thank you for a great lunch. X

  3. I love these tidbits of history. What did we ever do before technology brought information to us so easily. I’m not to much for the napkins, but love a pretty table.

  4. Me too, Tricia. There are such beautiful ones now available, almost works of art in themselves. And such interesting facts about the history of them, never have given them a thought before to their origins. My father always used to fancy-fold (as my mum called) the paper napkins. I could never manage it so the nearest I get is folding them to stand inside the wine glass! Great blog!

  5. Ha! The good old napkin-inside-the-wine-glass, Kit. My special favourite 🙂

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