A trick for figuring out which plate and glass are yours at a crowded table

From Sara:

Politeness and good manners are highly valued in our house; I've been known to dance across the kitchen when my 15 month old uses both "please" and "thank you" in a transaction without a prompt.  [15 months and saying please and thank you? Wow. I'd dance around, too! — Ed.] My husband recently sent me a link to this hack which was part of an essay at Inside Higher Ed . I'm sure will come in handy when we get beyond the sippy cup and high chair stage:

Utilize the b-d rule for triumph over the bread plate. When you sit down at a round table, you are immediately faced with lots of glasses, coffee cups, and bread plates. Which is yours? You can’t go wrong with the b-d rule. In your lap, take both your hands and form the OK sign with your thumb and pointer finger touching to shape an “o”. Keep your other fingers extended straight and together. With both hands in this position, you will see the shape of a “b” on the left hand and a “d” on the right. The “b” stands for bread, which means your bread plate will always be on your left. The “d” means drink, which translates to your drinking glasses and cup placed on your right.

Boy, my family's lucky if they get their salad served on a separate salad plate. I'm all about reducing dirty dishes. I can see how this would come in handy at a restaurant or the Thanksgiving table, though.

More: Best of Parent Hacks: Thanksgiving


  1. Julia says

    This is also a good way to teach kids how to set a table. And so they can remember where the knife, spoon and fork go: knife, spoon, and right all have five letters; fork and left each have four.

  2. momma2mingbu says

    Our trick for remembering where to put the silverware when setting the table:

    “The fork and the spoon had a fight. The fork LEFT because the spoon said she was RIGHT.”

    We also use this rhyme in the store. If the kids aren’t behaving and I need to separate them, one is assigned to be the fork and the other is the spoon. They have to walk on the appropriate side of the shopping cart based on which utensil they are that day.

  3. Mommyprof says

    For the literate set, knife, spoon, glass all have 5 letters as does right – the side you will find them on.

    Fork and roll both have four. As does left.

  4. that girl says

    We remember BMW, like the car: Bread, Meal, Water. That’s the order from left-to-right.