Quality linen napkins are an essential part of a tasteful setting of the table, whether it’s a casual weekend breakfast with spouse, a festive dinner or some stylish party for friends. Sizes and designs of linen napkins have varied greatly over the years and today we have a huge assortment of linen table napkins available.
The function of table napkins is very simple – they are meant to wipe food and drink from the mouth, and they also can be used as a protection for clothing while eating. Napkins – and especially linen napkins as they are extremely absorbent – are also used as coasters when serving a drink, or serve as a dishtowel to soak up small spills of liquids at the table.
Apart from practical use, linen napkins are very decorative as well. They can be found in a vast assortment of colors, patterns and styles. Linen napkins for everyday use mostly come in plain solid color, as this is simply more practical. But bright colored and embroidered or hemstitched napkins are also an option. They are perfect for holidays or special occasions. Nowadays it’s possible to order relatively small amounts of napkins with personalized monogramming which are very popular among those planning weddings or some big and important events. Linen napkins often make a set with a linen tablecloth – and it’s a wise decision to buy one. Made of matching colors and patterns linen tablecloth and table napkins add to festive mood at the mealtime. For even better impression one can fold the linen napkins into elaborate shapes for decoration and/or even use some napkin rings.
Most luncheon napkins measure 15-25 inches square, though they may be slightly longer on one side. But nowadays almost any sizes can be found or even bespoken according to personal needs.
For those interested in history – some facts. Table napkins originate from ancient Rome. Dinner guests often were given a mappa – a cloth to protect the couch while eating in a reclining position and wipe their mouths. During the Middle Ages a large cloth was usually provided at the table for all the guests to use. Later, in richer households of aristocracy, servants offered pieces of cloth for party members to wipe their hands with. By the sixteenth century, cloth (and often – made of linen) napkins were a common part of a mealtime. They came in different sizes and were used for different purposes.