really dining
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Ask any top chef and they'll all tell you the same thing - people start eating with their eyes, not their mouths.  The best restaurants don't spend all that time and effort making their table arrangements look fantastic just to keep the waiters occupied, they do it because your initial reaction to any meal is created by the environment, not the food.  This is exactly the attitude we should all adopt at home too, especially when we have an important dinner party to host.  Good linen, good crockery, good glassware, good cutlery and good lighting are all essential ingredients for a good meal, and they will get your guests in the right frame of mind far quicker than any elaborate starter.  Oh yes, and a good wine will help too...