Hotelier Noel Cunningham has said that the idea of using disposable plates and cutlery at Christmas dinner is “beyond ridiculous”.
Cunningham, who published a book on etiquette last year, said he was horrified to hear various health experts suggest that people should use disposables as a Covid precaution this Christmas.
He said: “When I heard health experts recommending that people use paper cups and plastic knives and forks for Christmas, I really thought this was just a step too far. What’s wrong with washing cutlery and delph in the dishwasher or using boiling water and washing up liquid?
“Yes of course, we all have to be careful and continue to look after each other but really and truly some of the suggestions now being made regarding the use of disposable tableware are beyond ridiculous.”
Noel made the comments recently when he popped into the Showroom at Newbridge Silverware for a live television broadcast with Ireland AM. In the live show he chatted to presenter, Alan Hughes and gave some tips on etiquette, how to decorate the Christmas table and how to enjoy the season in style in a healthy fun way.
Noel, who is the current Donegal Person of the Year, is calling on dinner party hosts to take a safer and more practical approach to Christmas entertaining, but they don’t have to compromise on style.
“I always guide people toward making life easy for the host or hostess and planning and preparation is key. This year good planning is essential as the spectre of Covid remains,” he said.
Some of Noel’s more topical tips this year include:
- Abide by the advice and have the maximum number of people allowed. Stick to the recommended number of guests. It is not the year for inviting too many people and certainly the addition of elderly family members calls for extra caution!
- Prepare in advance in as many ways as is possible. I always advise setting the table the day before. Wash your hands thoroughly and sanitise them and ensure all surfaces are clean and sanitised as you prepare the cutlery and glassware.
- If there is a great product that can be bought in, and there are many that will make your life easier then go and buy these products! There are wonderful Christmas puddings pre-prepared fish, poultry, game, and red meat in all good butchers and in several supermarkets. In other words, shop local and help ease the workload on yourself! Domo’s Emporium at Newbridge Silverware is a stunning new artisan food store and restaurant which sells locally made food stuffs including handmade chocolates, chutneys, and sweet treats, buy what you need and don’t stress!
- Ventilate your home well and ask your guests to wear an extra layer. I don’t mean Baltic, but a very hot room is neither comfortable nor healthy!
- Insist everyone sanitises their hands when they arrive.
- You will have more people than usual for lunch so for safety there is nothing wrong with using a few tables and if required, two different rooms. Space is important!
- Let people wear a mask except when eating.
- Allocate a friend or a family member to help with the plating up. The less involved the better.
- Go for a brisk walk after lunch, fresh air is most advisable.