Landscape: Tablescape.

Tablescape. Really? Is this a word? On my recent visit to the parents’ homestead in Louisville, Kentucky, my mom announced that she was working on the “tablescape” in the dining room. Huh? I was in the kitchen mixing up some basil spread for mini tomato sandwiches and peeked around the corner to see something like this—evidently a tablescape in progress:

She was artfully arranging food platters and centerpieces, putting post-it notes where certain items (“Brie”) would eventually end up:

Being the reflective type, I wonder if “tablescaping” is just another one of those ways we people try to bring the outdoors inside. Is tablescaping a way to replicate the symmetry and abundance we see in nature, within the confines of our own dining rooms? As it turns out, I Googled “tablescape” in search of more insight into the phenomenon and found an abundance of information on the topic. says that tablescapes are basically “creatively designed table arrangements or centerpieces that showcase or highlight a specific object or collection.” This site further advises that the “objects in tablescapes do not necessarily have to match perfectly,” but they should “harmonize or complement each other…to achieve balance.” These lovely tomato sandwiches (layered with said basil spread) added, I suppose, some complementing colors to the scene.

Even though the food and its arrangement (in a nearly complete tablescape formation, above) added to the festivities, I have to admit that I feel slightly suspicious of “tablescape,” the word…and of “tablescaping,” the activity. But then again, I also think it’s weird when the word “landscape” is applied to something that has nothing to do with the “land,” as in the phrase “political landscape.” Anyhow…food for thought.


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