There are three methods of placing finger bowls: First, if the finger bowl is needed after fruits at the beginning of a meal, or after corn on the cob, artichokes, and other food that demands the use of the fingers, it may be placed to the left of the cover when the table is laid or it may be brought in toward the end of the course and placed to the left of the cover.

Second, if the dessert plate and finger bowl are served together, the finger bowl is placed on the dessert plate, usually with a small fine white or cream doily between it and the plate, and the dessert silver placed on the sides of the plate, the fork on the left and the knife or spoon (depending on what the dessert may be) on the right. The guest removes the silver, placing the spoon or knife to the right, and the fork to the left, of the cover. Then he removes the finger bowl and doily and places them on the left of the cover, leaving the plate ready to receive the fruit or dessert.

Third, if the dessert is served in individual portions, say in a sherbet glass or some other container, which precludes the placing of the finger bowl on the dessert plate, the finger bowl, on a doily on a plate, is placed in front of the guest after the last course.

If especially beautiful glass or silver finger bowls and plates are used, many hostesses now omit the doily between, maintaining that it destroys the harmony between the bowl and the plate.

The bowls, half-filled with tepid water, may be placed on the side table before the meal is announced.