October 25, 2011

Dinner Table Etiquette 1


This are just a few points that I agree with, because as much as I like to be a hostess, I enjoy being invited out just as much. This ideas are not meant to be law but as guidelines to help us all be more polite. Our parents teach us to sit properly at the dinner table but seems as we get older, we forget. So, this is a refresher.

Acceptable eating styles vary from continent to continent. But regardless of location, the only proper way to cut and eat one's food is to hold the knife and fork in a relaxed, natural manner.....never with clenched fists spearing food like a hunter!

In American society, it is perfectly acceptable to cut one's food using the knife and fork as usual, and then transfer the fork to the right hand to then "spear" it before eating. In Continental Europe, this would however be frowned upon. Here, food is only ever transferred to the mouth with the fork in the left hand with the prongs still facing downwards - a very delicate act indeed if one's host is inconsiderate enough to serve garden peas as a vegetable!

Once seated, unfold your napkin, place it on your lap and use it for occasionally wiping your lips or fingers (never use it to blow your nose). At the end of dinner, leave the napkin tidily on the place setting.

It is good dinner table etiquette to serve the lady sitting to the right of the host first, then the other ladies in a clockwise direction, and lastly the gentlemen.

Hold the knife and fork with the handles in the palm of the hand, forefinger on top, and thumb underneath. While eating, you may if you wish rest the knife and fork on either side of the plate between mouthfuls. When you have finished eating, place them side by side in the center of the plate. If someone asks a question when your mouth is full, naturally you must wait until you have chewed much of the food before replying.

Should food wedge in your teeth and you cannot dislodge it with your tongue, don't attempt to loosen it with your finger or a toothpick in front of others. If it becomes unbearable, excuse yourself from the table briefly, take care of it out of public view, and then return.

 If the food presented to you is not to your liking, it is polite to at least make some attempt to eat a small amount of it. Or at the very least, cut it up a little, and move it around the plate! It is quite acceptable to leave some food to one side of your plate if you feel as though you have eaten enough. On the other hand, don't attempt to leave your plate so clean that it looks as though you haven't eaten in days!

Desserts may be eaten with both a spoon and fork, or alternatively a fork alone if it is a cake or pastry style sweet.

Should a lady wish to be excused for the bathroom, it is polite for the gentlemen to stand up as she leaves the table, sit down again, and then stand once more when she returns.

Always treat a host's property with respect and keep from getting so relaxed that you put your feet on their furniture. And don't tip chairs back on their rear legs if you want to be asked back again.

Always make a point of thanking the host and hostess for their hospitality before leaving. It is good dinner table etiquette to send a personal thank you note to the host and hostess shortly afterwards.


Happy Entertaining !

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