Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Etiquette Wednesday: Dining Etiquette

Per Emily Post, here are some quick tips on dining etiquette. (The first ten are EP and the rest are from personal etiquette experience.) :

1. Chew with your mouth closed.
2. Avoid slurping, smacking, and blowing your nose.
3. Don’t use your utensils like a shovel or as if you’ve just stabbed the food you’re about to eat.
4. Don’t pick your teeth at the table.
5. Remember to use your napkin at all times.
6. Wait until you’re done chewing to sip or swallow a drink. (The exception is if you’re choking.)
7. Cut only one piece of food at a time.
8. Avoid slouching and don’t place your elbows on the table while eating (though it is okay to prop your elbows on the table while conversing between courses.)
9. Instead of reaching across the table for something, ask for it to be passed to you.
10. Always say ‘excuse me’ whenever you leave the table.
11. If someone asks for either salt or pepper it is in fine form to give both the salt and pepper together. This signals courtesy in the anticipation of another person's needs. It's also worth noting that the food should always be tasted first before requesting either. Remember: Salt and pepper travel together!
12. Wait until everyone has their food to begin eating (this is more important in restaurant dining and in big dinners of course you must wait for the host to begin eating.)
13. In formal dining, men should never rush to sit before women.
14. If you must blow at your soup to cool it then be quiet. It's preferred to just scoop hot soup from the surface (the coolest part) or even better just wait until it cools down a bit.
15. Please keep dining discussion to cordial and pleasant topics. Heated debates are for the after-dinner room.
16.  When finished with your plate, place your utensils in the 4 o'clock position. This is the signal for the wait-staff to that you are finished. (As a reminder don't leave your utensils in this position if you are just leaving for a minute and aren't finished.) Remember-plates are served from the left side and removed from the right side so placing your utensils at 4 o'clock allows the waitstaff to secure their thumb on them so they don't fall while picking up your plate.
17. Avoid shouting across the table to catch someone's attention or engage in conversation.
18. If, by any chance, a utensil or a piece of food is dropped on the floor--do not pick it up and put it back on the table. Kindly ask your wait person for a replacement utensil.
19. Please wait until everyone is finished before leaving the table.

I recently invested in some new dinnerware and referred to this diagram to brush up on my place settings. (NB: In Europe the soup spoon is generally placed at the top, ahead of the plate, and turned 90-deg.) Here's to being civilized again not to mention environmentally friendly and using less paper/plastic!

*Special thanks to RDLV for inspiring this post's topic! Always a treat to dine with and your lovely wife!

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