Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Just thought I'd post this for those friends and family members who,like myself,grew up dining at a table where the setting only consisted of a plate,fork,the ocassional knife and drinking cup. Bon Apetite!

Dinner Table Etiquette - the 10 Do's!
1. Once seated, unfold your napkin and use it for occasionally wiping your lips or fingers. At the end of dinner, leave the napkin tidily on the place setting.
2. 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.
3. Hold the knife and fork with the handles in the palm of the hand, forefinger on top, and thumb underneath.
4. Whilst 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.
5. 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!
6. 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!
7. Desserts may be eaten with both a spoon and fork, or alternatively a fork alone if it is a cake or pastry style sweet.
8. 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.
9. Always make a point of thanking the host and hostess for their hospitality before leaving.
10. It is good dinner table etiquette to send a personal thank you note to the host and hostess shortly afterwards.

Dinner Table Etiquette - the 10 Don'ts!

1. NEVER start eating before a signal from the host to do so.
2. Forks should not be turned over unless being used for eating peas, sweetcorn kernels, rice or other similar foods. In which case, it should be transferred to the right hand. However, at a casual buffet, or barbecue, it is quite acceptable to eat with just a fork.
3. It is not generally regarded as good dinner table etiquette to use one's bread for dipping into soups or mopping up sauces.
4. Loud eating noises such as slurping and burping are very impolite. The number one sin of dinner table etiquette!
5. Talking with one's mouth full. is not only unpleasant to watch, but could also lead to choking! Definitely not a good idea!
6. Don't stretch across the table crossing other guests to reach food, wine or condiments. Instead ask a guest sitting close to pass the item to you.
7. Good dinner table etiquette sometimes involves a degree of diplomacy when it comes to the host's choice of food and wine! Even if you feel that you can do better, don't ever offer your criticism. If you feel unable to pay any compliments, at least remain silent on the subject.
8. Picking teeth (unless toothpicks are provided) or licking fingers are very unattractive! The only exception to the latter is when eating meat or poultry on the bone (such as chicken legs or ribs). In which case, a finger bowl should be provided.
9. Drinking too much wine can be very embarrassing! Where a different wine is served with each course, it is quite acceptable to not finish each glass.
10. Don't forget to make polite conversation with those guests around you. Dinner parties are not just about the food, they are intended to be a sociable occasion!

The Basic Tips & Rules of
Table Setting Etiquette

For many people, being confronted by an array of cutlery and glassware at the dinner table can be daunting! All that you need to avoid any social embarrassment is to understand the basics of proper Table Setting Etiquette.
• The golden rule is ALWAYS work from the OUTSIDE, IN. Use the outside knife and fork for the first course (entrée), and then simply work inwards for each subsequent course.
• Knives are always to the right, and forks are always to the left.
• The soup spoon, if required, will always be on the extreme right if being served as a first course, or second in from the right if being served as a second course.
• Dessert cutlery will always be at the top of the place setting with the fork facing right and the spoon positioned above this with the bowl facing left.

Depending on how many different wines are being served, they will normally be positioned above the knives. They should be placed with the water glass to the extreme left, and then follow in the order for which they will be used, working from left to right. For example:
Water - Champagne - White Wine- Red Wine - Dessert Wine

• It is common practice to find a place plate (or base plate) positioned in the center of the cutlery setting. This will often have the napkin folded and resting upon it. Alternatively, the first course (or entrée) may already be served upon this plate, in which case, the napkin will be positioned to the left of the forks.
• The side plate (or butter plate) will be positioned to the left of the forks
• with a side knife (or butter knife) laid across it. If space is a little limited, it is quite acceptable to position the napkin across this plate too.

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!

• When seated, unfold the napkin and place it across the lap.
• If bread rolls are served, break the bread between your fingers rather than cut it.
• When eating soup, always move the soup spoon away from you to the other side of the dish and "sip" the soup (quietly!) from it.
• In some circumstances it may be appropriate for a finger bowl to be served, for example where ribs have been served. In which case, one should gently clean the fingers in the warm scented water and dry them on one's napkin.
• When finished eating, position the knife and fork (or other cutlery used) side by side pointing into the centre of the plate.

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