What are the general rules of good manners at the table? Here are some notes.
● Meals are often served by plate or by buffet where you serve yourself. If the former, do not start eating until the host starts or invites you to do so. If buffet, wait to be told that guests can now approach the table and serve themselves.
● Never load up your plate with food. Get only the portion that you can finish.
● Put your napkin on your lap as you sit down, never tucked into the front of your shirt or blouse. Elbows should not be resting on the table.
● A fork and a table knife are the typical eating utensils. Hold the fork with your left hand and the knife with your right hand. The knife is used to cut and move the food to the fork. To begin and continue eating, the fork is switched to the right hand. It is best to practice using the fork and knife so you are not clumsy.
● Move the soup spoon away from you, tipping the soup bowl in that direction.
● Break off bite-sized pieces of bread before spreading butter on them. Take one piece at a time.
● If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife. Indicate that you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork with the tines facing upwards together and placing them parallel across the right side of your plate.
● Never pick your teeth to remove a particle of food with your hand or with a toothpick, even if you are covering your mouth with the table napkin. Do this inside the comfort room.
● Never dab powder on your face or put on lipstick while at the table. Do this in the comfort room.
● When dining in a group, always put others’ need before your own. When a platter of dish is passed on to you, get a small portion, then pass the dish to the person beside you and hold it until she has taken her share and is holding the dish to pass to the person beside her.
Mind your Manners, Part 1
Mind your Manners, Part 2
Mind your Manners, Part 4
Mind your Manners, Part 5