A table set with multiple glasses, forks and knives can be overwhelming. Recently, I was at a formal dinner party and noticed that many of the guests looked uncomfortable as to which fork to use. About half of the table ended up using the wrong silverware throughout the meal.
While many of us dine casually and do not bother with proper etiquette, it is still important to know for those situations when it does matter. Manners and proper etiquette have managed to fade away in today’s culture and it is somewhat disturbing. Proper etiquette is civilized, respectful and can be quite glamorous. So, let’s be sophisticated, glamorous people…
A Diagram of a Formal Place Setting:
A. Napkin B. Salad Fork C. Dinner Fork D. Fish Fork E. Soup Bowl F. Soup Plate G. Dinner Plate H. Dinner Knife I. Fish Knife J. Soup Spoon K. Bread Plate L. Butter Knife M. Dessert Spoon N. Dessert Fork O. Water Goblet P. Red Wine Glass Q. White Wine Glass
Things to know and be aware of while dining out:
• When you first are seated at your table, always, immediately set your napkin in your lap
• Turn your cell phone to vibrate/silent
• Do not use your cell phone at the table – if you need to, excuse yourself from the table
• If you have to get up during your meal, loosely fold up your napkin and place it to the left or right of your plate but do not place it on your chair.
• When you are finished with your meal, loosely fold your napkin and place it to the left of your place setting. Again, do not place it on your chair and do not wad or crumple up the napkin.
• Once you have ordered your beverage, the server will clear away the glasses that will not be used
• Never begin eating until everyone at the table has received their food
• For silverware, always remember, you work your way from the outside in, towards the plate (if you are the one setting the table, think of how you cut your food: the knife is in your right hand and the fork is in the left. Use this to remember which side of the plate the fork and knife are on)
• Transfer butter/spreads to your plate and pass it to the right before you continue to spread it on your food.
• Always chew with your mouth closed
• Keep your elbows off the table
• Do not blow your nose, apply makeup or pick your teeth at the table, excuse yourself to the restroom to do so
• Say “please” and “thank you” to the server/bus boy when they are attending to you
• When cutting your food, only cut a little at a time, then eat, then cut more, then eat, etc.
• Once you have used your utensil, do not place it back on the table (including handles)
• When eating long pasta noodles, use the large spoon (which should have come out with your meal) and twirl the pasta around your fork with the ends of the tines pressed into the large spoon. It is also acceptable to cut your pasta with a fork and knife
• When you are finished with your meal, place the fork with the tines up and the blade of the knife in (handles should rest at 5 o’clock and blades/tines should point to 10 o’clock) on your plate
While this seems like a lot to remember, a lot of it is common sense and common respect. If nothing else, remember to work from the outside in towards the plate (or hope that you are so charming that guests will excuse your bad manners!). Now, treat yourself to a nice meal and go practice your manners!
By Christa Rose Falk, love-inspire-create.blogspot.com