Must Dos (Placing The Dinner Napkin)
Most of us are still ignorant about the proper use of a dinner napkin. One thing is for certain, the napkin
should NEVER be tucked under the chin, unless of course one is 5 years old or younger!
• Lift the napkin soon
after you are seated and place it on your lap. However, at more formal occasions wait for a signal from the host before doing
• Use the napkin throughout
the meal to dab your lips. This prevents greasy lip marks from being transferred to the glass and of course removes unsightly
food residue from lips!
• The napkin rests on
the lap till the end of the meal. Place the napkin in loose folds to the left of your plate. If you have to leave the table
during the meal, leave the napkin on your chair. • Don't clean the cutlery or wipe your face with the napkin. NEVER use it
to wipe your nose!
Eating Tricky Foods
Some food is exceedingly difficult to handle and seems to rest in the plate only to make life difficult while eating
it. Have you tried eating corn on the cob with a knife and fork? How about chicken wings? Yes, it can be done, but is devilishly
difficult and does not cut a pretty picture! So how does one decide when to use the cutlery and when to abandon it for the
comfort of eating with one's hand?
Here's a short list of food one can
pick and eat without cutlery:
• Artichokes, asparagus, cheese
and crackers, chicken and other small fiddly bits of fowl, corn on the cob, escargots (snails), some fresh fruit, French fries,
shellfish like shrimp, lobster and crabs claws, mussels, clams and oysters on the half shell, pizza and sandwiches.
• It goes without saying that
even for these foods, there are rules. Don't pick up chicken, squab, or asparagus that is drenched with sauce; go easy with
the butter on the corn and after cracking shellfish, eat the meat with a fork. The whole idea is to be comfortable but neat!
• When you have finished, resist the temptation to lick your fingers; use a finger bowl or napkin to get rid
of the greasy bit.
Using A Fingerbowl
The anecdote about the person who, when presented with a fingerbowl, squeezed the lime in it and drank the water! Now
you know that's definitely not the way to do it, but then how exactly does one use a fingerbowl? When you have finished a
delicious dish of butter chicken it might be wiser to use the washroom facilities to clean up. At other times follow these:
• At a formal meal, just before
dessert, the fingerbowl may be brought to you on a doily on a dessert plate. Pick up the bowl and doily and place them on
the upper left hand corner of your place setting.
• This is not the time for a thorough
wash and wipe session. Dip fingertips of one hand and then the other in the bowl and wipe discreetly on your napkin. • Don't try to clean your mouth at the dining table. Dab
your lips with a napkin and save the rest for the washroom.
You are at dinner, at a business associate's house, and have just been served a helping of delicious looking and painstakingly
stuffed mushrooms. Unfortunately, you are allergic to them. Would you refuse to eat them and risk upsetting your host or swallow
them bravely and pray that bagging the contract is worth the suffering? The golden rule is: as far as possible, avoid making
a fuss and embarrassing anyone.
• If you suffer from food allergy
or have any preference, inform your host when you accept the invitation. You don't want to keel over at the table at the sight
of a rare steak!
• At a buffet or large gathering
it is easy enough to avoid taking the food you don't eat. However, in some situations it would be very awkward if you refused
to eat or drink something that was offered to you. Use your discretion. If a polite refusal is not possible and it's not a
life-threatening allergy, don't fuss. Swallow it with a smile!
If you don't drink alcohol, don't hesitate to say so. It is perfectly acceptable to refuse wine or any other alcoholic
beverage and equally possible to have a great evening drinking fruit juice or even water!
TOP FIVE WORST BREACHES OF TABLE ETIQUETTE
Here is the list of the TOP
FIVE things you should never do while eating.
1. Blowing your nose.
I can't list enough reasons why this is
repulsive but I'll list one: This can cause germs to land on the other diners’ food. Just last month, I had a really
bad cold, but I still wanted to go to a birthday dinner with friends. I waited until we were in the parking lot and blew my
nose there, explaining to my friend that I'd needed to do that but didn't want to do it at the table. She then looked me in
the eye and appreciatively said, "Thank you"! If you have to blow your nose, please excuse yourself and go to the restroom.
2. Picking your teeth.
Okay, I'm not talking the discreet kind
of picking your teeth. I'm talking about the blatant kind. Where you have to pull out your mirror just to make sure you've
taken care of everything. This is just gross! And I beg you: Don't do it! If you have to do this, please do this in the bathroom.
There's even a mirror big enough to help you in your search.
In some countries, belching
is a sign of appreciation for a good meal. But in America, Australia and
is a sign of bad manners. Now, I know that this is a natural thing that sometimes just happens. So if it does, please say
excuse me. And then mean it. There's almost nothing worse (except the previous two on the list) then hearing someone belching
from across the room.
4. Tucking your napkin
into your shirt.
Yes, I still spill food on my shirt. And
this occurs at least once a week, if not more. However, putting your napkin into your shirt is similar to addressing to the
world one of the following two ideas: 1) that I still like wearing a bib and 2) I'm about to go hog-wild at this meal and
don't have time to make sure my food makes it to my mouth.
Two weeks ago, I went to dinner with some
ladies from my church and as we were sitting down, a woman came out of the bathroom carrying a long piece of brown paper napkin
(the kind they put in the bathroom for you to dry your hands with) and she proceeded to tuck this napkin into her collar,
where it billowed down her dress to hang at her knees. Not the best fashion statement.
5. Eating food that dropped on your
If this happens when you're alone, no one
will know, right? Just like if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, how do you know that if fell? Nevertheless,
if you are out in public, please use a napkin to take the food off of your shirt and have a waiter throw it away for you.
These are just a few instances that
I’ve noticed feel are the most significant, but I’m sure there are others that could be on this list. Many times
we are so consumed with what you should know about the table setting that we forget the simple things that you should never
do. Hopefully, this can help remind us all!
FOODS YOU CAN EAT WITH YOUR FINGERS
bacon is cooked until it is very crisp, and there is no danger of getting the fingers wet with grease, it is okay to pick
it up to eat it. This is an instance of practicality winning out over decorum, since trying to cut a crisp piece of bacon
usually results in crushing it into shards that are quite difficult
to round up onto a fork.
must always be broken, never cut with a knife. Tear off a piece that is no bigger than two bites worth and eat that before
tearing off another. If butter is provided (and at formal events it customarily is not), butter the small piece just before
eating it. There is an exception to this rule: if you are served a hot roll, it is permissible to tear (not cut) the whole
roll lengthwise down the middle and place a pat of butter inside to melt.
never necessary to try to eat the cookie that comes as a garnish to your dessert with a spoon. Unless it has fallen so far
into the chocolate sauce that there isn't a clean corner by which to pick it up.
Corn on the Cob
unlikely that it will be served at a formal event, but if you encounter corn on the cob, it may be picked up and eaten. The
approved method of doing so is to butter one or two rows at a time and to eat across the cob cleanly.
Chips, French Fries, Fried Chicken, and Hamburgers
items (which could also probably be classified as "fast foods") simply will not be served in a formal setting. Most are intended
to be eaten with the hands, although a particularly messy hamburger could be approached with fork and knife, and steak fries
(the thick-cut, less crispy variety) may be best eaten with a fork.
Hors d'Oeuvres, Canapes, Crudités
everything that is served at a cocktail party or during a pre-meal cocktail hour is intended to be eaten with the fingers.
Some of these foods make appearances at regular meals as well (although not often very formal ones). When they do, it is still
permissible to use the fingers to eat them. This includes olives, pickles, nuts, deviled eggs, and chips.
sandwich -- that is, any sandwich that is not open-faced, not too tall to fit in the mouth, not saturated with dripping sauces
or loaded with mushy fillings -- is intended to be picked up and eaten. Otherwise use fork and knife.
Small Fruits and Berries on the Stem If you are served strawberries with the hulls on, cherries with stems,
or grapes in bunches, then it is okay to eat them with your fingers. Otherwise, as with all berries, the utensil of choice
is a spoon. In the case of grapes, you may encounter a special scissors, to be used to cut off a small cluster from the bunch.
If not, tear a portion from the whole, rather than plucking off single grapes, which leaves a cluster of unattractive bare
stems on the serving platter.