Thursday, December 5, 2013

Is The Art of Etiquette Dead? Part 2 Table Manners

Today I want to discuss the basic of table manners and the “art of eating”. So Let's be seated!

The Soup Course:

The soup spoon is to be held in the right hand with the thumb on top. Tip the spoon slightly away from you and fill it by moving it away from you not towards you. When most of the soup is finished, tip the bowl away from you, never towards you as not to spill on your clothes.

The Fish Course:

Both the fish knife and fork will be used for the fish course. The proper way to hold a fork while eating fish is with the left hand with the prongs down. The knife will be held in the right with the knife resting atop the side of your forefinger and held gently with your thumb. If the fish is soft and boneless, you may only need to use a fork, which should be held in the right hand.

The Meat Course:

For the meat course; the fork and the knife are held in the same hands as the fish course and with the fork prongs down. However, your forefingers will be pointed down the handle for more leverage. Cut one piece of meat at a time and turn the wrist and raise your forearm slightly towards your mouth. Do not stick out your elbows! If eating other vegetable on your plate, you can place your knife at the top right corner of your plate, but don't keep switching your knife and fork between hands every time you cut a piece of meat.

Never hold the fork in your left hand and pile food on it with the knife.

Never hold the knife in the left hand.

Never place your fork and knife on your plate, like oars on a row boat.

If “resting” place them slightly crossed the bottom of the plate, a good server will know not to remove your plate because you are not finished. This position can also be used when eating a piece of bread.

Never wipe your mouth, take a drink, or gesture with your utensils in your hand.

When the course is finished always place your knife and fork as shown. The prongs should face down and the blade should face the fork. This is the “Finished” position.

The Salad Course:

The salad course may be eaten just as the fish and meat courses are eaten. If a knife is not required, then the fork may be held in the right hand only. If the salad is served with the meat course, the same fork may be used.

The Dessert Course:

If a dessert requires a fork and a spoon, the spoon should be held in the right and the fork in the left. Eat with the spoon, the fork is used only to push food onto the spoon. Pie or cake only requires a fork which can be used in the right hand.

Some General Rules of Thumb...
  • Don't stick your elbows out or on the table while eating.
  • Don't eat over stuff your mouth.
  • Never chew with your mouth open or talk with your mouth full.
  • If you find a piece of meat or food you cannot swallow, don't spit it out. Chew it as small as possible and place it on the prongs of your fork or spoon and place it at the rim of your plate.
  • Don't get up from the table until your hostess rises.
Hopefully, these simple rules of etiquette can help you on your next dinner party or date. Remember that good manners don't mean that you are better than anyone else, but that you care about them by showing them respect.

**Illustrations from "Tiffany's Table Manners"


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