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The Lost Art of Table Manners



Dinner Etiquette – The how and whys!


Do you ever go out to a posh restaurant and feel lost with the 100 forks and 50 spoons next to your plate?


We could all probably do with a brush up to what’s going on in front us before we eat dinner!


So today’s lesson kids is about table manners and what is expected at that all important fancy dinner date!




  1. Do only one thing at the table at one time, i.e. if you want to drink your wine, rest the knife and fork on the plate, never try to do more than one action at one time!


  1. If the table is not set correctly, never try to arrange it! This will offend the hostess of the dinner


  1. When eating, if one hand is free, rest it on the lap to avoid obstructing others at the table. When finished eating, both hands should be rested on the lap


  1. Don’t resist! There should be a relaxed atmosphere so don’t fidget, move the silverware, twist linens, drum the table, play with the salt and pepper shakers and so on


  1. For cleanliness, keep hair away from the table


  1. Posture: Sit at the dinner table with your back straight and slightly against the back of the chair. To avoid spilling, lean over the plate each time you take a bite


  1. Elbows and forearms never on the table!




 2  3
In a noisy atmosphere, to
better hear the conversation
between courses, rest the
elbows on the table and lean
Or, place the wrist and forearm on the edge of the table and lean forward but never when eating or any other reason other than stated!


  1. Reaching at the table: Keeping obstruction from others, reach for only the ware close enough to reach – otherwise, ask a guest to pass it to you
  2. Dealing with disagreeable food: When food that you don’t like or can’t eat is served, rather than make an issue and offend the hostess, take a small portion. Place the portion on the plate, dabble with it, and eat a small amount (or none at all). For an allergy, say, “No, thank you” and after the meal, quietly explain to the hostess.


  1. Spilled food: When a guest spills food at a formal affair, a butler takes the appropriate action. But at an informal meal, the diner quietly and quickly lifts the food with a utensil and places it on the side of his plate. However, if food is spilled on another guest, the diner apologizes and offers to pay for cleaning (but lets the other person wipe up the debris!).


  1. When can you leave? If you previously informed the hostess that you will leave at a certain time, this is fine. Otherwise, you should not leave until the hostess leaves. Entertainment and socializing normally follow a formal dinner and it is courteous to remain for at least an hour.


  1. Saying good-bye: When it’s time to leave, rather than detain the host with a lengthy good-bye, make the departure brief but cordial.





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