Dining Etiquette Review

Hello Friends.  It’s been a while since we’ve talked “dining etiquette” and this is definitely a subject that needs refining from time to time.  More and more I go to business luncheons and dinners and am usually in “awe” of the lack of skills at the dinner table.  I’m not stating to sound judgmental, but to encourage all of us to pay attention to our table manners because others really do notice and it sends a message of how much we value the dining experience of those around us.  Here are a few things to remember:
  1. Our napkin remains in our laps until everyone is exiting the table.  If we must exit first or during the meal for any reason, our napkin goes in our chair and then upon our return, back to our lap.
  2. It is not polite to heap our plates full of food.  We should never have food stacked on top of each other.  We also don’t want to fill our plates so full that we can’t see the rim of the plate.  Think conservative, especially if we are at a business or professional luncheon or dinner.
  3. We should never never place our fingers in our mouth for any reason; not to clean our fingers, not to remove food from our teeth and not to get the last taste of sauce from our hands.  NEVER!!
  4. It is polite to only cut one to two bites of food at a time, placing our utensils down in between every one to two bites.
  5. We should never push our plates away from us after we are finished eating to signal that we are finished.  We simply place our utensils side by side at 5:00 with the handles of the utensils slightly off the plate.
  6. We should never stack plates in order to help clean up the mess when at a restaurant or formal dinner.  Only do this when you’re at home or when you have been asked to do so by the host.
  7. We never reach across anyone to get something at the table.  A simple, “please pass the ....” is all we need to do.
  8. We do our best to keep conversation at the dinner table light, refraining from speaking of too serious of topics or topics that are not appropriate such as gross things, vulgar things, sad things, political or religious debates.
  9. We always find ways to sincerely compliment the cook or host.
  10. We NEVER NEVER NEVER announce any dislikes while at the table.  We simply say “No thank you” if we would not care for something.  Hopefully, your host knows her manners and will never ask “Why not?”

These are just a few common mistakes that we tend to make while dining with others.  There are many more skills to use at the table.  Having proper table manners is a great indication of our education level, our ability to show self control and our sincere interest in the dining experience of those we are dining with.  Happy dining!

Monica Irvine
a.k.a. Mary Manners