Table Manners 101: Do You Know Your Dinner Etiquette?
Proper table etiquette is practiced daily in some circles; in others, it has all but disappeared. Here's how to know how to behave at dinner, in both formal and more informal settings.(12 Photos)
At the Table
The following introductory tips and rules will help save you social embarrassment the next time you head out for dinner and might even be fun to put into regular practice at your own family table.istockphoto
According to Emily Post, a basic table setting can be achieved by remembering the acronym FORKS, and placing the utensils and dishes in order of the letters they represent. The fork is represented by the F, the plate by the O, the knife by the K and the spoon by the S. Just eliminate the letter R. Remember that the cutting edge of the knife should face inward toward the plate.MASTERFILE
B & D
With your left hand, if you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger and stick the remaining fingers up in the air, you have a lowercase letter 'b.' Do the same with the right hand and you’ll find a lowercase letter 'd.' The 'b' reminds you that the bread and butter plate goes on the left, and the 'd' is representative of the dessert plate, which goes on the right side of the setting.MASTERFILE
With a good grasp of basic table manners, you’ll feel comfortable in any dining situation. Follow these more popular conventions.istockphoto
Always, always, always!
Always chew with your mouth closed and wait until you have swallowed your food to speak or drink. Keep your elbows off the table, unless chatting between courses.MASTERFILE
Take Your Time
Cut only one piece of food at a time, chew calmly, and swallow before taking a sip of your drink.
Say excuse me whenever you leave the table, and stay until all have finished (especially if you expect your kids to do the same).MASTERFILE
To the Left, To the Left!
When passing food around a table family-style, always pass it in the counter clockwise direction. This provides order to the food being passed around.MASTERFILE
Don’t reach across the table for something but rather, ask for it to be passed to you.MASTERFILE
Don't Be Sloppy
Always place your napkin in your lap (in formal settings, wait for your host or guest of honor to be the first to place hers in her lap). Once in your lap, keep it there throughout the meal, folded in half if large, bringing it up to blot your mouth as required. When your meal is complete, lay it tidily and gently to the side of your plate.
If You Are Full...
To signal you’re finished eating, set utensils on the plate with both ends resting at 4 o’clock. Do not push your plate away from you.MASTERFILE
More Ways Than One
There are two styles of eating: the American and the Continental or European. The American ways sees the fork being held in the left hand for cutting, then being switched back to the right hand to pick up and eat the food. The Continental way has eaters keeping the fork in the left hand the entire time.
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