By Samuel White
Don’t you just hate it when someone chews so loudly, or someone is talking and food particles are flying off their mouth and you just don’t know how to politely ask? Well, this is the article for them. You might want to share this with them and ask, “Don’t you think this is cool?” This is not just for them but also for us looking to be sophisticated, and you never know when good etiquette can make a good name for you.
To start us off, there are two types of formal dining that one should know about; American style and Continental (European) style of dining. The two are kind of the same, and the difference comes where, in American style, once you cut your food with your knife, you are to place it down and switch the fork to your right hand and repeat the process till you are done with your meal. In continental style, the fork and the knife stay on the same hands(fork on your left and knife on your right hands respectively) till you are done with your meal.
Let us now get into the process of when you arrive at an event or dinner party or generally at home with family, till the table is set.
When invited to an event or dinner party or something of the sort, note that, you should arrive on time, not too early-in that, if they are behind on schedule, they would not be embarrassed and you would not join the preparation party- and call in advance when you know you are going to be late.
When at a brunch, for example, and there is food and drinks, avoid crowding your hand. Get food and eat and once done, get a glass or a cup of a drink. Always keep one hand free. When drinking, if you must have an alcoholic drink, drink in moderation. This shows respect to the hosts and you can drive or leave for home safely.
Another important thing to note is that you should always place your bags, purses, sunglasses and any other accessories on an empty chair or on the floor next to you, never on the table. Your elbows should also be below the table.
When sat at a table, you want to put your napkin on your lap and it remains on your laps throughout the meal. If you need to be excused, you should place the napkin on the chair you are sat on, never on the table top. Only when a host places the napkin on the table are you allowed to place yours on the table. When the host does this, it signifies the end of the meal.
Unless you are by yourself, one is advised to order food that is easy to eat and not messy. For example, one can order steak, rather than non-steak. This makes it easier to converse at the table and one does not struggle with the food.
It is typically polite to always wait for everyone to be served so that one can start eating. The only exception for this is when whoever has not been served asks for you to do so.
At a table, when presented with a number of utensils, make sure to start from outside and work your way in. For example, if you have two forks provided, start with the one on the outside as you progress inward. Make sure to also not talk with your utensils for example, pointing at someone with a knife. If it is a self-service at a table, make sure to pass food to your right. If you are the first one serving, offer some to the person on your left, then serve yourself and pass it to the right. When asked to pass something from the table, never pause to use it before passing it on. It is rude and un-classy.
During a meal, it is advisable to eat slowly and take a few and small bites at a time. Chew then with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth. Avoid slurping or blowing soup or hot drinks, instead, with a spoon, stroke gently till it cools or wait for it to cool.
It might sound cliché but it is advisable not to clean your plate, it is polite to leave some food on the plate. When you are done eating place your cutlery in a 10,4 o’clock position. This signifies that you are done and the waiter or the waitress will come to pick your plate. In the case of unformal dining, just leave the plate on the table and your host will take care of it.
Congratulations, now you know of the dining etiquette. Now go out there and conquer the world. Remember, nobody was born perfect so you can practice and soon enough it will come to you naturally.