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Table Manners

The purpose of table manners is to make dining a pleasant experience for everyone. Common sense can be the best guide to courteous table manners, but many people often do not utilize it when necessary. Here are a few basic rules to follow to make the dining experience gratifying for everyone:

Never chew with your mouth open or speak with your mouth full.

Always eat slowly - one bite at a time.

When you sit at the table, do not slouch or slump; sit up straight and bring the food to your mouth.

Do not put your elbows on the table; place one hand In your lap if you are not using it for eating.

If you need something on the table that is not in your immediate reach, ask your dining companions to pass it to you; never reach across the table or in front of another person.

Place you napkin on your lap after you are seated; never tuck it in your collar.

If you must leave the table during a meal, place your napkin on your chair.

When you are finished eating, place the napkin to the left of your plate; do not refold it or crumple it into a ball.

Never light up at a dining table; if you must smoke, excuse yourself from the table.

If you are a guest at a small dinner, wait until the hostess begins to eat before you start.

If you are a guest at a large banquet, you may begin as soon as you are served or when the diners at the head table begin.

Finger Foods

Many people feel uncomfortable eating anything with their fingers. The setting, of course, will affect your decision of whether or not to use your fingers. A picnic, for example, encourages eating with your fingers while a restaurant does not. There are some foods however, that are almost always eaten with the fingers. Some of them are:

Apples

Artichokes

Carrot sticks

Celery Cookies

Corn on the cob

Crackers

Crispy Bacon

Donuts

Grapes

Olives

Pretzels

Radishes

Sandwiches

Tacos

If a food has a pit or seed, use a spoon to remove it from your mouth to a plate. If there are no spoons, you can put the seeds in your hand and then dispose of them properly.

These rules are basic points of table manners but there are other elegant ins and outs of dining, practiced throughout the world. It is nice if you are familiar with the details of elegant dining, but if you are not, do not allow it to disturb you. If you are thoughtful of others and considerate of other people’s feelings, you need not be ashamed of your manners. If you are in a formal situation for which you are unprepared, follow your host or hostess’ lead or ask someone the proper method. If you are a person of genuine politeness, no-one will mind sharing their knowledge with you.


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