Stuff you Should Know | Table Manners

I’ve been through it too many times to mention; I’m sure you have, too. You sit down at that imposing table and the rows of knives and forks mock you. You put your elbows on the table and get a horrified glare. Sound familiar? Table manners are just as important as remembering your ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’. In keeping with our foodie edition, we run down the basics of table etiquette. Take notes!

Follow the leader

Always your starting point. Watch your host – if he or she is casual, follow suit. If you notice the event is more formal, act accordingly. If you have an invitation, it should state what type of event you’re attending so you know what to expect.

Outside in

This has a 99 percent accuracy rate. If you see rows of utensils lining up on either side of your plate like they’re going into battle, do not panic. Use the first set for the first course, the second for the second course and so on.

It takes two

If it is formal dining, try your best to use two utensils at all times. This will decrease the likelihood of you ending up wearing your food…not a good look. Don’t spear your food; pick it up gently – ONE piece at a time.

Napkin no-no

If there is a napkin at your place setting it should always go on your lap, spread neatly to cover a section of your midriff. Avoid the urge to stuff it into your collar like a cartoon character (cringe!) if you do spill onto the napkin, neatly roll it up and put it next to your plate.

Stop stretching

Formal or informal dining – this is a big no no. Do not stretch your arm (especially if your blouse/shirt is sleeveless!) over the food or someone else’s plate. Yuck. If you absolutely have to stretch, make it as quick as possible and apologise first.

Keep it tidy

Possibly the first rule we are ever taught at a table – do not talk with your mouth full. The rest of the table does not want to see your food rolling around in your mouth. If someone asks you a question place your hand in front of your mouth and wait to swallow before responding.

Hygiene First

Do not pick your teeth – not even with a toothpick (do that discreetly away from the table, if you must) Do not slurp – your drink can be sipped and swallowed without the rest of the table knowing. Do not eat with your hands unless it’s acceptable with the type of food e.g. curry. And, no elbows on the table. Just because.

You’re excused

If you need to leave the table, say ‘please excuse me’ and stand up quietly. Don’t scrape your chair back when you leave or return.

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