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Table Etiquette – The Do's And Don'ts
The Use of Your Fork and Spoon
It is important to be able to locate the right pairs of spoon and fork to use. There are several spoons and forks in front of you and each of them has its own specific purposes. What should you do?
The first thing that you should do is to look for your own seat. It is best to ask the host where you should sit yourself. It is embarrassing to assume any seating position but later on to be asked to vacate it.
The utensils are normally arranged in a square-like shape in front of you. The bread plate is placed on the left. The glasses are on the right.
The number of utensils present shows the number of dishes or courses to be served. Normally, there is a maximum of three of any kind of utensil included at one time. You should pick up those utensils which are on the outside first. Follow the same routine for each of the courses served.
Take the spoon and fork above your plate when eating dessert. Use the fork for the cake and the spoon for the custard or ice cream.
The Use of the Table Napkin
The napkin should be placed on your lap. Use it to wipe your fingers and to dab your lips. If you feel the need to leave the table while everyone else is still enjoying the meal, put your napkin on your vacated chair. Put the soiled napkin on the table only at the end of the meal. Crumple it gently and place it to the left of your plate.
General Table Manners
Don't eat anything, even bread, at the table until every guest is seated.
Don't reach across the table to get anything. The person who sits closest to the bread basket is the one to pick it up, offer some to the person on his left, takes some for himself, and then passes the basket to the person on his right.
Don't put down the bread basket. Simply keep passing it after you have gotten your share.
Put a small amount of butter on your plate and then pass it along in the same manner.
Break off a small bite-sized piece of your bread, put butter in it, and then put it in your mouth.
Sip your soup silently from the side of your spoon. Don't blow to cool it. Follow a front to back movement of the spoon on your bowl. Let your spoon rest in the soup plate or on the saucer.
Eat only when everyone has been served. At a large table, at least three or more people can start with their meals as soon as they have been served.
What to Avoid
Never wrap your hands into fists when handling the fork or knife.
Don't saw or stab your food.
Cut one bite-size at a time and eat. Don't cut your food into little pieces at one time.
Don't place any used cutlery back on the clean tablecloth.
Never complain about the food.
Having the good table etiquette is your ticket to being invited once more into a formal gathering. Once you get to know the do's and don'ts, you will be more relaxed every time you join formal dinners.
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