Ever wondered what to do with the knives and forks while dining out? Confused with the napkin fold!!! Here is a list of dining etiquettes which makes life easier while dining out and around people.
Dining Etiquette is one of the most important aspects of personality development. Meeting and dining out has become a common practice in business and officially get together. Poor dining etiquette is a hurdle to face the get-together or meeting with confidence.
These tips would be an essential guide for you to enjoy a fine dining experience. The so-called rules may vary from place to place but the below tips wouldn’t fail you from presenting yourself at your best in the dining hall.
In The Article
Knives And Forks
Knives and Forks, Why and where on dining?
It is the most usual confusing aspect for many people who are used to flatware as knives and forks are something that is being placed on the table with every course.
Generally, in a perfectly arranged table there are set of forks placed on the left side of the plate and also a set of spoons and knives are kept on the right side.
Remember the table is normally arranged for right-handed people. The simple logic is to start from the outside in, the cutlery which is far from your plate is the one to go in for the first course. Still sounds messy?? No worries… Just follow the host or hostess.
Tips on cutlery
Be mindful to take small parts of food at a single time and remember to put down your cutlery after each mouthful. When you place the cutlery, keep it on the plate.
It should never be placed back on the table or half on the plate and half on the table. If you have two cutleries cross the tip of the cutlery or just angle it in a position if it’s one.
The positioning of cutlery is a sign for the server that you haven’t finished. After you finish your meal place the cutlery vertically flat on the middle of the plate.
The tines of the fork must be positioned upwards and the blade of the knife must face the centre facing the fork. Never pick your cutlery if you happen to drop them on the floor. Relax!! It would be replaced by the server.
Soup And Pudding
Soup spoons are of two shapes one being in a round bowl shape and one in an egg shape. Make sure to place the soup bowl on the table as sip your soup. It is never an acceptable manner to drink the soup from the bowl. Use the spoon beginning at the centre of the bowl and sip the soup from the tip of the spoon. Slurping isn’t good!!!
Pudding!! What is it?
As we all assume, a Pudding isn’t a dessert. They are two different courses; however, one can be replaced with the other. Pudding is a sweet dish and the dessert is something fruity and cheesy A pudding is eaten using a spoon and a fork.
The pudding spoon is positioned similarly to that of a knife as the bowl of the spoon is towards the inside and is held on the right hand (for right-handed people).
Why fork for pudding?
The fork while dining pudding is used a pusher and do not place your fork in the mouth as you taste your pudding. Slip in small portions of the pudding to the spoon using the fork and enjoy your pudding from the spoon. Place back the cutlery on the plate as you have finished eating.
Quite rarely you may come across the pudding spoon and fork over the plate instead of the cutlery being placed on the side of the plate.
The main purpose of a napkin is for dabbing the mouth. Do not wipe your mouth using a napkin; all you have to do with your napkin is “Dab”. As you unfold the napkin place it on your knees.
Definitely tucking of a napkin in front of your shirt or dress isn’t acceptable. In old days this trend of tucking was acceptable but now it doesn’t seem to be welcomed.
Away from table
In case you are moving away from the tables for any reason place the napkin on the seat. This is a sign of conveying to the server that you would be returning back shortly. As you come back to pick the napkin and place it back on your knee.
Slip of the napkin
If the napkin drops on the floor; it is fine to pick it up in case there are no butlers around. Do not place anything over your napkin especially food items. As you finish your meal place the napkin in a tidy manner back without refolding on the left side of the plate.
Body And Seating
Generally, there will be a seating plan displayed at the entrance of the dining hall or a name card will be placed on the table. If neither is available, be patient to be seated by the hostess. At times there are certain rules on who to sit where in a table, so it would be quite embarrassing if you are asked to move after you take your seat.
Host and Hostess at the table
The hostess governs the table and not the host. Usually, the host sits in the head of the table which is generally away from the doors and commotions.
The wife of the guest of honour sits to the right of the host and the wife of the next person of importance sits to the left of the host. Guest of honour sits to the right of the hostess and the person of next importance sits to the left. The seating of the rest of the guest is normally arranged alternating based on gender.
As you sit at the table plant your feet firmly on the floor in front of you. The crossing of legs, shaking of legs and shoes and leaning back on the chair is absolutely a Big No. Keep your elbows to your side always. Position yourself upright and do not lean towards your plate as you eat.
Glasses And Wine
Generally, there is more than one glass placed on the table. The glass meant for you is usually placed on the right upper side of the plate. It is accepted to have up to four glasses for a person. The glasses are normally arranged in diagonal or a rough square pattern.
Wine Glass order!!!!
The glass on the top left is usually meant for red wine. This glass has a decently large bowl. White wine is served in the glass which is exactly below the red wine glass and this will be smaller. The top right has smaller glasses meant for champagne or dessert wines or port. The water glasses are placed on the bottom right.
If you are offered a toast, you can just sit while the others stand. It is not a good sign to raise the glass by yourself. Do not touch the glass of the guest as you toast. All you have to do is just raise the glass in their direction. Eye contact while toasting is appreciable.
If you want to offer a toast, never clash your glass to a utensil. It may damage the glassware and it is also considered a rude mannerism. Just clear your throat as a sign of offering a toast.
Gulping wine at a dinner table looks ill-mannered. Getting drunk in front of the host and guests!!! Doesn’t sound or look great. Just sip occasionally. Wine is kept as part of the meal to complement the food and definitely not to get drunk.
As you are served by the server never obstruct by placing your hand over the glass or near the glass to say no. Politely tell the server that you have enough or convey him before he serves that you are done. Place the glass on the table as the server serves your wine. Do not hold the glass in your hand as he pours the wine.
Food In General
Do not start your meal till everyone is served. If the guests are huge then the hostess may direct everyone to begin their food before even everyone is served. Unfortunately, if you have filled yourself mouthful and you are unable to swallow, excuse yourself and remove it in privacy. Never do it in the table and place it on the napkin or plate.
If your meals contain stones or pips or bone particles, you may remove it using your thumb or forefinger. Place them on the sides of your plate. Do not use a toothpick at the table. Blowing of your nose at the table is a Big No.
Salt and Snacks
Never salt your meals before you taste it. It is considered insulting to the hostess. Certain Small pre-dinner snacks should always be placed on your plate before you consume it. Eating such snacks directly from the serving tray isn’t a welcoming etiquette.
If you have a bread as a part of your meal, make use of a small plate which is usually placed on the left side of the plate or above the cutlery on your left. If the plate isn’t available place the bread on the table on the left side of your plate, it is a perfectly accepted etiquette.
Bread vs Butter!!!
Bread should not be placed directly on the plate and it shouldn’t be cut. Just tear a bite-size piece using your fingers as you eat. Butter is generally not part of the dinner table but nowadays it is included.
If you are to have butter with the bread spread it with a butter knife which is generally placed at last towards the right in the cutlery sequence next to your plate. Take as much as butter you require at one go and place it on the side on the side plate. Butter every piece of bread as you eat, do not butter altogether.
Discussion about politics, religion or sex isn’t appreciated unless you are familiar with everyone on the table. Avoiding controversial topics which are not included in the above three topics may also be avoided. Dinner is a place to enjoy your food and not a place for any debate.
Share your time equally with the person on your right and on your left. It could be bit complex to converse with strangers but it is definitely imperative that you include everyone in a discussion.
Minimize the volume but don’t go on mute or loud tones
Never yell at the people at the ends of the table. Conversing in low tones is appreciated but not necessarily to keep up to the level of decorum maintained at church or library. Enjoying dinner is a must and conversation is part of the enjoyment even during dating occasions.
If you aren’t confident about holding a conversation with a person just go ahead asking a question about them (avoid any personal questions). Usually, most of us like to speak about ourselves and you will appear a good listener using this tactic.
Certain food items are difficult to eat . So below are quick tips for some such foods:
- Artichokes – Break every leaf using your finger, one at a time. Hold the spiny end, with dripping butter or sauce suck the fleshy part using the teeth. Leave the remains on the plate. As you reach the soft part of the leaf which is known as the heart, use a knife and fork to bite it as you would do with a steak.
- Asparagus – Take every stem with your left hand and dip it in sauce or butter. Take one bite at a time and do not stuff the whole stalk in your mouth. If the base is hard to leave it on the side of your plate. The thick white kind which is generally available in Europe is better had with knife and fork than fingers.
- Cheese – Cheese in small round shapes are better when cut into small pie type wedges. Large cheese which is pre-cut into large pieces must be cut at the pointy end which is known as the nose.
- Escargots – This Snail variety is generally served with a specific grip tool and a tiny fork. The gripper is used to hold the shell with a grip and the fork is used to pull out the meat.
- Fruit – When a dessert is served a dessert fork and knife is kept along. When fruit slices are bigger, fork and knife must be used to slice them up before you eat.
- The fuss is a Mess!!! Never fuss around if you do not like the something. Just leave it.
- Blow is a No!! Do not blow over a hot meal to cool it, leave it to cool on its own.
- No Smoking without asking!! Never smoke at the table without being invited to do so by the hostess.
- Pics and clicks aren’t the right picks!!! Don’t click pictures of the table, it may look desperate.
- Moving isn’t a good thing!! Moving the plate after the food is served is not right.
- Serve manners to the Servers!! Treating the servers badly, make you look quite common and rude.
- Chewing chicken!!! Eating Chicken or chops with fingers must be avoided.
- Point for Pointing!!! Never point at anyone using the cutlery.
- Wine vs Fork!! Never hold your fork as you sip your wine.
- Stay short and sweet!! It isn’t great to overstay your welcome.
Lastly, make sure to thank the host for the invitation and appreciate her efforts for the delicious meal. Make sure to send across a thank you note the next day if you feel delighted having been invited.