Eating and drinking are life’s greatest pleasures, but negotiating the whole minefield of table etiquette, and managing the trickiest of foods and drinks, can be extremely challenging. But don’t fret if you haven’t got the least idea about the basic rules of table etiquette. If you’re looking for the best way to conduct yourself at a table, this guide, is all you’d ever need. Also, if you were taught table manners as a child but have conveniently forgotten them, then this would be a refresher’s read for you. So go ahead, scroll down and get your table etiquette in place.
The British are easily the best in manners, so let’s take a leaf out of their book of dining etiquette. Whether you are eating at home, in a restaurant, with a group of people or alone, table etiquette should always be followed. Here are some basic rules to remember, for the next time that you sit down to a hearty meal.
As soon as you sit down to eat a meal, immediately place a napkin on your lap. This should only be removed once you’ve finished eating your meal, and you must leave it on the left side of your plate.If you have to use the restroom, leave your napkin on your seat to signal that you’ll be right back.
How you sit is also important. Don’t slouch; sit up straight at a comfortable distance from the table.
While being served, don’t start eating until everyone on the table has been served and the host announces that you may start. However, you may eat if invited by the host.
If you happen to be the host, make sure everyone has been offered everything that they might want on the table. Help yourself last.
Never place your elbows on the table while eating. You must sit straight and place your wrists on the table while you pause, but your elbows should be off the table and in-level with the knife and fork.
Holding the cutlery the right way is also important. The British way of holding the cutlery is holding the knife in right hand, and the fork in the left. Ensure that the fork’s prongs face downwards, and the knife is held tight with the handle tucked into your fist and your fore finger lying along the top. If using a spoon, remember it is always held in the right hand. Never eat anything from the front of the spoon, it should not be held in a right angle to your mouth. Food should be eaten off the side of the spoon.
Also read: How to effectively teach respect to kids
A major etiquette, which most people fail at, is to bring your food to your mouth, and not your mouth to your food. Don’t ever lower your head to the spoon or the soup bowl. Instead, spoon just enough and bring it to your lips.
While eating, keep your mouth closed and try to avoid making noises of any kind, for e.g. scraping the food with your cutlery on the chinaware, clinking your glass against your teeth, slurping the soup etc.
If you want to take a break from eating, signal it with your cutlery. Imagine that your plate was a clock; and place your knife at 4:20 on the right side of the plate and fork at 8:40 on the left, with the tines facing downwards, to signal that you have taken a pause. On the other hand if you are done eating, place your knife and fork close together with the tines facing upwards at 4:20; this will let the host or the waiter know that you have finished eating.
Finally, always compliment the chef or your host, for the meal. Never hurt feelings and be grateful of being invited over.