Sunday, June 1, 2008

Table Manners and Etiquette

I have two children in their teens and I allow them to go to parties and social gatherings at this stage in their lives. I want them to enjoy the experience of teenage life. It is in this stage that they learn to attach and associate to their peers for their personal identity and detach from my prying eyes to satisfy their feeling of being responsible individuals. I am duty bound to give them the foundation of what they will be in the outside world. Lets start with how they conduct themselves in front of the dining table. Table manners or etiquette should be taught and practiced at home. Self-confidence lies also in knowing what do to properly in a given time and space. Here are the simplest amongst what we have learned and doing in our dining table and at social gatherings.

• Sit up straight.

• As soon as you sit, put your table napkin on your lap.
• Hold your utensils properly- spoons and forks are held horizontally by three fingers: middle finger by the first knuckle, the index finger, and the thumb which rests by the fork or spoon’s handle. The knife held by the thumb and middle finger with the index finger gently pointed, pressing outwards over the top of the blade to guide as you cut.

• If there are a lot of forks, spoons and knives in front of you, the rule is out moving in, meaning, the outer ones are used for the first dish and so on.
• Your glass is to the right and your bread to the left.

• Do not over stuff your plate with food.
• Do not over reach for things. Politely ask for it to be passed to you.
• Do not take the first bite. Your cue is when the host/hostess have started.
• Taste your food before adding salt and pepper.
• Chew with your mouth closed, no funny noises of slurping or burping.
• Eat bread by breaking them into small pieces.
• Wipe your mouth before you take a sip to avoid smudging your glass.
• If you can’t handle a drink, don’t.
• Never rest your elbows on the table. In between bites, rest your hands on your lap.
• If you have a tough piece of meat stuck in your mouth, please do not spit it out on your napkin. Food stuck between your teeth should be taken off with the tongue. Don’t do the teeth vacuum. If you must, stand up and excuse yourself to expel the meat privately.
• If you have piece of bone in your mouth, remove it using the same utensil it went in with, putting the bone on the edge of your plate.
• Never leave the table before the meal is done. If you must, excuse yourself.

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