..Mind your manners..
Sit up straight. Keep your elbows off the table. Don't talk with food in your mouth. Never eat with your fingers. If you think table manners are a pain today, you should have been around just a few decades ago when the old adage "children should be seen and not heard" was the rule. The problem extends, however, into the twenty first century world of fast foods and hectic schedules. Even though you haven't been taught them, somehow you're still supposed to be learned about matters of etiquette.
Beinggirl decided to clear up some of the confusion by supplying a few facts about the formal manners business. Why bother with a bunch of hoity-toity rules someone else created a long time ago? Because manners, wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, are the happy ways of doing things. Rules were meant to make the experience of dining pleasant, thoughtful and tidy. If the disapproval of the etiquette cops in your life makes you feel uncomfortable, look over these facts.
if you are invited to a dinner where your knowledge of table manners is being tested, remember:
- Don't start to eat before the hostess begins her meal.
- Never dip bread into the remnants of gravy, sauce, or soup. You may, however, place the bread in the fluid and then cut it with a knife and fork.
- While we're discussing bread, only butter that section of bread you're going to eat in the next bite. Tear the bread with your hands, not your teeth.
- Whether you cut spaghetti with a knife or not, never let it dangle off the fork and never slurp it up.
- Never dip your tortilla chip into a communal bowl of salsa. Pour a portion of any sauce onto your place and dip from there.
- Guide your soup spoon away from the body. Then center it over the bowl to let drippings fall before bringing the spoon to your mouth.
- You may place your elbows on the table between courses.
- If you drop a utensil on the floor, ignore it.
- You should always taste food before adding salt or pepper.
- If you are eating with someone who has a piece of spinach between his teeth, do you tell him? Yup, it's kinder than saying nothing, since the problem is so easily solved.
- If you're eating a piece of meat that has a serious bone, and there's still meat on that bone, and you can't cut it with a knife, can you pick it up? A qualified yes but leave a bit of meat on the bone. Tearing it up in company is a no-no.
- And if you're ever asked to set a table, here are the easy to remember rules for utensil placement. Those with five letters...knife, spoon, glass...go on the right (also five letters). The fork, which is the only utensil with four letters, goes on the left (also four letters).