Essential Dining Etiquette
19th September 2016
New neighbour invited you round for dinner? Or perhaps you’re planning on hosting a meal yourself with some friends or colleagues. Either way, there are rules to dining simply lost on most people these days.
Want to impress? Then follow these instructions to stand out as the most courteous and respectful person in the room.
NEVER Pull Out Someone’s Chair For Them.
Now this might seem like strange advice but bear with me. It can be okay to open the door for your guests but you shouldn’t pull out a chair for them, regardless of their gender. People are able to pull out their own chairs and, although they may not admit it, they may feel like your mollycoddling them. Especially consider this when in a business setting as societal gender rules should be left behind. Also, while the topic is relevant the host should have an idea of seating arrangements before the meal.
Remember To Consider Dietary Restrictions.
In modern times there is an increasing number of people that are undertaking dietary restrictions for various reasons, from health improvement to absolute moral views. It’s important to know these restrictions before having a meal as it could ruin the food as well as the atmosphere you’re striving to create. After all you don’t want to find out someone is vegan after dumping a fresh piece of beef on their plate!
Know Proper Utensil Placement.
There is an easy trick to remembering utensil placement. Simply remember that everything that goes on the “left” of the plate has four letters, whilst everything that goes on the “right” has 5 letters, much like the directions themselves. A few examples include:
- “Food”- starters such as bread and salad, on the left.
- “Glass/drink”- beverages, on the right.
- “Fork”- left
- “Knife”- Right.
In terms of more complicated cutlery it’s easy to remember that you usually start from the outside and work your way in as the meal progresses. Usually the big fork is for the entrée; the big spoon, for the soup. Cutlery placed above the plate is meant for dessert. (Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re confused though!)
Fixing A Dining Faux Pas.
We all make mistakes when eating sometimes so it’s important that we know how to act when something goes wrong. If you only cause a slight disturbance that effects yourself (such as accidentally dropping something out of your mouth onto yourself or your plate) simply move on without bringing attention to it. If you mistake effects someone else, such as a drink spill, keep calm but apologise profusely, offering to pay for any damages. The other guests should forgive you and move on, just don’t draw too much attention to yourself unnecessarily!
Control Your Table Talk.
Remember, volume matters. It can be seen as acceptable to occasionally laugh at a loud volume, but no one likes a hyena! Constant uproar can be irritating and inappropriate. Also, try to talk to many guests at the table not just a single person, you don’t want anyone feeling left out! Don’t shout across the table and don’t ever bring up crude or inappropriate topics, especially at the first meal!
Remember Your Manners, Don’t Criticise!
If you’ve been invited over to someone’s home whom has been kind enough to cook a meal for yourself then you should never EVER criticise any part of the night. Not the location, the food, the company. Even if everything is dreadful you must respect the host within their own home and keep your issues to yourself……..at least until your home.
Yes that absolute cliché of advice, and yet so true. Be yourself, keep active and interested in the conversations around the table and remember to smile! If something goes wrong simply move past it. Just make sure you’re not the one person at the table sat in silence eating uncomfortably, seize the opportunity and enjoy the company! Carpe Diem!