- Seat yourself from the left side of the
chair and rise from the same side to avoid bumping into others. The
exception is if you are on the far right end, enter from the right
to avoid excessive movement.
- Sit erect at the table. Do not rest your
arms on the table or crowd the individual next to you. Keep your arms
close to your body to avoid hitting the person beside you. Be especially
careful when cutting food.
- No one should begin to eat until all
are served and the host or hostess begins eating. Before a plate is
passed for asecond serving or when through eating, place the knife
and fork close together across the center of the plate. If in a large
group, begin eating when the immediate group around you has been served.
- Take small bites and eat slowly and quietly.
Do not attempt to talk with food in your mouth.
- Talk about cheerful, pleasant things
at the table.
- Do not sniff food to determine if you
- Stir your beverage only once or twice
to mix sugar and/or cream.
- Do not play with your food or move food
from one side of the plate to the other.
- Pace your meal. Never continue to eat
long after others have stopped.
- Always use serving utensils to serve
yourself, not your silverware.
- Crumbling crackers or mixing foods is
inappropriate and offensive.
- Catsup is to be poured on one section
of the plate, not over the entire food portion. The idea is never
to let your plate look messy.
- Jellies, pickles, and other relishes
to be eaten with the fingers, are placed on the bread and butter plate,
if available. Jellies or relishes to be eaten with a fork along with
the main course are placed on the dinner plate.
- When a bread and butter plate is on the
table, use it appropriately.
- Butter is to be placed on the dinner
plate or bread/butter plate with thebutter server. Break bread in
halves or quarters and butter only the portion you are eating, never
the entire roll. Use your knife for spreading and not the butter server.
- The bread and butter knife remains on
the bread and butter plate at the end of the meal.
- Use fingers to remove bread from the
serving plate. Spearing or eating bread with a fork is not in good
- Fingers, not forks, are used to eat such
foods as crackers, olives, pickles, radishes, and potato chips.
- Pick up serving dishes in front of you
and pass them to the right. You will be the last to receive the dish.
Take small portions so that all present will have an equal portion.
- Salt and pepper shakers are to be passed
together even when only one is requested.
- If sugar is in small packages and is
requested, pass the container, not one or two packages. Place paper
envelopes on the edge of the saucer or under the rim of your plate
and not in the ashtray.
- Ask to have an article passed rather
than reach in front of a person to get it.
- Used silverware is left on the dish with
which it was used; don't leave spoons in bowls or cups. Place your
spoon in the saucer at the end of the meal.
- Do not cool food by blowing on it. Never
pour hot beverages into the saucer to cool, nor drink from the saucer.
- Accept a second helping if it is desired,
only after everyone has been served once.
- If you pass your plate for a second serving,
leave your knife and fork on the plate with the knife on the outside.
- Place the napkin on the knees. If it
is large, unfold it halfway. Use the napkin to wipe the mouth and
fingers as necessary.
- Ask to be excused if you must leave the
table before the others. Place your napkin in the seat of your chair-
lightly folded, not wadded.
- The napkin is to be placed on the table
to the left of the plate at the end of the meal function (not meal)-
lightly folded, not wadded.
- Don't make an issue if you don't like
something or can't eat it.
- Toothpicks are to be used in private,
never at the table or in public places.
- Avoid touching your hair and using a
handkerchief at meal time. Come to the table with clothing and hair
neat and tidy. Do not bite your fingernails or trim them.
- When in use, hold the handle of the knife
lightly in the right hand, without touching the blade. The knife is
used only for cutting food.
- Use the fork in preference to the knife
or spoon whenever possible. Hold the fork, tines up, lightly in the
right or left hand, between the thumb and the first finger. Rest the
fork on the reverse side of the third finger, except when using in
cutting, then hold it in the left hand, tines down. Avoid an upright
position of the fork when cutting.
- When in doubt about whether to use a
fork or spoon, follow the general rule. Foods served in a cupped dish
are usually eaten with a spoon; those on a flat dish with a fork.
There are exceptions to this as there are for all rules. For example:
Oyster and shrimp cocktail are eaten with a fork.
- Do not hold food on the fork or spoon
while talking, nor wave your silverware in the air or point with it.
- Do not push food with the fingers or
- Dip the soup spoon away from you. Sip
liquids from the side and solids from the tip.
- Do not leave the spoon standing in a
cup or dessert dish, but place it on the saucer or plate underneath
the cup or dish.
- Cut no more than two bites of food at
- Never lick an ice cream cone. Eat by
small bites with the lips.
- Be sure to tell your host or hostess
that you enjoyed the meal.