I’m no Emily Post, but I have certain standards of behavior at the dinner table that are non-negotiable.
I am constantly disgusted by the apparent lack of etiquette I’ve witnessed, especially when eating out with business associates. Didn’t anyone show them how to behave when dining with others?
Over the past year, I’ve seen people chewing with their mouths open, licking sauce from their fingers, ham fisting their utensils, and shoveling food down their throats like it was their last meal. At one barbeque restaurant, my companion actually used a pick on her teeth. Right there at the table.
And before you ask, no, these were not fast food restaurants or buffets.
Am I being overly sensitive? I realize that there are cultural differences that should be considered, but in all of these cases I was out with professionals. That means they should have known better, right?
Well guess what, I looked into the current standard of table etiquette and discovered that I was breaking some rules myself.
Maybe it’s time for all of us to have a refresher course.
Can you name all ten of Ms. Post‘s rules of the table? Go ahead, give it a shot before reading further.
I even found a few more at the Etiquette Scholar site that are definitely worth mentioning.
Let me know if you have any house rules that go beyond these standards and we’ll create our own Away Is Home standard of table manners for travelers.
From Emily Post; keep these basic behaviors in mind as you eat:
1. Chew with your mouth closed.
2. Avoid slurping, smacking, and blowing your nose.
3. Don’t use your utensils like a shovel or as if you’ve just stabbed the food you’re about to eat.
4. Don’t pick your teeth at the table.
5. Remember to use your napkin at all times.
6. Wait until you’re done chewing to sip or swallow a drink. (The exception is if you’re choking.)
7. Cut only one piece of food at a time.
8. Avoid slouching and don’t place your elbows on the table while eating (though it is okay to prop your elbows on the table while conversing between courses.)
9. Instead of reaching across the table for something, ask for it to be passed to you.
10. Always say ‘excuse me’ whenever you leave the table.
Additional suggestions from the Etiquette Scholar:
• Avoid blowing on your food to cool it down.
• Don’t eat half of what you have placed on your fork or spoon, eat every bite completely.
• Don’t wave utensils about in the hand, you risk stabbing a dinner partner or knocking over a glass.
• Don’t fidget with your tie or jewelry, adjust your flatware, play with your napkin or your hair. Keep still and calm.
• Don’t wave away a server. If you do not want something, just say, “No thank you.”
• Don’t announce to the table that you have finished eating or push your plate away when you are done with the meal.
• Avoid sopping up the sauce left over from a dish with a piece of bread.
• Avoid a primping routine at the table. Whether you’re a man or a woman, don’t use a comb at a restaurant table, nor should you rearrange your hair or put your hands to it wherever food is served.
And I’d like to add my personal rules:
• Don’t eat with your hands unless invited to and certainly don’t lick your fingers to remove sticky sauces from your hands.
• No matter how decadent the dessert, soup or sauces, never raise the dish to your face to drink or lick the plate
I really do think table manners still matter. Please share any of your own house rules in the comments section, and we’ll create the Away Is Home standard for this site.
In the case of my toothpick wielding friend, I had to ask, “What are you doing?” Apparently she’s done it forever and never gave it a second thought. Her justification was that the restaurants often provide the tiny wooden sticks at the table or on the way in or out of the establishment.
When I mentioned that I thought using a pick at the table was just like using floss or picking out of your teeth with your nails, she was horrified. Come to think of it, we haven’t been out to eat together since.