Saturday, December 01, 2007

Table Manners

There are many guides to table manners out there. But we live in a blogging culture in which all information must be instant and short. So here are the five essential things you MUST do no matter what:

  1. Hold your fork and spoon properly. There is only one way: balance them between the first knuckle of the middle finger and the tip of the index finger; the thumb steadies the handle. There are no variations on this, no issues of personal style, and no regional permissions. For some things, such as cutting with the other hand, there are other variations that require turning the fork over. If you are unsure, default to the orthodox way.
  2. Put your napkin in your lap after you sit down to dinner. Do not forget.
  3. Don't smack. This is easy, right? Apparently not. Smacking is incredibly and disgustingly common. People must suppose that others don't hear it. But they do, and it's awful. There is only one way in the known universe to prevent smacking: keep your lips closed when there is food in your mouth, no matter what.
  4. Eat at the margin, not the aggregate. Don't cut all your steak up before you begin eating. Don't butter your whole roll. Prepare each bit separately.
  5. If in doubt, wait for others. Don't start eating anything until everyone has been served.


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