Know the Rules: Eating Etiquette

Like all things, the superior way of eating takes practice. Dining etiquette, or table manners, should be a priority if you care about what people think of you. Employers and future relatives can tell a lot about you by the way you eat in a formal setting!

Immediately after you take your seat, put the provided napkin in your lap. (If there is a host or hostess, wait for them to place their napkin in their lap.) Do not shake or “snap” open your napkin, simply unfold it in one smooth motion. Don’t tuck your napkin into your collar, belt, or between your shirt buttons. There is no rule for how frequently you should use your napkin, but when you do, never wipe your face. Instead, pat it gently.

Ever get confused on which cup belongs to you? To determine which glass is yours, touch your right index finger to your thumb. Your right hand should form the letter “D” in sign language, “d” for drink. Hence, the cup to the right is yours!

So your napkin is set, your goblet is filled, and a waiter delivers a steaming plate of your favorite meal. Eagerly, you dig in as your hungry friends stare enviously, right? Wrong! It is very rude to begin eating when the rest of your table hasn’t received their food.  

These are only a few of the most basic table manners. There are many subcategories and exceptions, like the difference between continental and American styles, but the main rules stay the same. Chew with your mouth closed, don’t put any personal belongings on the table, pass food to the right, etc. Knowing the proper etiquette rules of the table can help you a lot later in life, but you have to start today!


By Becky Wood

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