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Proper Dining Etiquette at the Table

Aug 17, 2007
If you are searching for your next new dining table. It certainly is useful to understand proper dining etiquette.

Silverware Organization

To correctly arrange silverware on your dining table, recall that diners work from the outside in. Forks will go on the left side, and the salad fork will sit outside of the dinner fork. Knives and spoons are on the right side of the setting, with the knife on the inside and spoons on the outside. Save dessert utensils until desserts arrive. Glasses should be placed above the plate and to the right. Remember to never put more utensils on the table than what is necessary.

Silverware in Use

First and foremost, remember to never let your used silverware be in direct contact with the dining table. When not using your silverware, just place it on another plate or bowl.

Two different styles exist. The North American style involves using your right hand to cut food with the knife while stabilizing it with the left hand, and then setting the knife on your plate to exchange the fork to your right hand to eat the cut food. Do not cut more than two pieces of food to eat at a time.

The European style is not as formal and involves keeping the fork in your left hand at all times. While puncturing food with the fork, the tines are facing downward.

The spoon when used for soup, should be kept away from you and filled only about two-thirds full. The soup bowl may be tilted away from you to reach the last bit of soup. Do not slurp the soup from your spoon.

Napkins in Use

As the host sits and places the napkin on their lap, so do the guests since it is a cue to follow suit. A large dinner napkin should be folded once and located on your lap, with the fold should be closer to your body. A smaller lunch napkin can be placed on your lap without folding.

If you need to leave the meal for a bit, just place the napkin on your chair until you return. When you are through with the meal, gently fold the napkin and place it on the left side of your plate.

Eating Manners

Do not start eating until each guest has received their serving, unless it is a large group and the host asks all guests to start eating. If this is the case, avoid eating alone and wait for some other guests to also have their meal before you begin.

When finished eating, do not push your plate away. Place your fork, with tines down, and knife diagonally across the plate, parallel to each other and pointing to the ten o'clock position. Refer to other guides to learn more specifics about etiquette, and enjoy using your new dining table.
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