Etiquette Friday: Table MannersBy Angela Marshall, 11th May 2012
Table manners can ruin your image
It’s Friday and the day I request you join me in my campaign for 2012 to change “Casual Friday” to “Etiquette Friday” , to get people and companies involved. If we consciously make an effort every Friday then hopefully it will become a habit every day. I challenge you to make one small change a week and by the end of the year let’s hope we have a more pleasant and positive society.
Over the years British Table Manners have been regarded as a very important part of traditional British standards. With lifestyle changes, families are eating less together and often people eat on the go, therefore table manners have become very relaxed and quite often ill-mannered. However, people do notice good table manners, whether in business or when personally socialising, and respect people more for it.
Laying and Using the Utensils
The layout of cutlery and how they are used can vary, including in restaurants, as well as in various countries. even in western countries e.g. United States and Great Britain. In Britain the table is laid with the fork on the left, knife on the right and the spoon either on the right or above. American style of eating with a knife and fork requires that, after cutting with your right hand, you put the knife down and switch the fork to your right hand. Generally Europeans keep utensils in the same hands throughout the entire meal.
You should not start your meal before everyone has received their food. However, when at a banquet table, you may find the two people to your left and right have been served and you are waiting for your food. Then it is a good idea to encourage others to start especially when the food served is hot, so it doesn’t get cold. When food needs passing around e.g. vegetables then take items from the left; and pass to the right. However if it starts the wrong way around then I suggest you go with the flow.
Tips to remember:
- Eat with your mouth closed
- Avoid speaking when your mouth is full and at least put your hand up to your mouth if you need to speak
- Bread plate is on the left
- Glasses for drink are on the right
- Work from the outside in with your cutlery
- Put your napkin on the chair, if you need to leave the table
- Reach only for items in front of you, ask that other items be passed by a neighbour
- Take your time and enjoy your food and drink
- Finish you food before you take a drink
- Only put your napkin on the table when the meal is finished
Table manners can ruin your image, so make sure you don’t let yourself down.
Image credits to cutleryandcatering