Mastering Proper Table Manners

Mastering Proper Table Manners

When we first met, my husband was such a slob at the table – he had absolutely no table manners! Today, you can easily call him a gentleman, and I believe that I’m the one to blame (or thank!) for this change. Well, he was determined and took my advice, so some credit goes to him too. If you want to learn about proper table manners (at least in this part of the world) here are a few awesome rules to live, or eat, by.

  1. Napkins

When having an informal meal with friends or family, you should put the napkin in your lap as soon as you sit down at the table. At more formal events, you should wait for your cue from the host or hostess. When the hostess unfolds and puts her napkin in her lap, you should do it too.

  1. The food

At both informal and formal events, you should wait for the host to start handling the food before you dig in. No one likes the person who takes the bowl of food and starts slamming it on their table before the host even sat down! My husband used to do that a lot, but thankfully, now he’s completely over it.

  1. Starting the meal

For heaven’s sake, don’t start digging in before anyone else has even got the chance to put the food on their plates. It’s common courtesy to wait until everyone has their food on the plate before saying bon apetit and starting eating.

  1. Posture

Don’t slouch over the table like a slob! My husband had real problems with this and in the end he had to wear a posture brace that we found at Well, he had real problems with his posture already. But especially for those of you who aren’t slouching in your daily lives, it’s imperative to sit up straight and keep your elbows of the table during the entire meal!

  1. Utensils

The fork should be held with your left hand and the knife in your right. When cutting, you should place your index finger along the top of the knife blade and make elegant cutting moves. Then put the food in your mouth with the fork – not with the knife as my husband used to do! If you’re not using the knife, leave it on the table.

  1. Passing food

When you’re passing bowls or plates of food, you should always pass to your right, unlest the host makes the first pass to the left – then pass on to the left to avoid confusion. Don’t give plates to a random person at the table because this always leaves someone who didn’t even touch a particular dish!

  1. The end of the meal

If you’re at a formal dinner, there will be staff to remove the dishes and utensils. If not, it’s up to the host to clear the table, although it’s always nice if you offer to help. The host should, of course, decline the offer, but it’s still polite to ask.