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Be My Guest: Put Your Manners to the Test

There is no better or worse place to make an impression than at the table. Will you make a polished impression at the table this holiday season? Or, will you embarrass yourself by not knowing what is considered polite and proper at the table?

I recommend you put your manners to the test by answering the following questions.

Answer true or false.

1. The host begins the meal by placing the napkin on his or her lap; and you should wait for this “silent signal” before placing your napkin on your lap.

2. At a business function, a man is responsible for seating the woman on his right.

3. It is assumed, as well as correct, that the person who places the invitation for a meal at a restaurant is the one who pays for it.

4. At a business function, if a woman is hosting the meal, she is called a “host.” If she is hosting a meal at home with her husband, she is called a “hostess.”

5. When dining with another person, it is considered polite to order the same number of courses and eat at the same pace.

6. Eating a snack or a one-course meal before attending a business event is considered a good idea if you have a large appetite.

7. When a toast is given, everyone at the table drinks whether you are into wine or not.

8. The host is the first to propose a toast.

9. If you are the guest of honor and a toast is proposed to you, raise your glass and drink to yourself as the others at the table drink to you.

10.  Zig Zag is the Continental, or European, way of dining.

11. When dining in the Continental style, shift the fork from the left hand to the right hand when cutting.

12. The smaller fork at a place setting should be used to eat the entrée.

13. At a buffet, start eating as soon as half of the people have returned to the table.

14. The water glass is always on the left hand side of your plate, and your bread plate is always on your right.

15. A safe rule in using the utensils is to start with the outside silverware and work in.

16. Should you need to go the restroom during a meal, place your napkin on the table, and quietly excuse yourself.

17. It is okay to lick your fingers if you get something tasty on them.

18. Blowing on your soup if it is too hot is okay, as long as you do it quietly.

19. If you are eating a messy meal, it is perfectly okay to tuck your napkin under your chin.

20. Always cut and eat your meat one bite at a time.

21. The way you place your utensils on your place is called the “silent service code.” This “tells” the wait staff whether you are resting or finished with your meal.

22. When finished with a meal, place your knife and fork in the 10:20 “I am finished” position on your plate. In the American style, the tines of your fork will be up. In the Continental style, the tines of your fork will be down.

23. Maintaining good posture at the table is not as important as doing so when standing or walking.

24. In the American style of dining, hands rest on your lap. In the Continental style of dining, hands rest on the table from the wrists up when not eating.

25. It is now considered acceptable to place your cell phone on the table during a meal.



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By: Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick

       November 2015

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