How to eat your holiday meal (the proper way)

etiquetteChristmas is right around the corner and you know what that means (NO, not lots of presents!) your bound to being eating a holiday meal at someone else table, whether it’s at your grandparents house or maybe even your new boyfriend’s family, you don’t want to be caught with bad manors at the table! I feel sometimes my generation missed a step along the way, etiquette schools no longer exist (do they?) and while I had a set of grandparents that wanted to make sure I knew the proper way ladies should sit at the table and how to set one, I probably never would have learned had it not been for them (and you mom!). Even though our world has become pretty informal (I wear jeans to work everyday and when I have to dress up I feel like a alien has taken over my body) but heavens to Betsy your future mother-in-law asks you to set the table and you put the forks and knives on the wrong sides… you’ve gone from husband material to eating at the kids table in a matter of seconds (which would probably be more fun anyways…). I found this cute “Dinner Etiquette” guide with some illustrations (for those of you who are more visual learners) on one of my favorite new blogs, “A Cup of Jo”. Hopefully her guide will help you out this holiday season! Enjoy!

Dinner etiquette

I’ve always been fascinated by etiquette, including which fork to use and where to put your napkin when you leave the table. It’s like a little game, and it can make you feel more confident and empowered. So, here’s a handy guide to eating dinner, illustrated by the fantastic Gemma Correll

If you’re a guest at a dinner party (pictured above), wait to start eating until the host or hostess takes his or her first bite (unless they absolutely insist that you start).
A funny tip that my grandparents used to tell us: The way to sit in your chair is to pretend a cat is in front of you, a mouse is behind.
Your wine and water glasses are to the RIGHT of your plate. Your bread plate is to the LEFT of your plate. If you remember that, you’ll never drink someone’s water or eat their bread again! (A genius tip from readers: To remember the order of the placesetting, think “BMW” — for bread, then meal, then water.)
Surprisingly, salt and pepper should be passed together, even if someone asks only for one. They’re considered “married!”
Never intercept a pass. For example, don’t snag a roll out of the bread basket when it’s on the way to someone else. (You’ll just have to ask them to pass the basket right back!)
Scoop your soup with your spoon tilted *away* from you. And surprise! It’s fine to tilt the bowl slightly away from you to get the last drop of soup. But never blow on your soup or food. Even if it’s piping hot!
Always taste your food before putting on salt and pepper. It’s considered rude to assume the food is under-seasoned before tasting it.
Once you’ve picked up a utensil, it should never touch the table again. You want your utensils to rest fully on the edge of your plate. (“No oars!” gasp the experts.)
When you are finished with your meal, your knife and fork should be placed on your plate diagonally from upper left to lower right (11 to 5 if you imagine your plate as a clock face). This is a secret code to the waiter (or host) that you’re finished.
If you have to go to the bathroom—or if you’re getting up at the end of the meal—just put your napkin to the left of your plate, loosely folded.

Yay, that’s it! Bon appetit!

Re-Posted from Joanna Goddard’s Blog “A Cup of Jo”


1 thought on “How to eat your holiday meal (the proper way)

  1. I LOVE THIS!! I knew I liked you! 🙂 Grammar and manners are my two “things”. Adverbs, the car doesn’t “need washed,” it needs “TO BE freaking washed!” (I think it’s an Ohio thing, dropping that verb)…..I could go ON. Our girls have a “How to be a Lady” book that we read. 🙂 The fork and knife at 10 and 5 is new: I was always taught 12 and 2….I guess if they’re both together and not akimbo all over the plate that progress is being made. AND, I had to laugh at your comment on having confidence on where your napkin goes getting up from your seat: Jamie and I would have this debate and he’d put it on his chair: it IS so liberating to know where it goes. 🙂

    THANKS! I’ll see you Sat: I forgot that I have a hair appt at 9 tomorrow! I hope you have your sweater ready!!!!

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