Published on January 11, 2008
Table Etiquette: Table Etiquette Marsha Collins AGED 410 Spring 2001 Slide2: Basic Etiquette Tips & Table Manners Serve guests of honor, woman first, then male, then counterclockwise around the table. Serve host then hostess last. Small part of 6 or less, wait to eat until hostess begins. At a large party, hostess urges everyone to begin as they are served Place knife and fork on plate after using, knife with sharp edge facing in and fork with tines up (American) or down (Continental) and placed so they will not fall off the plate. Never place used silverware on the table or leave it in a cup or small bowl. A used soup spoon is left in a large soup plate or on the plate under the soup bowl. A used coffee spoon is placed on the saucer beneath the handle of the cup. Unused silver is left on the table. Slide3: When you are finished, place the fork and knife parallel to each other, so they lie either horizontally across the center of the plate or are on the diagonal, with the handles pointing to the right. Dessert silverware – Place so the spoon can be picked up with the right hand and the fork so it can be picked up with the left hand. The napkin – as soon as you are seated, remove the napkin from your place setting, unfold it, and place it in your lap. If your napkin falls on the floor during a formal meal, do not retrieve it. You should be able to signal a waiter that you need a fresh one. When you leave the table at the end of a meal, place your napkin loosely next to your plate. It should not be crumpled or twisted, it may be casually folded. You may place it in the napkin ring if one is present. When you leave the table at the end of a meal, place your napkin loosely next to your plate. It should not be crumpled or twisted, it may be casually folded. You may place it in the napkin ring if one is present. Slide4: Do not place your napkin in your empty plate. When eating soup or dessert that has liquid, it is acceptable to tip the bowl when necessary, but tip it away from you. Test liquids before eating by testing a small amount with a spoon to see if it is too hot. Never blow on food to cool it. Do not automatically add salt or pepper before tasting. If you need to add to suit your taste, do it unobtrusively. When asked to pass the salt or pepper, pick up both the salt and pepper and place them on the table within reach of the person next to you who will do the same, and so on, until they reach the person who asked for them. They are not passed hand-to-hand. Slide5: To remove inedible items from the mouth, it should go out the same way it went in. Olive pits can be delicately dropped onto an open palm before putting them onto your plate. A piece of bone discovered in a bit of chicken should be returned to the plate by way of the fork. Fish is an exception to the rule. It is fine to remove the tiny bones with your fingers, since they would be difficult to drop from your mouth onto the fork. Cherry pits should be removed with a spoon. An extremely fatty piece of meat that you simply can’t bring yourself to swallow, it will be necessary to surreptitiously spit it into your napkin, so that you can keep it out of sight. Or you can remove it with a fork and place it on your plate and camouflage it with another morsel of food. Just like your mother told you, Keep your elbows off the table! Slide6: When passing food, pass to the right. When passing items such as a creamer or gravy boat, pass it with the handle pointing toward the person to who you are passing it. Bread and rolls should never be eaten whole. Break into smaller, more manageable pieces, buttering only a few bites at a time. Toast and garlic bread may be eaten as whole pieces. A hot muffin or biscuit may be broken in half crosswise, butter and put the pieces back together. When the butter is passed, put some on your bread plate sot that as you butter each smaller piece of bread, you do not need to ask for the butter to be passed again. Slide7: If you are someone’s guest at a restaurant, ask the person what he/she recommends. By doing this, you will learn the price range guidelines and have an idea of what to order. Usually order an item in the mid price range. Keep in mind that the person who typically initiates the meal will pay. Don’t order appetizers or dessert unless your hot does. It is inappropriate for your meal to cost more than your host’s meal. When ordering, avoid foods that are difficult to eat gracefully. Struggling with spaghetti or barbecued ribs will distract your from the conversation and may make you look sloppy. Be prepared. If there is a purpose to the luncheon or dinner meeting, make it clear when extending or accepting an invitation. Bring writing materials. Slide8: If your dining at someone’s home and aren’t sure what to do, follow the actions of the host or hostess as a guide. Remember what your parents told you. Don’t talk with your mouth full, finish chewing, swallow the food and then talk. Cut food into small pieces for eating. If you try to eat large pieces, you may have difficulty chewing and might choke. People from different countries and cultures have table manners that may be different from yours. Respect and accept people with other customs. Slide9: Flatware doesn’t require a road map. Place pieces in the order they’ll be used, working from the outside in. Here’s how the items shown are traditionally used, from left to right: Cocktail fork: seafood or fruit cocktail, lobster, and for serving pickles or olives. Salad for: salads, fish pies, pastries, and cold meats. Fish fork: in place of the dinner fork when fish is served. Dinner fork: all entrees except fish. Steak knife: fur cutting meats. Slide10: Fish knife: in place of dinner or steak knife when fish is served. Butter knife: butter pats, soft cheeses, chutneys and relishes. Dinner knife: all entrees except fish. Soup spoon: desserts, cereal, soup, or as a small serving spoon. Teaspoon: coffee, tea, fruits, and some desserts. Iced beverage spoon: any tall beverage or dessert. Demitasse spoon: after-dinner coffee, condiments, and caviar. Slide11: Water goblet or glass Red wine glass White wine glass Champagne flute All-purpose glass Glassware Slide12: Glassware Brandy snifter: Short-stemmed, small-mouthed, oversized glass is designed to be cupped in the hand so the brandy is warmed. White wine glass: Tulip-shaped glass is designed for white wines, which don’t need as much oxygen to bring out their flavor as reds do. Red wine glass: Rounded bowl helps direct the wine’s bouquet to the nose. Highball glass: Tall, straight-sided and clear, this glass is perfect for iced tea. Double old-fashioned (also rocks or lowball) glass: Squatty glass works well for on-the-rocks and straight-shot drinks. Martini glass: Sophisticated and small, it has a distinctive V-shape. Slide13: Glassware Champagne flute: Tall, slim shape and narrow rim help preserve the bubbles in champagne. Pilsner: Glass suits any type of beer. Frozen or iced beverage glass: Useful for water, iced tea, or tropical drinks. Single old-fashioned glass: Smaller than the double old-fashioned, it allows a drink to be finished quickly, before the ice can melt. Balloon wine glass: Largest of all wine glasses, it allows aged red wine to breathe more effectively. Slide14: Butter Plate and Butter Knife Dinner Plate and Napkin Salad Fork, Dinner Fork, Fish Fork Dinner Knife, Fish Knife, Soup Spoon Dessert Fork and Dessert Spoon Water Goblet, Red-Wine Goblet, White-Wine Goblet Formal Table Setting Slide15: Dinner Plate and Napkin Salad Fork and Dinner Fork Dinner Knife and Soup Spoon Water Goblet and All-purpose Goblet Casual Table Setting Slide16: Table Setting Placement Guide Salad Plate: If salad is served as a first course, this plate is usually put on top of the main plate. Bread plate, with butter knife: When you take butter, do not put it directly onto your bread. Put an adequate amount on your bread plate first, then butter appropriate sized pieces of bread as you are ready to eat them. Salad fork: It is usually on the outside. If your salad is served at the same time as your entrée, you can use the dinner fork for both. Dinner fork: The larger, inside fork. Dessert spoon and fork: You can use the spoon for your coffee or tea if there is not a spoon with the cup and saucer. Table Setting Placement Guide: Table Setting Placement Guide Dinner plate and napkin: At the end of the meal, you should put your napkin on the table only after your host does so an may be draped along side the plate. At some place settings, the napkin may be placed at the left of the forks rather than on the dinner plate. If so, the fold of the napkin should be on the outside. This makes it easier to take the napkin and unfold it as you place it on your lap. Water glass: No double-fisting – It’s a no-no to hold, say a piece of bread or your fork in one hand and your water glass in the other. Red wine glass: If you’re refraining from wine, signify by holding your fingers above the glass when the waiter comes to pour or simply say no thank you to your host. Slide18: Table Setting Placement Guide White wine glass: The more slender of the two wine glasses. Dinner knife: Can be used to push runaway foods, like peas or rice, onto the fork. Salad knife: Sits on the outside. Use it to cup up salad pieces that are too large. It can then be 0laced on the salad plate along with the salad fork when that plate is removed. Dinner spoon: Useful for twirling pasta. Soup spoon: to prevent splashing on your clothing, you should turn the spoon away from yourself when eating soup. Place settings: Place all settings one inch from the edge of the table and align each piece. Slide19: Types of Meal Service American or Family Service: Serving dishes are filled in the kitchen and brought to the table. They are passed around the table and diners serve themselves. After the table is cleared, the dessert may be served at the table or plated in the kitchen and then brought to the table. Russian or Continental Service: This is the most formal style. Serving dishes are never placed on the table. Instead, servants serve guests filled plates of food, one course at a time. Plate replaces plate as one course is removed and another is served. This type of service is often used in fine restaurants and at state dinners. English Service: Plates are filled at the table by the hot or hostess and passed from guest to guest until everyone is served. Because English service requires a lot of passing, it is best used with a small group. Slide20: Types of Meal Service Compromise Service: A compromise between Russian service and English service. The salad or dessert course is often served from the kitchen. For other courses, one of the host fills the plates and passes them around the table. The host or hostess acts as waiter or waitress to clear one course and bring in the next. Blue Plate Service: Used at home when serving small groups of people. The plates are filled in the kitchen and served in the dining room. Second helpings can be offered at the table or served in the kitchen. One person clears the main course and brings in the dessert. Slide21: Buffet Service: Usually used when large numbers of people must be served. Guests serve themselves from the buffet. Guests may then eat at one large table, several small tables or eat from a plate held in the hand while sitting or standing. The menu for a buffet must be chosen carefully. Food should be able to be eaten without having to cut them into bite sized pieces if no seating is available. When serving, serve from the left and clear from the right. Types of Meal Service Slide22: Eating with Your Fingers Artichoke – Pull a leaf off, dip it, scrape the flesh from the base of the leaf with your top teeth and discard the leaf on the plate provided. At the “choke”, switch to fork and knife, first to remove the choke, then to eat the heart and base. Asparagus – May be eaten with fingers as long as it is not covered with sauce or otherwise prepared so it is too mushy to pick up easily. You can also use a fork and knife to eat. Bacon – When cooked until very crisp, and there is no danger of getting the fingers wet with grease, it is okay to pick it up to eat it. Trying to cut a crisp piece of bacon usually results in crushing it into shards that are difficult to round up onto a fork. Slide23: Bread – Tear off a piece that is no bigger than two bites worth and eat that before tearing off another. If butter is provided, butter the small piece just before eating it. Cookies – It is never necessary to try to eat the cookie that comes as a garnish to your dessert with a spoon, unless it has fallen so far into the chocolate sauce that there isn’t a clean corner by which to pick it up. Corn on the Cob – It is unlikely that this will be served at a formal event, but if you encounter corn on the cob, it may be picked up and eaten. The approved method of doing so is to butter one or two rows at a time and to eat across the cob cleanly. Slide24: Chips, French Fries, Fried Chicken and Hamburgers – All these items simply will not be served in a formal setting. Most are intended to be eaten with the hands, although a particularly messy hamburger could be approached with fork and knife, and steak fries (the thick-cut, less crispy variety) may be best eaten with a fork. Hors d’Oeuvres, Canapés, Crudités – Almost everything that is served at a cocktail party or during a pre-meal cocktail hour is intended to be eaten with the finger. Some of these foods make appearances at regular meals as well (although not often very formal ones). When they do, it is still permissible to use the fingers to eat them. This includes olives, pickles, nuts deviled eggs and chips. Slide25: Sandwiches – The straightforward sandwich – that is, any sandwich that is not open-faced, not too tall to fit in the mouth, not saturated with dripping sauces or loaded with mushy fillings – is intended to be picked up and eaten. Otherwise, use fork and knife. Small fruits and Berries on the Stem – If you are served strawberries with the hulls on, cherries with stems, or grapes in bunches, then it is okay to eat them with your fingers. Otherwise, as with all berries, the utensil of choice is a spoon. In the case of grapes, you may encounter a special scissors, to be used to cut off a small cluster from the bunch. If not, tear a portion from the whole, rather than plucking off single grapes, which leaves a cluster of unattractive bare stems on the serving platter.