Basic Table Manners

By Matthew Torres,2014-05-27 15:06
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Basic Table Manners



     CECL Unit 8 0412

     Basic Table Manners

     It is inappropriate to ask for a doggy bag when you are a guest. Save the doggy bag for informal dining situations.

     It is best to order foods that can be eaten with a knife and fork. Finger foods can be messy and are best left for informal dining.

     Do not order alcoholic beverages. Drinking too much when dining out is one of the most disliked behaviors.

     Do not smoke while dining out. Sit up straight at the table. It makes a good impression. When you are not eating, keep your hands on your lap or resting on the table (with wrists on the edge of the table). Elbows on the table are acceptable only between courses, not while you are eating.

     Do not season your food before you have tasted it. Never chew with your mouth open or make loud noises when you eat. Although it is possible to talk with a small piece of food in your mouth, do not talk with your mouth full.

     Do not slurp soup from a spoon. Spoon the soup away from you when you take it out of the bowl and sip it from the side of the spoon. If your soup is too hot to eat, let it sit until it cools; do not blow on it.

     If food gets caught between your teeth and you can't remove it with your tongue, leave the table and go to a mirror where you can remove the food from your teeth in private.

     Eat rolls or bread by tearing off small bite size pieces and buttering only the piece you are preparing to eat. When ready for another piece, repeat the same process.

     Engage in table conversation that is pleasant but entirely free of controversial subjects.

     You should not leave the table during the meal except in an emergency. If you must go to the bathroom or if you suddenly become sick, simply excuse yourself. Later you can apologize to the host by saying that you didn't feel well.

     If you need something that you cannot reach easily, politely ask the person closest to the item you need to pass it to you. For example,


     CECL Unit 8 0412

     "After you have used them yourself, would you please pass me the salt and pepper?"

     If a piece of your silverware falls onto the floor, pick it up if

    you can reach it and let the server know you need a clean one. If you cannot reach it, tell the server you dropped a piece of your silverware and ask for a clean one.

     If you or someone you are dining with is left-handed, it is best for the left-handed person to sit at the left end of the table or at the head of the table. This arrangement helps ensure that everyone has adequate elbow room to eat comfortably.

     If food spills off your plate, you may pick it up with a piece of your silverware and place it on the edge of your plate.

     Never spit a piece of bad food or tough gristle into your napkin. Remove the food from your mouth using the same utensil it went in with. Place the piece of food on the edge of your plate. If possible, cover it with some other food from your plate.

     Basic Table Manners Good basic table manners are important because they ensure that both guests and hosts are comfortable at the table. Table manners are mostly common sense. Following these will carry you through most common situations from Formal Dinners to a night of poker with the guys. 1. Sit up straight. Try not to slouch or lean back in your chair (even if you are playing cards and don't want you opponents to see your hand). 2. Don't speak with your mouth full of food. Sure, you've heard your mother say it a hundred times, but no one likes to see a ball of masticated meat in your mouth. If you feel you must speak immediately, if you have only a relatively small bite, tuck it into your cheek with your tongue and speak briefly. 3. Chew quietly, and try not to slurp. This is a corollary of rule number 2. Making noises is not only unappetizing, and distracting, but it can also interrupt the flow of conversation.


     CECL Unit 8 0412

     4. Keep bites small. In order to facilitate the above rules it is smart to keep bite sizes to a moderate forkful. Cut meat and salad so that it doesn't hang from your mouth after you shovel it in. Don't cut all of your meat at one time, this tends to remind people of feeding small children - and the messiness associated with this activity. 5. Eat at a leisurely pace. This rule, besides being good for the digestion, also shows your host that you want to enjoy the food and the company. Eating quickly and running is sign of disrespect for the host, as it shows that your focus is on the food and that you would rather be at home watching the grass grow than passing time with your host. 6. Don't wave utensils in the air, especially knives or if there is food on them. Besides the danger of knocking over glasses, piercing waiters or launching a pea into the eye of your date, this is a sign of over-excitedness that may be unappealing to those present. Earnestness is to be commended, but irrational exuberance goes beyond the limits

    of good table manners. 7. Keep your elbows off the table. You have also heard this one from your mother, ad infinitum, but in close dining situations it is a vital rule. Elbows take up table space and can be a danger in knocking plates or glasses. Elbows on the table give you something to lean on and tend to lull you into slouching. If you must lean on the table a good tactic is to take a roll or piece of bread into your free hand and rest part of your forearm on the table. 8. Don't Reach. You don't want to get in the way of people either eating or talking. Not only is it as impolite as standing in front of a TV with other people behind you, but there is always the possibility of upsetting glasses or running your sleeve through someone's mashed potatoes. 9. Don't forget please and thank you. These are handy words in most situations but especially vital at the table where common courtesies are noticed by everyone present.


     CECL Unit 8 0412

     10. Excuse yourself when leaving the table. You don't want people to think that you are tired of their company. If you must leave the table make your excuses somewhat obvious and appear to be pressing. You want to leave people with the impression that you would rather remain at the table talking with them than doing anything else, but the matter at hand is so pressing that it must be attended to at once. 11. Compliment the Cook. Even if the food is perfectly awful say something nice. You don't have to lie, simply find the positive side of the burnt leg of lamb????"Gee, the sauce was sure tasty." It is always pleasant to end a meal on a positive note. 12. Wipe your mouth before drinking. Ever notice that disgusting smudge on the edge of your wine glass? This can be avoided by first wiping your lips with your napkin.

     Table manners in China Of course, the main difference on the Chinese dinner table is chopsticks instead of knife and fork, but that's only superficial. Besides, in decent restaurants, you can always ask for a pair of knife and fork, if you find the chopsticks not helpful enough. The real difference is that in the West, you have your own plate of food, while in China the dishes are placed on the table and everyone shares. If you are being treated to a formal dinner and particularly if the host thinks you're in the country for the first time, he will do the best to give you a taste of many different types of dishes. The meal usually begins with a set of at least four cold dishes, to be followed by the main courses of hot meat and vegetable dishes. Soup then will be served (unless in Guangdong style restaurants) to be followed by staple food ranging from rice, noodles to dumplings. If you wish to have your rice to go with other dishes, you should say so in good time, for most of the Chinese choose to have the staple food at last or have none of them at all.

     Perhaps one of the things that surprises a Western visitor most is that some of


     CECL Unit 8 0412

     the Chinese hosts like to put food into the plates of their guests. In formal dinners, there are always "public" chopsticks and spoons for this purpose, but some hosts may use their own chopsticks. This is a sign of genuine friendship and politeness. It is always polite to eat the food. If you do not eat it, just leave the food in the plate. People in China tend to over-order food, for they will find it embarrassing if all the food is consumed. When you have had enough, just say so. Or you will always overeat!

     China Dining Custom Table Manners The main difference between Chinese and western eating habits is that unlike the West, where everyone has their own plate of food, in China the dishes are placed on the table and everybody shares. If you are being treated by a Chinese host, be prepared for a ton of food. Chinese are very proud of their culture of cuisine and will do their best to show their hospitality. And sometimes the Chinese hosts use their chopsticks to put food in your bowl or plate. This is a sign of politeness. The appropriate thing to do would be to eat the whatever-it-is and say how yummy it is. If you feel uncomfortable with this, you can just say a polite thank you and leave the food there. Eating No-no's Don't stick your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl. Instead, lay them on your dish. The reason for this is that when somebody dies, the shrine to them contains a bowl of sand or rice with two sticks of incense stuck upright in it. So if you stick your chopsticks in the rice bowl, it looks like this shrine and is equivalent to wishing death upon a person at the table! Make sure the spout of the teapot is not facing anyone. It is impolite to set the teapot down where the spout is facing towards somebody. The spout should always be directed to where nobody is sitting, usually just outward from the table.


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     Don't tap on your bowl with your chopsticks. Beggars tap on their bowls, so this is not polite. Also, when the food is coming too slow in a restaurant, people will tap their bowls. If you are in someone's home, it is like insulting the cook. Drinking Gan Bei! (Cheers! "Gan Bei" literally means "dry [the] glass") Besides beer, the official Chinese alcoholic beverage is Bai Jiu, high-proof Chinese liquor made from assorted grains. There are varying degrees of Bai Jiu. The Beijing favorite is called Er Guo Tou, which is a whopping 56% alcohol. More expensive are Maotai and Wuliangye.



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