So you are out for a high-profile corporate team lunch and the CEO happens to sit right next to you. You start shitting bricks because you have absolutely no idea about how to go about using the assortment of cutlery all around you. This article will surely teach you the basic etiquettes that you need to follow while dining at the table.
Scoop your soup away from you. But don’t spill it on the person sitting across you.
If your food is too hot, wait for it to cool. It’s rude to blow (on your food)!
Don’t go bonkers cutting all your food open. Easy tiger. Cut one bite at a time.
Always pass salt and pepper together, even if somebody asks only for salt.
Once you pick up silverware from the table, it should never be placed back on it. Rest it on the plate between bites.
Break your bread into bite-sized pieces. Meals are called “breaking bread” for a reason.
Never apply butter to the whole bread. Do it piece by piece after you’ve broken the bread.
Use the utensil that is farthest away from you first and work your way to the centre. If you notice your host deviating from this pattern, follow suit. The host is always right.
Wait for the host or hostess to start before you start eating.
Food should be passed around in a counter-clockwise manner (to your right). But if the lady to your left wants that bowl of pasta, be nice and oblige.
The knife and fork should be held with handles in the palm of the hand, forefinger on top, and thumb underneath.
Fingers should never be used to push food into your spoon. Focus. You can do it without your fingers.
The fork should be placed with tongs upwards and the edge of the knife facing the centre of the plate.
Once you’re done eating, place the knife and fork in a 4:20 fashion in the centre of the plate.
Follow the rule of BMW (Bread, Meal, Water). Breads to your left, meal in the centre, water to your right.
Turn off your mobile phone. It’s rude to be on your phone when you’re in the company of others.
It’s impolite to sip your drink while you’re still chewing your food. Wait. Swallow your food and then sip.
It’s rude to add salt or pepper to your food before tasting it.
Wait for the host/hostess to unfold the napkin and place it on his/her lap before you unfold yours.
The fork should be in the left hand while the knife should be in the right.
Avoid placing your elbows on the table while eating. Practice makes a man perfect.
While conversing though, it’s okay to prop your elbows up on the table. Phew! Thank God!
Napkins should be used only to dab your lips and not for blowing your nose.
While leaving for the restroom, place the napkin on your chair.
And once you rise to leave after your meal, loosely fold the napkin and place it to the left of your plate. Again, wait for the host to go first.
While eating out, wait for everyone to be served before picking up your fork.
At a private dinner, pick up the fork only when the host/hostess does so.
While drinking from your glass, look into it and not over it.
While at a restaurant, never shout out to the waiter. Make eye contact.
And in case your eyes don’t meet, raise your right hand with the index finger slightly raised.
If you’re drinking from a wine glass, hold it by the stem.
Match your eating pace with that of the others so that you finish your meal around the same time as them.
Do not pick the meat stuck to your canines with your fingernails. Use a toothpick. If there’s none at the table, go to the bathroom and do the honours.
Do not stretch yourself across the table to get to that pot of soup. Ask the person closest to it to pass it to you.
While indulging in that dessert, you can use both a fork and a spoon. If it’s just cake, you may use just the fork.
Do not lick your knife or put it in your mouth. You don’t want to end up with a slashed tongue.
Avoid talking with food in your mouth. If you’ve been asked a question, wait until you gulp the food down before answering.
Eat with your mouth closed. Food looks good on your plate and not in your mouth.
If you do not like something, just brave on.
Toasts can be raised at any time during the meal once all glasses are full. Usually it’s one of the guests who initiates the toast.
Ladies, you may reapply your lipstick after the meal, but it should end there. No applying make up to the whole face.
And lastly, always thank the host before leaving.