Minding your manners and dining etiquette
BY STYLE EDITOR, ON 20 JUL 2009 13:02 DEBENHAMS NEWSCOMMENTS
You might have seen in the news that traditional British table manners are in decline. I was particularly surprised to read about recent figures that show more people than ever before have stopped using both a knife and a fork, opting instead for a fork on its own – a more relaxed dining style commonly favoured in the USA. The increasing popularity of ready meals, pre-cut pizzas, chips, burgers and pasta means that knife usage is in decline; people just don’t think they need one.
So to bring back the popularity of the knife Debenhams is launching a Civilised Dining Campaign to protect the traditional British way of eating. We’ve also put together a Dining Etiquette Guide so we can re-jog our memories of how best to dine at the table – have your knives and forks at the ready…
The Debenhams Dining Etiquette Guide
Place napkins on your knee when you sit down at a dinner table. The napkin should rest on the lap till the end of the meal. If you excuse yourself from the table, loosely fold the napkin and place it to the left or right of your plate.
At the end of the meal, leave the napkin loosely folded at the left side of the place setting.
The all important rules:
1) Use the silverware farthest from your plate first and work your way in.
2) Eat to your left, drink to your right. Any food dish to the left is yours, and any glass to the right is yours.
3) To signal that your are done with each course, rest your fork, tines up, and knife blade in, with the handles resting at five o’clock and tips pointing to eleven o’clock on your plate.
General etiquette rules:
- Pass food from the left to the right.
- If asked for the salt or pepper, pass both together.
- Food is served from the left. Dishes are removed from the right.
- Keep elbows off the table. Keep your left hand in your lap unless you are using it.
- Do not talk with your mouth full. Chew with your mouth closed.