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Table Manners

The knife is held in the right hand and the fork in the left. Holding food to the plate with the fork tines-down, a single bite-sized piece is cut with the knife. The knife is then placed on the right edge of the plate (with the blade facing inward) and the fork transferred to the right hand, with the left hand falling to the lap. The cut piece is then speared (if not already during the cut) or scooped and eaten using the fork in a tines-up orientation. The fork is held in the right hand or put down on the plate while chewing. The fork is then transferred back into the left hand, the right hand picks up the knife, and the process is repeated as necessary. A left-handed consumer can retain the fork in the stronger hand, although the knife is still released.

While cutting, the fork is usually held upside down with the handle along the palm and the index finger pressing down at the neck of the handle. Because most forks have a curve this will point the tines downward into the food. If the food is very soft or flaky (for example, fish), some choose to disregard the knife entirely, using a fork in their right hand and cutting their food by pressing down with the edge or with the tines of their fork. Sawing at the food in this way is considered bad form. Alternatively, a fish knife can be used, held much like a pen or a scalpel. Such knives are rarely seen in the U.s., but they are used more often in Europe. The fork can be held with the index finger touching the back of the fork th'roughout the motion of picking up and putting in the mouth.

Fork etiquette in Western social settings takes two primary·forms. The style used mostly in the United States of America, which is sometimes called the zigzag meth'Jd or American style, differs from the European or Continental style mostly used in the rest of the western world including Europe and British Commonwealth countries.

The European manner is to hold the fork and knife, in the left and right hands respectively, throughout consumption. The hand grasp is also different: in Europe it is considered better manners not to hold a knife or fork as one would hold a pen, but instead to have the handle running along the palm and extending out to be held by thumb and forefinger. This style is sometimes called 'hidden handle'. This method is also common in Canada and other former parts of the British Empire. In contrast to the American method of using a fork much like a spoon (tines up), the British primarily use the fork with tines facing away from the user (tines down). The cause of the difference in custom is uncertain. It is believed to have originated because the 17th century American colonists had established themselves before the fork, and any custom of its use, had become widespread in Europe. The implement did not become widespread in Europe (certainly northern Europe) until the 18th century, and was not adopted in the United States until the 19th century. The American use of blunt-ended knives was also a factor.

Tables are often set with two or more forks, meant to be used for different courses; for example, a salad fork and meat fork. Some institutions wishing to give an impression of high formality set places with many dIfferent forks for meals of several courses, although many etiquette authorities regard this as vulgar and prefer that the appropriate cutlery be brought in with each course. It should not be necessary for the diner to distinguish between types of forks; forks are used in order from outside to inside, with the exception of oyster forks, which are placed on the right-hand side in the bowl of a spoon.

Table Setting Standard American table setting:
• Bread or salad plates are to the left of the main plate, beverage glasses are to the right. If small bread knives are present, lay them across the bread plate with the handle pointing to the right.
• Modern etiquette provides the smallest numbers and types of utensils necessary for dining. Only utensils which are to be used for the planned meal should be set. Even if needed, hosts should not have more than three utensils on either side of the plate before a meal. If extra utensils are needed, they may be brought to the table along with later courses.
• If a salad course is served early in the meal, the salad fork should be further from the main course fork, both set on the left. If a soup is served, the spoon is set on the right, further from the plate than the knife. Dessert utensils, a small (such as salad) fork and teaspoon should be placed above the main plate horizontally, or served with the ndessert. For convenience, restaurants and banquet halls may not adhere to these rules, instead setting a uniform complement of utensils at each seat.
• If a wine glass and a water glass are set, the wine glass is on the right directly above the knife. The water glass is to the left of tJ;1.e wine glass at a 45 degree angle, closer to the diner.
• Glasses designed for certain types of wine may . be set if available. If only one type of glass is available, it is considered correc~,regardless of the type of wine provided.
• Hosts should always provide cloth napkins to guests. When paper napkins are provided, they should be treated the same as cloth napkins, and therefore should not be balled up or torn.
• Coffee or tea cups are placed to the right of the table setting, or above the setting to the right if space is limited. The cup's handle should be pointing right.

• Hats should not be worn at dinner. Ladies may wear their hats during the day at meals if visiting others.
• Before sitting down to a formal meal, gentlemen stand behind their chairs until the women are seated.
• A prayer or 'blessing' may be customary in some households, and the guests may join in or be respectfully silent. Most prayers are made by the host before the meal is eaten. Hosts should not practice an extended religious ritual in front of invited guests who have different beliefs.
• A toast may be offered instead of or in addition to a blessing.
• One does not start eating until (a) every person is served or (b) those who have not been served request that you begin without waiting. At more formal occasions all diners should be served at the same time and will wait until the hostess or host lifts a fork or spoon before beginning.
• Napkins are placed in the lap. At more formal occasions diners will wait to place their napkins on their laps until the host places his or her napkin on his or her lap.
• One waits until the host has picked up his or her fork or spoon before starting to eat.
• When eating very messy foods, such as barbecued ribs or crab, in an informal setting, where it must be eaten with the fingers and could cause flying food particles, a 'bib' or napkin tucked into the collar may be used by adults. Wet wipes or ample paper napkins should be provided to clean the hands. In formal settings, bibs or napkins used as such are improper, and food should be prepared by the chef so that it may be eaten properly with the provided utensils.
• Even if one has dietary restrictions, it is inappropriate for non-relatives to request food other than that which is being served by the host at a private function.

• When a di.sh is offered from a serving dish (a.k.a. family style), as is the traditional manner, the food may be passed around or served by a host or staff. If passed, you should pass on the serving dish to the next person in the same direction as the other dishes are being passed. Place the serving dish on your left, take some, and pass to the person next to you. You should consider how much is on the serving dish and not take more than a proportional amount so that everyone may have some. If you do not care for any of the dish, pass it to the next person without comment. If being served by a single person, the server should request if the guest would like any of the dish. The guest may s~y "Yes, please," or "No, thank you."
• When serving, serve from the left and pick-up the dish from the right. Beverages, however, are to be both served and as well as removed from the right-hand side.
• Dip your soup spoon away from you into the soup. Eat soup noiselessly, from the side of the spoon. When there is a small amount left, you may lift the front end of the dish slightly with your free hand to enable collection of more soup with your spoon.
• If you are having difficulty getting food onto your fork, use a small piece of bread or your knife to assist. Never use your fingers or thumb.
• You may thank or converse with the staff, but it is not necessary, especially if engaged in conversation with others.
• It is acceptable in the United States not to accept all offerings, and to not finish all the food on your plate. No one should ask why another doesn't want any of a dish or why he has not finished a serving.
• There should be no negative comments about the food nor of the offerings available.
• Chew with your mouth closed.-Do not slurp, talk with food in your mouth, or make loud or unusual noises while eating.
• Say "Excuse me," or "Excuse me. I'll be right back,'~ before leaving the table. Do not state that you are going to the restroom.
• Do not talk excessively loudly. Give others equal opportunities for conversation.
• Refrain from blowing your nose at the table. Excuse yourself from the table if you must do so.
• Burping, coughing, yawning, or sneezing at the table should be avoided. If you do so, say, "Excuse me."
• Never slouch or tilt back while seated in your chair.
• Do not "play with" your food or utensils. Never wave or point silverware.
• You may rest forearms or hands on the table, but not elbows.
• Do not stare at others.
• Never talk on your phone or "text" at the table, or otherwise do something distracting, such as read or listen to a personal music player. If an urgent matter arises, apologize, excuse yourself, and step away from the table so your conversation does not disturb the others.
• If food must be removed from the mouth for some reason, it should be done using the same method which was used to bring the food to the mouth, i.e. by hand, by fork, etc., with the exception of fish bones, which are removed from the mouth between the fingers.
• Before asking for additional helpings, always finish the serving on your plate first.
• Gentlemen should stand when a lady leaves or rejoins the table in formal social settings.

• The fork is used to convey solid food to the mouth. Do not use your fingers unless eating foods customarily eaten as such, such as bread, asparagus spears, chicken wings, pizza, etc.
• Do not make unnecessary noises with utensils.
• The fork may be used either in the "American" style (use the fork in your left hand while cutting; switch to right hand to pick up and eat a piece) or the European "Continental" style (fork always in left hand).
• Unless a knife stand is provided, the knife should be placed on the edge of your plate when not in .. use and should face inward.
• When you have finished eating soup from a bowl or larger "soup plate," the spoon should be placed on the flat plate beneath, if one is present.
• As courses are servect, use your silverware from the outside moving inward toward the main plate. Dessert utensils are either above the main plate 01 served with dessert.

• When you have finished your meal, place all used utensils onto your plate together, on the right side, pointed up, so the waiter knows you have finished. Do not place used utensils on the table.
• Except in a public restaurant, do not ask to take some uneaten food or leftovers home, and never do so when attending a formal dinner. A host may suggest that extra food be taken by the guests, but should not insist.
• Leave the napkin orr your chair only if leaving temporarily. When you leave the table at the end  of the meal, loosely place the used napkin on the table to the left of your plate.
• Wait for your host or hostess to rise before getting up from a dinner party table.
• Thank your host when leaving a dinner party.
• Once dessert, after-dinner coffee, or the equivalent is served, be wary not to overstay your welcome. The party who first wishes to end the event should rise and say something like, "This has been such a nice evening. We hope we can see you again soon."

As a leader you may be called upon to attend banquets, luncheons, or parties. Good table manners are important part in leaving a favorable impression. Being in a formal setting, trying to enjoy a meal can seem like to be almost an insurmountable task, however knowing a few key tips can make the whole experience much more enjoyable. The individuals at the Career Centre at Ball State University and at Cruise Net have provided some great information on dinner etiquette. Let the host take the lead, when they unfold their napkin you do the same. Avoid foods that are sloppy or are hard to eat. Be polite and courteous. Be comfortable and relaxed.

• Eat with a fork unless the food is meant to be eaten with fingers.
• Don't stuff your mouth full of food.
• Chew with your mouth closed. This includes no talking with your mouth full.
• Don't make any rude comments about any food being served.
• Always say thank you when served something.
• If the meal is not buffet style, then wait until everyone is served before eating.
• Eat slowly, don't gobble up the food.
• When eating rolls, break off a piece of bread before buttering.
• Don't reach over someone's plate for something; ask for the item to be passed to you.
• Don't pick anything out of your teeth.
• Always use a napkin (which should be on your lap when not in use) to dab your mouth.
• When eating at someone's home or a guest of someone at a restaurant, always thank the host and tell them how delicious it was, even if it wasn't.

Place the napkin on your lap. If it's a small luncheon napkin, completely unfold it; if it's a large dinner napkin, fold it in half lengthwise. Your napkin remains on your lap throughout the entire meal. If you leave the table during a dinner, place your napkin on your chair to signal to the server that you will be returning. When you are finished dining, place your napkin neatly on the table to the right side of the plate.

Do not refold the napkin, but don't leave it crumpled up either. Proper Passing Food dishes are passed from left to right. When asked to pass a dish of food, it's okay to help yourself to some but don't take the last helping. Among friends, it's fine to be informal and just use fingers to take a cookie from a plate. To be more formal, small tongs can be used to pick up the cookie.

Take only one of anything, and then get seconds if there are any left. Bread Bread is best eaten by tearing off a bitesized piece and then buttering that piece. If you are using your hands to eat the meal then soaking up sauce while holding a piece of bun or tortilla with your fingers is fine. If you are dining with a fork, tear off a bite-sized piece of bread and place it onto the plate, and use the fork to retrieve the bread from the sauce or gravy. What to Eat with Your Fingers:
• Artichoke
• Asparagus
• Bacon
• Bread
• Cookies
• Corn on the Cob
• Deviled Eggs
• Hors d'Oeuvres, Canapes, Crudites
• Pickles
• Sandwiches
• Small Fruits and Berries on the Stem
• Chips, French Fries, Fried Chicken, and Hamburgers
• Nuts
• Olives

Cut the strands to shorten slightly before twirling. You don't have to use the spoon (if one is provided). Twirl the pasta with a fork either by rolling it around in the spoon or just use the fork alone, keeping the fork tip in contact with the plate. Slurping pasta is the only method that is never proper.
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