Table Etiquette -meaning and 12 table etiquette you should know
Table of Contents
What is the rule against the anticlockwise transfer of objects at the dining table?
Any rules to uphold a quiet dinner tradition or would you like a story from work today?
The salt bottle is within my reach, why can’t I just reach out for it? Casting my shadow over-served meal would be too little a sacrifice for the improved taste that salt bottle would offer if I can just..
Over the years, humans have developed detest for uncultured mannerisms and some cultures have recorded different traditions for different scenarios even while eating; these could be seen as an effect of civilization.
Eating is a fundamental activity of man, it occurs both in private and public settings and usually in the presence of friends, family, colleagues at work and even strangers. It is therefore imperative that one should uphold proper conduct when faced with a dining challenge.
What are Table Etiquettes?
Table etiquettes are rules, manners of acceptable conduct while eating. They are employed during an event of eating to avoid embarrassment or discomfort of guest or host. They are seen to uphold integrity.
As there are different courtesies expected in different cultures, there are major ones applicable to all persons.
The purpose of this article is to inform you of dining courtesies to uphold your integrity with as being civilized, when at the table with any class of the society.
First things first, when you honour an invitation or you host one involving cutlery, wine glasses, napkins, plates and all manner of table display, accurate timing can save your face.
These are categorized into:
- When to start eating: the dilemma of when to start eating can make your chair slippery especially if your host has a library of boring stories to tell but, civilization says to wait for your host or hostess to start eating first or tell you to eat. If he or she wants to offer a prayer before a meal do well to say it too, but if you are not a believer of that religion just keep quiet. Do not offer to say graces or chants when you have not been asked to.
- Use of cutlery, plates and glass: this is one very disturbing one. Good hosts and hostesses should know to arrange the cutlery set such that they are used progressively inwards. Use plates directly in front of you with cutlery beside it, your glass is the one on your right, solids to the left and liquids on the right. Do not lick off food from your cutlery and giving off threats by waving cutlery in the air.
- Chewing: Chewing loudly and with open mouth is very disgusting, everyone wants to chew that spiced flesh but no one wants visuals of the process. It can cause a lot of discomfort to both your host and other guests. It is more appropriate to close your mouth when chewing as this makes the least noise from chewing food.
- Leaving the table: Leaving the table can be rude especially where an excuse wasn’t taken. In some cultures like the Igbo culture, in the eastern part of Nigeria, leaving the table before an elder is regarded as insult. Your reason for wanting to leave the table should be concrete and make the right choice of word combination before you voice an excuse- you don’t tell company at your table that you need to go drop a shit . Before you leave the table take an excuse, don’t stay out for long and as much as possible avoid leaving frequently.
- Getting items: When reaching for items on the table get items at arm’s length, do not lean past the person sitting next to you. If you cannot reach your desired item ask someone to pass it to you. Items should be passed clockwise at the table, this preserves the beauty and tradition of teamwork, order and agreement.
- Removing unwanted food from your mouth: This can be an embarrassing, not every one is granted the gift of a diastema at the front teeth setting- the obvious display at least, but it is easy to remove unwanted food from your mouth with whatever means it was conveyed there, if it got into the mouth with a cutlery use it to get it out, if you used your hands to get the food into the mouth use your hands to get it out. Do not spit. Better still, wait till the meal is over, take a toothpick or dental floss and visit the bathroom.
- Talking at the table: It is also okay to talk at the table but before you do, make sure you have completed all the food or drink in your mouth. Do not talk with food in your mouth. Also before you talk make sure you completely stop eating drop your cutlery before speaking.
- Cutting food: Do not cut all the food into smaller pieces at once. When cutting your food, use the quadrant rule- mentally divide your food portion into four (4) parts, cut the first quadrant into consumable bits and work your way progressively into the rest.
- Use of devices: Put all electronic devices away, it is rude to use a phone or any other electronic device at the table. If you want to take a call excuse yourself kindly from the table. It is rude to both guest and host when devices are used at table. The middle east have a custom of handing in accessories like keys, phones, etc. Before proceeding to the dining table.
- Drinking: Drink separately from eating. When you want to drink make sure to have finished the food in your mouth, this will help avoid particles of food on your glass. Food particles on glass can look irritating.
- Dropped utensils: When utensils drop you may pick, but do not use again, ask your host or hostess kindly to change it.
- Cough or sneezing: it may be unavoidable to not sneeze or cough but cover your mouth with the napkin. Do not use the napkin to wipe cold off your nose, excuse yourself and do it away from the table with a handkerchief.
These are not all, there are several others to make you act rightly, as they say “be the gentleman mama raised”, exhibiting good manners and proper conversation can win you that contract when dining with your boss.