Here is a list of tips to help you navigate your way through a meal:
1. Take small bites, because as soon as you put something in your mouth, you will be asked a question.
- Don’t talk with your mouth full – go ahead and finish chewing and swallow before responding.
- Chew with your mouth closed.Bring food to your mouth instead of bending over to shovel it in (raise your utensil, then lean forward).
- Remember your posture!
2. If you are not using a utensil, put it down. You are not waving in a plane!
- If your glass or utensil is unclean, quietly ask for a replacement. There is no need for a public announcement.
- If you drop a utensil on the floor at home, pick it up and get/ask for another one. If in a restaurant, leave it and ask for a replacement.
3. When passing food, offer some to your neighbor first before serving yourself, then pass the food counterclockwise.
- Be prepared for dishes to be served from the left and removed from the right. Your job is to remain still.
- Do pass rolls, butter, condiments, cream and sugar, even if you are not having any.
- Pass the salt and pepper together, even if someone asks for just one. It is considered bad luck in some cultures to pass them from hand to hand, so place them in front of the recipient and allow him/her to pick them up.
- When passing a pitcher, do so with the handle outward, facing the person. It makes it easier to take hold.
4. Your napkin is the first thing removed from the table; it belongs on your lap throughout the meal.
- If you must leave the table during the meal, your napkin should be left on your chair – no one wants to see your messy napkin on the table. In a restaurant, it tells the server you are not yet finished and to leave your plate as is.
- If you must use the bathroom during a meal – or step away for any reason at all – just say “Excuse me”. Explanations are not necessary.
- When finished with your meal, place your napkin neatly alongside, never on, your plate.
5. Do not push your plate away or stack your dishes when you are finished eating – it makes you look impatient to have your plates cleared.
Accidents happen to everyone; it is how you handle them that will be remembered. The point of getting together is to spend time with those we enjoy and appreciate having in our lives.
Have a wonderful, peaceful Thanksgiving!