Etiquette: Place Setting Edition | Alyssa J Cori: Etiquette: Place Setting Edition

February 24, 2013

Etiquette: Place Setting Edition

{Photo Credit: and Alyssa J Freitas}
Etiquette- the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life. Knowing and having etiquette is such an important part of life. It helps one to navigate society in a sophisticated manner with little embarrassment or awkwardness. There are many different facets of etiquette, but I view table manners as the most important. Being able to dine properly is a wonderful skill to have.

First, let's get acquainted with the place setting.
{Photo Credit:}
  • Starting at the top left you have your bread plate and butter knife. Always keep your bread on your bread plate. If you have to take butter from a dish in the center, take a small amount with your butter knife and place it on your bread plate. The proper way to eat bread is to tear off a bite size piece, butter it with the butter you have already put on your plate, and then eat it. Although this is a more lengthy process, this method will prevent you from any struggle you may have biting the bread and is also more clean and refined.
  • Next, at the top middle, you have your dessert fork and coffee/tea spoon. These two items are pretty self explanatory.
  • Then comes the water goblet and wine glass at the top right. Once again, these items are self explanatory.
  • At the right hand side is your tea or coffee cup. It is important to note that you should hold your saucer underneath your cup when you sip. This will catch any small spill you may make.
  • Going back to the left are your forks. It is easy to remember that you should usually work your way from the outside in with each course. Another rule of thumb is that the fork will get bigger with each progressing course.
  • In the middle is your soup bowl and plate. If you don't know the use of these it's time to give up :).
  • On the right you have your knives. The same general rules apply for use of knives as for forks. 
  • Your soup spoon is also on the right. It is easy to identify your soup spoon because it will be the biggest.
  • Last is your sea food fork. You will always know that this is your sea food fork because it is separated from all of the other forks.
Now here are some specific rules of table etiquette. 
1. Ladies, no purses on the table. Even if it is a tiny, darling clutch.
2. Place your napkin on your lap immediately when you sit down. You should fold the napkin in half with the fold facing towards you. If you need to leave the table place your napkin on your chair. At the end of the meal, the napkin should be placed on the table.
3. When getting to the end of your soup you may tip the bowl ever so slightly away from you to aid in getting the last bits. 
4. When cutting, your fork should be in your left hand and your knife in the right. Your fork's tongs should be facing downward. When you have a bite on your fork you should not transfer your fork from your left hand to your right. Your left hand is perfectly capable of bringing a fork to your mouth.
5. If you need to be excused a simple "Excuse me," will suffice. Unless there is an emergency, there is no need to state a reason.
6. Absolutely no texting or talking on the phone at the table. If you need to use your phone for an emergency, excuse yourself.
7. Lastly, do not comment on others' table manners. There is no need to point out mistakes. Hopefully, they will learn by watching your good example!

- Keep It Simple
Alyssa J Freitas 

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