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Dining Skills Tips

Lois Hearn
Etiquette Consultant
Charleston, SC

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                        Dining Skills Tips

  • Do avoid talking with food in your mouth.
  • Do take small bites and you'll find it's easier to answer questions or join in table talk.
  • Do remember solids (food) are always on your left, liquids (beverages) are on your right.
  • Do butter only one bite of bread at a time & butter bread on the plate, never in midair.
  • Do remember your posture at the table. Sit up straight and keep your arms (including elbows) off the table.
  • Don't, in eating, overload the fork. Don't, under any circumstances, put the knife in the mouth.
  • Don't spread your elbows when cutting meat. Keep them close to your sides when eating.
  • Don't reach across the table or across another person to get something, ask for it to be passed.
  • Don't gesture with your utensils in your hand.
  • Don't place used utensils on the table.
  • Cherry tomatoes are finger food execpt when they are served in a salad, then they are cut with a fork and knife.
  • Butter served wrapped...open and use knife to push the square onto the bread and butter plate...fold wrapper butter side in and place on the edge of the bread and butter plate...never on the table cloth.
  • Reasons for different lengths of the stems of glassware: The longer stem of the wine glass prevents the hand from warming the wine and changing the temperture. The shorter stem of the brandy glass enables the hand to cup the bowl.
  • Water glasses are filled two thirds full. Wine glasses are filled one half full.
  • If you are on the receiving end of a toast, do not drink to yourself. Just nod and smile your appreciation at the end of the remarks. Host toast his guest, takes a sip, then sits down. The guest (s) of honor returns the toast.
  • RSVP on an invitation should be honored. Relax and enjoy the occasion, the meal and most of all the company!


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