On table manners part 3

So the dinner party is going well but are you really going to ruin it by carving the roast with a bread knife or partaking in asparagus in an ill-bred fashion…of course not and Routledges comes up with some great tips:

Always help fish with a fish-slice, and tart and puddings with a spoon, or, if necessary, a spoon and fork. Asparagus must be helped with the asparagus-tongs. In eating asparagus, it is well to observe what others do, and act accordingly. Some very well-bred people eat it with the fingers ; others cut off the heads, and convey them ‘ T the mouth upon the fork. It would be difficult to say which is the more correct.

I never eat food with my fingers if I can help it although it is of course acceptable on some occasions, fruit being such an occasion!

In eating stone fruit, such as cherries, damsons, &c., the same rule had better be observed. Some put the stones out from the mouth into a spoon, and so convey them to the plate. Others cover the lips with the hand, drop them unseen into the palm, and so deposit them on the side of the plate. In our own opinion, the last is the better way, as it effectually conceals the return of the stones, which is certainly the point of highest importance. Of one thing we may be sure, and that is, that they must never be dropped from the mouth to the plate.

Spitting at any time for whatever reason at the meal table is an affront to mankind and should be met with a look of disappointment or utter horror…and don’t forget…

In helping sauce, always pour it on the side of the plate. 

Alcohol is still an important part of any dinner party. A good wine as I stated earlier is readily available for around £5 but the temptation is sometimes to have a touch too much.

If the servants do not go round with the wine (which is by far the best custom), the gentlemen at a dinner-table should take upon themselves the office of helping those ladies who sit near them. Ladies take more wine in the present day than they did fifty years ago, and gentlemen should remember this, and offer it frequently. Ladies cannot very well ask for wine, but they can always decline it. At all events, they do not like to be neglected, or to see gentlemen liberally helping themselves, without observing whether their fair neighbours’ glasses are full or empty. Young ladies seldom drink more than three glasses of wine at dinner ; but married ladies, professional ladies, and those accustomed to society, and habits of affluence, will habitually take five or even six, whether in their own homes or at the tables of their friends.

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On table Manners Part 2

Table manners…a thing of the past?

Manners in general seem to be much of a thing of the past everyone revels in the culture of ‘I’ and me!

Of course for those of us who are still interested in some semblance of dignity we move forward with Routledges Manual of Etiquette. This is part 2:

As soon as you are seated at table, remove your gloves, place your table napkin across your knees, and remove the roll which you find probably within it to the left side of your plate. The soup should be placed on the table first. Some old-fashioned persons still place soup and fish together; but “it is a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance.”

I can’t say I often use a napkin but when the time arises I shall indeed follow the prescribed advice from above, NEVER EVER tuck it into the neck of your shirt because the is just so, so, so wrong…with that in mind here are some top tips from the Dinner Blog for using a napkin in today’s polite society:

  1. To unfold a cloth napkin, hold a corner and let the napkin unfold as you are picking it up.  Never pop open the napkin.
  2. Once unfolded, refold your napkin in a triangle and place it in your lap with the fold close to your waist.  Never tuck the napkin into your collar, into your belt or between your shirt buttons.  The only time it would be acceptable to tuck your napkin into your collar is when you are enjoying a seafood feast.
  3. Use your napkin before and after taking sips of your drink and whenever it’s necessary.
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On table manners part 1

Table manners…a thing of the past. Manners in general seem to be much of a thing of the past everyone revels in the culture of ‘I’. Of course for those of us who are still interested in some semblance of dignity we move forward with Routledges Manual of Etiquette 

To be acquainted with every detail of the etiquette pertaining to this subject is of the highest importance to every gentleman.

Ease, savoir faire, and good breeding are nowhere more indispensable than at the dinner-table, and the absences of them are nowhere more apparent.

How to eat soup and what to do with a cherry-stone are weighty considerations when taken as the index of social status ; and it is not too much to say, that a man who elected to take claret with his fish, or ate peas with his knife, would justly risk the punishment of being banished from good society. As this subject is one of the most important of which we have to treat.

I think it’s fair to say there is nothing more off putting than someone shovelling food into their food hole like it is an bottomless pit and then, God help us, watching as they eat with their mouths open…! So manners maketh man (and of course women)!

An invitation to dine should be replied to immediately, and unequivocally accepted or declined. Once accepted, nothing but an event of the last importance should cause you to fail in your engagement.

Indeed…with the invent of smart phones and us being connected to each other 24hrs a day it makes it easier to reply immediately…as long as you and your good wife’s calendars are synchronised.

To be exactly punctual is the strictest politeness on these occasions. If you are too early, you are in the way; if too late; you spoil the dinner, annoy the hostess, and are hated by the rest of the guests. Some authorities are even of opinion that in the question of a dinner-party “never” is better than “late;” and one author has gone so far as to say, if you do not reach the house till dinner is served, you had better retire to a restaurateur’s, and thence send an apology, and not interrupt the harmony of the courses by awkward excuses and cold acceptance.”

Lateness I am glad to say i still considered rude by most people. Now when I am cooking for friends I have a lateness limit, 15 minutes is usually fine but any more than that and I tend to get a little impatient especially when you have spent 2 or 3 hours cooking.

When the party is assembled, the mistress or master of the house will point out to each gentleman the lady whom he is to conduct to table. If she be a stranger, you had better seek an introduction; if a previous acquaintance, take care to be near her when the dinner is announced, offer your arm, and go down according to precedence of rank. This order of precedence must be arranged by the host or hostess, as the guests are probably unacquainted, and cannot know each other’s social rank.

Social rank is a rather odd thing nowadays. It seems to me that there now Continue reading