Be at Ease School of Etiquette Austin
Know the number and menu order of courses in a meal. Order something easy to eat when you can; know how to eat “Chicken” with a knife and a fork. Pre study menus on line or on site.
Establish or maintain your place setting or cover throughout the meal; leave the centerpiece alone. Avoid adding personal items: books, a hat, a backpack, or technology as a part of a cover.
Look for food to be served (counter-clockwise) from the left (leaving,) and plates to be removed right (retrieving.) Say, “May I” “Please” “Bless you” “Thank you” and “Welcome” where appropriate. Pass items to the right where applicable.
Take small amounts of food. Eat in courses over eating in piles. Avoid taking too little, or too much, or more in visual calories than those dining around you. Try a little of everything unless restricted by religion, health, or culture.
Wait for most everyone to be served before beginning eating.
Eat in the Continental style. Keep your hands above the table. You can rest the heels of your hands on the edge of the table. Cut items in only one direction, one or two pieces at a time. You may eat only one thing at a time. Avoid eating too little, too much, or too fast, or acting as if the meal is to be your last. When at a loss as to how to eat a particular dish, watch the person who made or ordered it. You can ask, "How am I to eat this?" The lesson most likely will begin with a smile.
(Sit up straight. Put your back into it. Lift your neck up. Bring food to you.) Time ingestion: time the opening of your mouth to just coincide with the arrival of the implement to it. Close your mouth around the edge of any implement placed in it. Chew each portion twenty-four times, with your mouth closed, and saver each bite. Taste buds live and digestion begins in the mouth not the stomach – yes that’s right. At the seventeenth bite experience food taste explosions. When you can no longer hear your teeth chewing food then that’s the time to swallow and to take another bite. Make as little noise as possible. OK, stop ducking your head down to get to your food. You can load and lock the next portion at the hand rest position; your wrist is to be in contact with the edge of the table. Lift when ready.
Take a hand rest often. Rest the heels of your hands on the edge of the table, without loading a food item. Continentally, you can talk with a knife and fork in your hands. Keep them low. You can rest your elbows on the table - in between courses.
Avoid sharing food even at a request. Even if done correctly you could still fail this test. Avoid seconds in any home not your own. Leave your telephone on vibrate, in a pocket, out of sight, and ready to Bump. If you must leave the table, do so between courses, if possible.
Pace yourself. In public, leave a little something of each course on your plate, and of each drink in each glass. Place food not eaten in an appropriate section. Eating is not the reason for the meeting.
Eat each course in such a manner as to finish it along with the person to your right. A host or hostess is to eat at a pace to keep company with the slowest guest. – You can listen to digestion.
Each course plate (and centerpiece) is to be left in a picture ready condition. When a course is finished
1. Flatware is to be placed in the finished position for the style in which you are eating. The flatware that was used is to be removed with the plate. Real trash can be placed under the left section of the plate and taken with the plate.
2. Leave each course plate in position until it is removed by a waitperson or replaced by the next plate. Look for the plate to be removed from the right (retrieving.)
When you are finished eating, avoid stacking plates or pushing a plate away from you. This is more a signal that you used to work as a waitperson and that you still want to help. Leave the plate in position. The table is not the place to revisit fond memories.
Avoid helping: passing your plates, unless asked, even when you use to wait tables. At dinner is not the place to display this trait. Both the plate and flatware can be passed to the hostess when you are requested to do so. This may be done at a maid less meal. Avoid passing your trash, or making a trash plate. The used plate and attending flatware could then be placed on the bottom shelf of a roll-in cart.
Each plate removed from the right is to be replaced with a fresh plate. The new plate is to be set, served from the left (leaving it.) The plate for the last course is to be left center the place setting with the flatware used with it placed in the finished position.
You can take a plate to a side table or tray, when it is suggested that you do so or at the lead of the host or hostess. This might be done at a breakfast or during a buffet meal. Until a plate gets to the trash, it is to be kept in a condition to receive seconds. Each beverage glass used for a meal is to be left in the place setting position for it, unless otherwise directed. Avoid making a trash glass.