In society today things are so different. We are taking pictures of our food and doing crazy things at the table. I know.... I am guilty of these myself. When a dish I picked looks wonderful I am always impelled to take a photo but I always keep the "flash" off and I try to do it quickly without anyone seeing me.
My husband here lately has been waiting until everyone is served before he begins his meal. I love it and it has inspired the children to do the same. I have been wanting to have better table manners lately and have been trying to pay better attention to how I act during dinner.
Even at home I want to be excellent. I was flipping through my book The Butler Speaks and found his Top Ten Rules of Table Manners. Some of them are reminders while others give you something to think about.....
1) Your Dinner Napkin: Never tuck your napkin into your collar. When you want to use your napkin, put your cutlery down first and pick it up from your lap. When you are done with your napkin, place it back on your lap and resume eating.
2) Elbows: As your mother always said, no elbows on the table. Also, don't let your elbows stick out at your sides like wings. Keep them tucked into your body, especially when lifting food to your mouth.
3) When you don't like what is being served: Inevitably there will be times when you don't like the dish being served. Take a little of what is being served, try it and try not to look unhappy. You don't need to finish it.
4) Bringing your fork to your mouth: Never lean over the plate. Instead, bring your fork to your mouth. ( This is a new new one for me)
5) Your cutlery: Speaking while holding your cutlery and, worse yet, pointing with your cutlery while speaking is considered very rude. And avoid holding your cutlery "as if you are going to war", as my mother always says. Put cutlery down while chewing.
6) Reaching: Never reach for the salt. Ask the person beside you, "Would you pass the salt, please?"
7) Speaking: Never speak with your mouth full, I know, you've heard it before, but it bears repeating.
8) Blowing your Nose: If you must blow your nose, never do it at the table. Excuse yourself and go to the restroom or elsewhere. Be as quiet as possible so you do not disturb the other guests at the table.
9) Dealing with spills at the table: If you accidentally spill something, don't make a big deal about it. If there are servers, motion for one of them to bring you additional napkins. Deal with the problem as quietly and quickly as possible. If you accidentally spill something on someone else, resist the temptation to wipe down yourself. Instead, offer your napkin.
10) Concluding your meal: At the end of every meal, the napkin always goes on top of the table, never on your chair. Push your chair back into the table; don't leave it where you got out of it.
I do hope that you enjoyed these tips from Mr. MacPherson. I know I did. I also found a vintage Martha Stewart video on table manners 101. The link is here. I do hope you enjoy it!
(list via Charles MacPherson, photos via Pinterest)