Table Manners for a Western Setting
Table manners reflect highly of a person’s etiquette and upbringing. Therefore, proper table manners must be taught to children so that they never feel embarrassment in their life at any social or formal dinner or gathering. Even those people who have different back grounds than the western culture, a good knowledge of table manners for western setting is a must if they reside in western countries or have frequent interactions with people of western origin.
Now, when we think of table manners, the questions which come to mind are:
– what are proper table etiquette or proper table manners
– what are the right table manners for kids (important, if you mother of those kids)
– what are proper dining table manners or dining etiquette
– what is appropriate table setting etiquette
I have tried to answer these questions as following tips for table manners:
Proper Table Manners
- A western style table setting ranges from just one fork placed beside a plate to a whole Range of cutlery.
- The signal to begin eating is when the host picks up his fork and knife and says ‘bon appétit!’ (pronounced bou apppeteet).
- The most basic skill master is handling a fork and a knife together. The knife should be on the right with the edge facing inwards while the fork is placed on the left of the dinner plate.
- Do not use spoons for the main course. Use them for eating(not drinking) soup and for dessert.
- Use the fork to ‘fix’ the food on the plate , and the knife to cut over it- never inside the arc of the fork – and hold both as you would hold sticks, not pens.
- Do not wave cutlery around while talking at the table.
- Keep the fork and knife in an inverted ‘V’ on the plate during the meal, and at a parallel position when you have finished and want to plate removed.
- Bread and butter are kept on the side plate, often accompanied with a small, flat knife. Bread should be broken, buttered one piece at a time and eaten by hand not with a fork and knife. For more elaborate cutlery arrangements, work from the outside to the inside.
- The first course, which precedes the soup is the appetizer or hors d’ oeuvre; use the small fork on the extreme right of the table setting. Many a time the hors d’oeuvre may also come with its own fork.
- After the appetizer comes the soup, the spoon for which is placed on the right and is recognizable by it’s round shape.
- The fish course follows the soup. Classic fish cutlery is a relatively short fork and a blunt knife with a little indent basically designed to remove the fish bones.
- The dinner fork and knife for the main course is placed next.
- If a heavy meat dish such as a steak is to be served, the waiter will provide a serrated steak knife.
- The dessert cutlery, a fork and spoon is laid above the setting. Ideally, this should not be used during the main meal and kept reserved for the dessert.
- The three glasses at right are kept for water, white wine (the glass with the long delicate Stem) and red wine. White wine is served with white meats and red wine with red meats.