Table Manners or Etiquettes of using Table
Table manners are the rules of etiquette used while eating, which may also include the appropriate use of utensils. Different cultures observe different rules for table manners. Each family or group sets its own standards for how strictly these rules are to be enforced.
In most situations, following the "outside-in" rule will tell you which knife, fork, or spoon to use at the dinner table.
- Use utensils on the outside first and work your way inward with each new course that is served.
- If you are not sure which utensil to use, wait to see what is served.
- Or, watch others at the table and follow their lead.
Soiled utensils are laid on the plate or bowl it is provided with (not on the table). Never rest a utensil half on a plate and half on the table. The rules are, of course, different when using chopsticks.
You can rest your utensils in one of two ways when taking a break from eating:
- Put your fork and knife in the center of your plate with the tips facing each other in an inverted V (slightly angled); Or
- Rest your knife on the top right of your plate (diagonally) with the fork nearby (tines up).
When to Start Eating
At a small table of only two to four people, wait until everyone else has been served before starting to eat. At a formal or business meal, you should either wait until everyone is served to start or begin when the host asks you to.
Refusing a Dish
If you're allergic to a food or on a restricted diet, explain to your host (not to the table at large) why you have no choice but to decline.