Editor’s note: The Sidney Daily News is publishing a series of articles on etiquette as the holiday season approaches.
SIDNEY — As you celebrate the holidays at your favorite restaurant, here are some tips to keep in mind for a sit-down event:
• Enter and exit on the right side of the chair.
• Place any items you are carrying on the floor – right side,
• Sit up straight in chair. Do not hunch over your plate.
¶ Place your napkins on your lap leaving it in the half-fold. When finished with the meal, the napkin is placed back on the table.
¶ The napkin is for blotting the mouth before taking a drink. When excusing yourself from the table to go to the restroom, place your napkin on the back of your chair—this indicates to the server/host that you are returning.
• Glassware – Water/beverage glasses are placed to the right.
• Bread plate – The bread plate is on the left.
• Silverware – Start from the outside moving inward as you select your silverware for each course. Once silverware has been used, it does not touch the tablecloth. Use your plates to place used silverware on when not in use.
(Hint: A good way to remember the above: BMW—Bread, Meat, Water)
• Follow your host’s lead at the table.
• Be ready to make small talk while waiting for food and function to begin. Appropriate topics include recent movies, vacations/travel, good books, etc. Avoid religion and politics.
Wait until everyone at your table is served before starting to eat.
• Bring your food to your mouth, rather than bending over.
• Don’t lick your fingers or talk with your mouth full. Do not chew on ice, or talk about the calorie content in the food.
• Cutting Meat – Only cut one or two small pieces at a time—do not dissect the entire piece of meat at once. Use your knife to cut meat, then lay across the top of the plate.
• Bread/Rolls – Break rolls in half with your hands – Tear off a small piece and only butter one bite at a time. The basket of rolls are always passed to the right.
• Passing – When passing items around the table, always pass to the right.
• Salt/Pepper – Salt and pepper are always passed together. Don’t salt your food before tasting. It could be taken as an insult to the cook.
• Never use a cell phone at the table. Excuse yourself to go to the lobby or a different room to take an important call. Be sure to silence the phone.
• When finished with meal, place your eating utensils in the 10 til 4 position—fork on the left facing upward—knife parallel to it with the cutting edge facing the fork.
• Do not put on lipstick or lip gloss at the table following a meal; excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. Also, do not use a toothpick at the table.
• If in a restaurant setting, be sure to tip appropriately.
The writer is holds the rank of full professor emeritus at Wright State University, where he served as the chair of the Office Information Systems Program. He is also a certified etiquette trainer.