I have been preparing a little book, which I will give to Original Bunn on her sixteenth birthday. It will contain all manner of old fashioned information, things that I see the young set no longer pay much attention to. She may scoff, but I do hope that some of the stuff sticks with her.
This morning I added this chapter, much of the content comes from the Johnny Walker Striding Man Magazine.
Good table manners come naturally to most of us. We know very well not to talk with our mouths full; to chew with our mouths closed and to keep our elbows to our sides and of f the table top. But certain other rules of fine dining are slightly more intricate and less obvious.
For example, did you know that bread should be broken, with your hands, rather than cut with a knife? And that the proper way to eat a mielie is across, not around?
Nowhere is a man’s breeding and class more obvious than at the dinner table, in his display of table manners – or lack thereof. And while I have no doubt you are in no danger of ever entering such uncouth territory, it never hurts to brush up on a few of your table Ps and Qs.
1. Cut just one bite at a time, rather than chopping everything up in one go, no matter how hungry you may be.
2. Wait until everybody is seated before eating.
3. When dining with others, everyone should start and finish at the same time. If you are a fast eater try to pace yourself.
4. Do not blow on food that is hot. Wait until it cools.
5. When finished eating do not push your plate away from you.
6. Do not break your bread into the soup, nor mash anything into your gravy. It is bad taste to mix food on the plate into a mush.
7. Never leave the table without asking to be excused.
8. Never pick your teeth at the table.
9. Once seated, place the napkin, unfolded, on your lap and leave it there until you have finished eating. Once you have finished, place the napkin loosely to the left of your plate.
10. Use a napkin only for your mouth. Never use it for your nose, face or forehead.
11. If a course is set before you that you do not wish, simply do not touch it.
12. If you prefer, take up asparagus with your fingers. Olives and artichokes are also always so eaten.
13. If at all possible, refrain from coughing or sneezing at the table, and if needs be excuse yourself.
14. Soup is to be lifted by the spoon in movements away from yourself, not toward. Do not stoop toward the bowl!
15. The salt and pepper are always passed together, even if only one is asked for.
Nothing indicates a well bred man more than a proper mode of eating. A man may pass muster by dressing well, and may sustain himself tolerably in conversation; but if he be not perfectly au fait, dinner will betray him.
Hints on Etiquette, 1836