Monday, December 26, 2016

Dining Etiquette for the 21st Century

A flurry of new books have hit the market promising to initiate the reader into the secrets of fine dining. Most of them are silly. Or obvious. Fork here. Elbow there. Don't talk and chew. Be clean. Yes. Here are FIVE TIPS for being a pleasant dining companion, whether in the fanciest restaurant or at home.

1) Don't talk on the phone.
This should be a no brainer. Sitting at the table carrying on a conversation with someone who is not there while ignoring your compagnons is worse than serving yourself mashed potatoes with your bare hands in our book. Yet a surprising number of people who view themselves as "civilized" will think nothing of receiving - or even making - telephone calls while sitting at the dinner table. RULE: if you must take a call, excuse yourself politely, get up, and go away. Do not come back until you are finished.

2) Put away the tablet/computer/video game and other attention grabbing electronic devices.
Even if they make no noise because you have earphones. It's simply rude.

3) Don't eat directly out of the serving dish. 
Put the food on your own plate with the serving spoon. And then, with your own fork, put it in your mouth.

4) Don't talk trash or call names. 
Even though every TV show talks constantly about human sex organs as proxys for courage, motherhood, masculinity, femininity, and just about every human emotion or situation, there's no reason for pottymouth at the dinner table. See if you can tell a funny joke without referring to a sexual organ. Make it a parlor game.

5) No screaming please.
Yes, the elections left more than half the country with PTSD. Yes, families disagree as ferociously as during the Civil War (though we had less weapons then). The dinner table is a time to come together, not stick forks into one another. If you can't talk politics politely, don't talk politics at all.

Bon appétit!!

about the author:
Geena Heart's Lifehacks for Over Fifty will be released in 2017.

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