As soon as a conversation around eating manners is initiated, our collective thoughts stray towards it being hoity-toity and only for the very “posh”. However, this is not quite true!
The lack of table manners—elbows on the table, slurping soup, etc., can be equally appalling during regular dining affairs.
Now, there are quite a few varying opinions that come up in the great debate of dining etiquettes. But no matter your personal views, you cannot disagree that eating neatly, in a way that does not put others off, is a social nicety you do not want to ignore.
So, let us delve in today to learn about the various dining rules in society, and how we can make ourselves a better guest at the table, anyone will be happy to have back.
Why is Dining Etiquette Still Relevant?
Dining etiquette may have developed over time and peaked during the Victorian era, but it is still relevant today to make meals a joyous and pleasant occasion. Imagine sitting down for a meal with several people from various walks of life, with diffing eating styles. Some chomp their food, making others around, queasy. Others slurp their soup and make noises while eating. Won’t you feel irritated and disgusted to start your meal?
Thus, for the very simple reason of making mealtime a relaxed affair, that everyone can enjoy, following dinner etiquette is essential. While no one expects you to sit down to dinner in front of the Queen of England, you can maintain a modicum of table manners that reflect your civilised and educated frame of mind.
Western Dining Etiquette Do’s
Western dining etiquette is lovely, nuanced, and a reflection of generations-old culture and traditions. Let us dive into some of the things you should do when invited to a dinner or lunch.
- When invited, make sure to let the host know if you are coming or not. Also, do not bring a guest with you, unless invited. And remember to bring the hostess a present. It could be something small like a bottle of wine or a box of scented candles.
- At very formal dinners, there will be name cards to let you know where to sit. The host or hostess usually arranges this, and you should honour their ideas. When you take a seat, do not immediately put the napkin on your lap. Do so after everyone is seated.
- The places will already be set. So a good tip to remember is to use the cutlery from the outside in. The menu dictates how the cutlery will be arranged.
- Some of the other simpler rules are to thank the servers, eat with your mouth closed and apologise if you burp.
Western Dining Etiquette Don’ts
While considering dining etiquette don’ts, you should adhere to these more strictly than you would to the dos. These can potentially make or break your reputation, especially during formal affairs!
- Table conversation! Do not talk about things like your morning bathroom routine or the size of your dog’s poop. Avoid all conversation that puts people off their food. Your words should be couth and pleasant.
- Do not start eating as soon as you are served. Wait for everyone else to be served, and then begin to eat. An excellent way to do this would be to keep your eyes peeled.
- If you do not know which utensil to use to lift the food to your mouth, look at the host. They will be the ones to give you a hint. Or you can always ask your neighbour discreetly.
- Do not play with your phone at the table. In fact, do not bring it out at all. The correct eating etiquette is to keep it on silent mode in your pocket.
Indian Dining Etiquettes
Indian dining habits are a tad different from Western affairs. They usually do not have separate courses, but every dish is served at once. The dining etiquette differs slightly, depending on the region of India you are in—either South or North.
- Washing and drying your hands is a necessary ritual associated with every Indian meal. Since meals are usually eaten by hand, it is essential that you clean and sanitise them properly before every meal.
- In India, food is shared. However, do not dip a spoon you have already used in someone else’s bowl or dish – it is considered unhygienic.
- Try not to be wasteful by leaving leftovers.
- Compliment the hostess and host for the meal. This act is considered as very becoming in an Indian household.
When visiting any of the most renowned restaurants, you better practice your table manners beforehand. You do not want to look uncouth when reaching for the delicacies produced by some of the world’s virtuoso chefs.
With these few rules and habits into consideration, you are more than ready to conquer the table!