Friday, January 16, 2015

Old Etiquette "Don'ts" for Dining, That Are Still Good Today

It is always a law of politeness to incommode one's self rather than incommode others...
Don't leave your knife and fork on your plate when you send it for a second supply. (This rule is disputed by the English. The logic of the question, however, proves the correctness of the rule for it is not easy to place food up on the plate already occupied by a knife and fork. It is always a law of politeness to incommode one's self rather than incommode others, so the problem of what to do with your dinner tools should be your own problem, rather than that of the hosts. The handles of knives and forks are leaded so that the blades or tines will not soil the cloth when rested upon the table. Or, one may with a little skill hold his knife and fork without awkwardness.)

Don't reject bits of bone or other substances by spitting them back into the plate. Quietly eject them upon your fork, holding it to your lips and place them up on the plate. Fruit stones may be removed with the fingers.
Don't trowel butter across an unbroken slice of bread.
Don't bite your bread: break it with your hand.

Don't trowel butter across an unbroken slice of bread.

Don't stretch across another's plate to reach anything.

Don't apply to your neighbor to pass articles when the servant is at hand.

Don't finger articles: don't play with your napkin or your goblet or your fork or with anything.

Don't mop your face or beard with a napkin. Draw it across your lips neatly.
Don't forget that the lady sitting at your side...
Don't turn your back to one person for the purpose of talking with another; don't talk across the one seated next to you.
 
Don't forget that the lady sitting at your side has the first claim upon your attention. A lady at your side must not be neglected, whether you have been introduced to her or not.

Don't talk when your mouth is full.

–From "Don't: A Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties more or less prevalent in Conduct and Speech" by Oliver Bell Bunce 1884


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