|A meal is not a marathon; there are no prizes for speed. So don't race. Eat small bites, one at a time, and never take two bites from the same forkful or two sips from the same spoonful.|
Bad Table Manners Will Give Indigestion to Others
There are two ways to get indigestion. One is to eat. The other is to watch someone else eat. For every chow-hound who gets dyspepsia from wolfing his food, there's a spectator with dyspepsia from watching him. Give pig’s knuckles to a pig and if the pig doesn’t suffer, a fussy onlooker will. Greasiness in managing a barbecued rib, will cause queasiness in many a solar plexus if not the eater’s, the spectator’s. Bad table manners, in other words, not only offend another’s sensibilities. They offend his digestive tract as well. Many people will forgive the former, but never the latter. So, in the interest of preventive medicine, if not of etiquette, it's wise to winnow out the truly horrendous “boners.”
- Eating shouldn’t be auditory. Chew quietly, with your lips closed. Keep sound effects at a minimum. Don't chew and chatter simultaneously.
- If you’re a professional hostess flatterer, say: “M-mm, good!” and let it go at that. Licking your fingers or smacking your lips contributes nothing and detracts much.
- A meal is not a marathon; there are no prizes for speed. So don’t race. Eat small bites, one at a time, and never take two bites from the same forkful or two sips from the same spoonful.
- While handling the cutlery, keep your arms at your sides. Flapping elbows both imperil neighbors’ ribs and show gusto unsuitable to the occasion.
- Liquids should be sipped, not gulped. Soup slurping is a cardinal sin. Thanks to the law of gravity, it's generally unnecessary to “wash down” your food. If you get a hot bite, of course, water makes a good fire extinguisher, but otherwise drink only when your mouth is empty. Even then, wipe your mouth with a napkin before drinking. Food marks on a glass rim aren't the most appetizing sight.
If you think the following don’ts pertain only to the high-chair set, you’re wrong. Some adults haven’t heard of them, either.
- Don’t eat windmill style.
- Don’t root in your plate.
- Don’t blow on your food to cool it.
- Don’t make goulash where goulash wasn’t intended. Keep separate portions separate.
- Don’t submerge everything in catsup or gravy. Catsup is particularly risky. Used in excess, it’s clearly a slur on the cuisine.
Q & A ON P’S & Q’S –
(Q) “I find it disgusting when somebody blows his nose at the dinner table. Don’t you agree?” J. B.
(A) What disgusts one man doesn’t daunt another. Etiquette, as it happens, ordinarily doesn’t require a person to leave the table to blow his nose. It’s considered sufficient to bury your head, shield your nose well and not make a production of it. Nose-blowers, in any case, should never apologize. This merely calls attention to the act. – Don Goodwin, Copyright 1964
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia