You’re probably aware of the main principles of table etiquette and you may be surprised if you come across someone who isn’t. There are, however, some non-obvious rules that are worth paying extra attention to. For example, many people are still confused about what they can eat with their hands and when it’s best to use cutlery.
Bright Side has made a list of some practical advice that will help you feel calm while you eat and avoid making embarrassing mistakes at the dinner table.
1. Miso soup
Miso soup is usually served in a small deep bowl. You should put it in your palm and drink the liquid with small sips. The chopsticks in the other hand should hold the tofu and other ingredients. After you drink the liquid, you can eat the tofu, mushrooms, and other solid ingredients using a spoon or chopsticks.
Since crispy bacon can break if you cut it with a knife, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat it with your hands. Soft bacon is usually greasy so if you don’t want to get your fingers dirty, you can use a fork and a knife.
3. Olives and black olives
When olives are an appetizer, you can use your hands to take them. If olives are an ingredient in a dish (like a salad, for example) then they are eaten with a fork. You can eat an olive in a martini glass after the beverage is drunk by just throwing it into your mouth.
4. Fish steak
Fish steaks are usually made out of salmon or trout. They can be eaten with special cutlery: a fork with 3 prongs and a spatula-like knife. Fish meat is very soft, so it has to be carefully separated with a knife and then brought to the mouth with a fork. The knife can also be used to move the skin and the bones away.
5. Whole fish
Cut the fish in the middle from head to tail without touching the spinal cord. Open the upper layer like a book, holding the meat with a fork. Put the pieces of meat on a free spot on your plate. Use a fork to remove the spinal cord and place it on the plate for bones. You can spritz some lemon on the fish and start eating it with the same fork and knife.
6. Meat on the bone
If you are in a formal setting, like a business lunch, for example, then you should use cutlery to eat meat on the bone. If you are surrounded by friends and family at home or at a barbeque, then it’s acceptable to eat it with your hands.
If you are at a party, you can take a piece of pizza from the plate with your hands. The same rule extends to any informal environment. But if you are at a business lunch, a cafe, or at a restaurant, then you should cut the pizza with a fork and a knife.
9. Baked potatoes
Baked potatoes are eaten with a fork. A potato can be held with the fingers of one hand while the other hand uses a fork to remove the potato peel. Then, the potato is broken into pieces with your hands and the fork is used to mix the inside of the potato with the other ingredients.
10. Green peas
Green peas are eaten with a fork and a knife. A knife is used to collect peas on the fork before you put them in your mouth. Another option is to use the prongs of the fork. Just don’t mash the peas!
An avocado cut in half is eaten with a small spoon. The pieces of avocado in a salad should be eaten with a fork. Guacamole, just like any pâté, can be put on a piece of bread or a cracker.
Soft kinds of cheese (such as Camembert and Bree) are eaten with the crust. When it comes to the solid kinds of cheddar, the crust is cut off with a knife while the cheese is held with a fork.
Table manners are not only the rules of how to use cutlery properly. You should also remember the rules of behavior: don’t leave your phone on the table; wipe your lips with a napkin before taking a sip from your glass so that the edges stay clean; when standing up, say “Excuse me.” It’s much more enjoyable to eat with polite people. As Anton Chekhov said, “A good upbringing means not that you won’t spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won’t notice it when someone else does.” These words really do say it all when it comes to table manners.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable while eating? Share your stories with us in the comments!
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