We have all been there. Imaging a family dinner involving young children who are excited, loud and more interested in flinging food across the table than eating them. It is at moments like these when one cannot help but wish the parents of such truant youngsters had taught them the importance of table manners.
With the growing trend of fast foods, families seldom sit down together for home-cooked meals. However, one cannot stress enough on the importance of etiquette during eating at social settings. Proper table manners not only allow the family to connect with each other but also gives each individual an opportunity to feed their bodies and soul.
Here are a few table manners one should impress upon children for a better dining experience.
1. Use of napkin
A napkin is not only used to wipe food from the mouth, but is also used to blot lips before taking a sip, catch crumbs or drippings that fall on the lap or act as a barrier to a cough or a sneeze.
Before beginning your meal, lift your napkin with your left hand to open. Fold over the top quarter and lay the napkin in your lap with the fold pointing toward you. If you need to excuse yourself during the meal, place your napkin on the back or arm of your chair, when you return to place it back in your lap. To signal the end of the meal, pinch the centre of the napkin and place it on the left side of your place setting.
2. Chew with mouth closed and keep elbows off the table
Nothing can be more unpleasant to see someone talk with a mouth full of food. Swallow your food before communicating, or use your body language to communicate till you swallow your food. Furthermore, it is considered bad manners to keep your elbows on the table while eating. However, one is allowed the use of forearms on the table in between courses or when resting after completing a meal.
3. Learn how to interact with waiters
To signal that you want to rest in between your meal, use your fork and knife to make an inverted 'V' on the plate. This ensures that the server will not remove the food from the table should one get up in between the meal.
To signal that one has finished eating, they should close their fork and knife and keep them at an angle on their plate to impress on the server that they have completed their meal and the plate can be taken away.
4. Permission before leaving the table
One should always ask for permission before leaving the table when they need to use the restroom during the meal or need to be excused at the end of the meal. Place your napkin on the left-hand side of your place setting, rise from the table and push in your chair.