Limited social contact has taken its toll on formal dining, and hosting and attending dinner parties seems like a distant memory when lockdown rules restrict social gatherings.
However now that there is light at the end of the tunnel, there is no excuse for letting dining standards slip. Here are a few pointers that will serve you well:
- If using a knife and fork together, always keep the tines of the fork pointing downwards and push the food on to the fork. It may be necessary to use mashed potato to make peas stick to the fork but it is incorrect to turn the fork over and scoop.
- Always eat pudding with a spoon and fork.
- Indicate you have finished your meal by placing your knife, fork (with the tines facing upwards) and/or spoon on the plate in the six-thirty position.
- Put salt on the side of your plate rather than sprinkling it on your food.
- Resist the temptation to mop up sauce, or the last few mouthfuls of soup, with bread; eat only what can be eaten easily with a fork or spoon.
- Do not pick individual grapes from a bunch. Use either fingers, or grape scissors, to remove a small bunch.
- Pips and stones should be discreetly spat into a cupped left hand and deposited on the side of the plate or discarded.
- When served bread rolls, break into bite-sized pieces that are eaten individually. Break off a new piece for each mouthful, rather than dividing the rolls into chunks in advance.
- Butter, served with bread, should be taken from the butter dish with the butter knife and placed on the edge of your side plate. Each piece of bread is individually buttered.
- When eating soup fill the spoon by pushing it away from you, towards the far side of the bowl. Bring this to the mouth and tip the soup in from the side of the spoon. Tilt the bowl away from you in order to get the last few spoonfuls.