January 26, 2018 Kim Cox


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It’s true!  Most of us commit a dining etiquette faux pas at every meal. Don’t let your lax dining habits send negative signals about you.

I know that you’re reading this post thinking, “I’ve been eating all my life, surely I know how to do it right by now!”  Well I’m sure you do, but even the best of us need a refresher now and then. Take a quick read of this post. If you have not made any of these common dining etiquette mistakes in the last month, my hat is off to you!

Lipstick Is For Lips, Not Glasses!

Dining etiquette

Don’t leave lipstick stains on your glass!

While that red lipstick looks good on your lips, it’s not cute on your glass! Leaving lipstick on a glass is like leaving a “tramp stamp” behind. It indicates someone of low or little class. That’s not you! Before taking a sip, discreetly wipe off your lipstick with your napkin. Don’t worry about soiling the napkin – it will come out. What you don’t want to do is soil your reputation.

Pass the Salt, Please.

Dining etiquette

Salt and pepper shakers are placed on the table for those whose food needs a bit more seasoning. When you see a salt shaker, a pepper shaker almost always accompanies it; they are an inseparable pair.

Dining etiquette

Pass both the salt and teh pepper together.

So when someone asks you to “pass the salt,” don’t break up the pair, pass them both. Do this even though they only asked for one of them.


Nobody Wants Warm Wine.

Dining etiquette

The stemware delimma – how do you hold the glass? It seems natural to hold it by the bowl and let it rest comfortably in your hand, right? Don’t make this rookie mistake! Hold the glass by the stem or foot. Here’s the reason. Wine is served at a particular temperature, depending on the type of wine. Holding the glass by the bowl warms the wine, or changes its temperature to something less that optimal. Even if it is a stemmed water glass, still hold it by the stem or food.

(Wo)Man Cannot Live By Bread Alone.

Dining etiquette

Bread is totally unnecessary in the American diet, yet it is a part of almost every meal. You don’t need it, but you’ve gotta have it. That bread basket on the table is just calling your name. You can’t resist – YOU . MUST . HAVE . BREAD!

Just as bread is the death of most diets, it can be death to dining etiquette. Eating bread at a seated meal is where many a dining etiquette follower goes awry. There are a number of ways that you can make a mistake just by eating bread. Rational thought would tell you to just avoid it, right? But the devil on your shoulder says, “Go ahead. What can go wrong?”

Let Us Break Bread Together

Dining etiquette

How many times have you sat at a table with someone who used a knife to cut their bread. Let me apologize to you on their behalf! They are trying to impress you, but are failing miserably. Eating is referred to as “breaking bread,” not “cutting bread!” Bread is intended to be torn with your hands. I know it seems counterintuitive, or a bit cavemanish (I know that’s not a word!) but just tear off a big hunk and put it on your bread plate. Save that knife for something else.

That brings me to the next point. Once you have that big hunk of bread on your plate, how do you eat it?  You certainly DON’T pick up that hunk, put it to your lips and take a bite! Oh contrar, my devout etiquette follower! You tear off an individual bite sized piece every time you wish to partake.


Dining etiquette

If bread is death to many a diet, then butter is the nail that seals it shut. Nobody NEEDS butter, but what’s the point of eating bread without it? When dining, never butter the whole piece of bread on your bread plate. Butter each individual piece, right before eating it. Yes, this is an inefficient way of eating, but the purpose of etiquette is obviously not efficiency.

Napkin On Your Lap, Please!

Dining etiquette

Everyone knows that your napkin goes on your lap, but what do you do with it when you are finished, or simply leaving the table momentarily? Lots of people put their napkin on their seat when they are leaving the table. You’ve seen them do it; perhaps you have even done it. Here is my response: Yuck!! That’s just nasty! Think of how many butts have been in that seat, then you essentially wipe that seat with the napkin, then wipe your mouth that nasty napkin! I want you to get a good mental picture of that. I’ll bet you never do it again!

Dining etiquette

Ok, now that that is seared in your brain, here’s the way to avoid wiping your mouth with someone else’s butt gunk. When you are leaving the table, place your napkin on the table to the left of your plate. Now doesn’t that make more sense?

I Gotta Pee!

Unless you are a toddler, no one needs to know your bathroom habits. If you find that you must leave the table for any reason, simply say “excuse me,” then place your napkin on the table to the left of your plate. You need not give a reason.

Congratulations! Here’s To You!

Dining etiquette

At some point in your life, you will be the object of a toast. Glasses are raised, kind words are said and champagne is imbibed – but not by you! Don’t be tacky and drink to your own toast. Kindly nod and thank the one who proposed the toast and other guests. Save your sip for after the toast.

You’ve Got Mail!

Dining etiquette
Now here is where I am most likely to fail. Never, ever ever, should you place your cell phone on the table, even if it’s face down. Unless your kids or other loved ones are in peril, there is no reason to take a call at the table, nor check your email. It’s disrespectful to your fellow diners and to dinner itself. Live in the moment; shut down your phone and enjoy your meal.

How Is Your Dining Etiquette?

Dining etiquette

Ok, be honest.   How many of these dining etiquette rules did you break in the last month?  Post in the comments.  This is a judgment free zone!

More  Etiquette Articles From Gracious Living Guide

Modern Etiquette: 10 Questions You Need Answered

Do You Know A Lady When You See One (Or How To Be One)

Jet-Etiquette:  Airline Etiquette for The Savvy Traveler

Isn’t It About Time You Used Your Good China?

Table Setting 101:  Perfect Place Settings

The Secret To Walking In High Heels

Crawfish Boil Etiquette – Yes There Is Such A Thing!


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