Standing at the table: the rules of good manners

Standing at the table: the rules of good manners

A few mistakes in manners can be enough to give a bad image of oneself in society. Elisabeth Fournier, founder of En Tout Elégance, a skills training company, highlights the most common mistakes ... in order to better avoid them.

General attitude and vocabulary

- You sit straight in front of your plate, hands placed on the table, without slouching. - We wait until the mistress of the house begins to eat to start ourselves, whatever the dish. If it is really slow to start, we can ask for permission. - We say "lunch" or "dinner" and not "eat". - Contrary to popular belief, it is rude to say "Bon appétit". And if the hostess says it nonetheless, answer "thank you" and not "good appetite" too. - We serve on the left, directing the cutlery towards the guest, and we serve on the right. - If you are really resistant to a dish, you say "no thanks". If asked why you are not using it, you give a suitable explanation. But good education means that we force ourselves. - You never dirty your plate before you have tasted it. - We do not spoil a dish if the hostess has not invited us. - We do not eat with our fingers, unless the hostess invites us, for example for asparagus. - Avoid eating in large bites so you can respond quickly if someone speaks to you. Is it necessary to repeat it: one never speaks with a full mouth. - You never put your knife in your mouth. - You wipe your mouth as soon as you feel it is necessary, by tapping your lips and not by rubbing them. - You never "sauce", even with the fork, except possibly with your family and without "cleaning" your plate. - We pass the bread in the basket and not by hand. - When you think you have finished eating, place your place settings parallel to yourself on the plate.

Water and wine

A woman never uses wine alone. You don't put your hand on your glass to signify that you don't want to drink anymore. We say "no thanks". The master or mistress of the house must ensure that the glasses are never empty. We fill the water glass to three quarters, and the wine glass to two thirds, or less if the glass is very large. We don't serve wine with the soup.

The dishes

- The soup is eaten with the tip of the spoon, without making any noise. You don't tilt your plate to catch the last drop. - Seafood (shellfish, for example) can be eaten with your fingers. The shrimps, on the other hand, are peeled using the knife and the fork. - Eggs (scrambled, omelette, etc.) can only be eaten with a fork, as well as salad, asparagus and foie gras. You can possibly push with a small piece of bread. - On the other hand, a pâté is eaten with a knife and a fork. - The cheese is eaten with a knife. We put each bite on a small piece of bread. - The fruits are peeled with a knife and a fork. In the case of a stone fruit dessert, gently place the stone in the fork, then place it also delicately on your plate. - You don't touch the cup of coffee for long. Stir briefly and place the spoon on the saucer. If you take coffee in the living room, you hold the saucer in your hand. To learn more about good manners, whatever the circumstances, En Tout Elégance offers tailor-made training.