British Dining Equiette

Whilst searching for some new yummies, I came across this blog by apple.strudel at allrecipes.com. May be British, but I think it’s universal.

I have been thinking about a new blog topic for a little while now, I wanted something that was food related but did not actually include any food dishes. It also had to reflect my personality and of course my British heritage.

The British are known for being quite formal, serious and possibly a bit stuffy. We have many traditions and like things to be just so… One thing we are most known for I guess is our dining etiquette. From such an early age we are trained on the correct way to eat, and I thought it would be fun to share a few of these things with you…
In Britain today, people are still believe it or not judged by their table manners, especially when attending a formal function or eating out.
We have an old popular saying in Britain “Manners maketh man”.

Basic Manners -Eating
Things you should not do…
• Never chew with your mouth open.
• Never mash or mix food on your plate.
• Do not blow on hot or cold food.
• Never talk with your mouth full.
• Do not sip from a teaspoon.
• Never put too much food into your mouth at one time.
• Never use your fingers to push food on to your folk or spoon.
• Do not eat off your knife

Things you should do…
• If you are attending a dinner party, wait until your host/hostess starts eating or indicates that you yourself should begin to eat.
• Chew and swallow all the food in your mouth, before adding more or taking a drink.
• Always tilt the soup bowl away from you and spoon in the same direction.
• Bread rolls should be broken with your fingers not a knife.
• A knife and fork should be used for chicken and pizza unless you are attending a BBQ or finger buffet.

Napkins, Crockery and Cutlery.
Things you should not do…
• Never use a napkin as a handkerchief.
• Never wipe off cutlery or glassware with your napkin. If the dishes are not clean ask the waiter for a replacement quietly.
• Do not tuck your napkin in to the collar of your shirt.
• Do not scrape your plate.
• Never cut up more than three bites of food at one time.

Things you should do…
• Your napkin should always be placed on your lap. In some restaurants the waiter will do this task for you. Keep your napkin there until you are ready to leave the table.
• When you leave the table place your napkin in loose folds at the left side of your plate, not on top of the plate.
• Always hold the fork in your left hand and the knife in your right.
• Never push your plate away or stack dishes when you have finished eating.

Passing dishes and food
Things you should not do…
• Never reach across the table, if something is not accessible to you, ask for it to be passed.
Things you should do…
• Always pass jugs, gravy boats etc with the handle towards the recipient.
• You must always pass to the right.

Posture and Behavior
Things you should not do…
• Never rock back in your chair.
• Never lean on your elbows, keep your posture erect.
• Elbows should never be placed on the table until all food courses have been cleared away.
• Never apply make up or comb your hair at the table.

Things you should do…
• When dining at someone’s home, always take a small gift for the hostess.
• At a restaurant or formal function never hang your coat on the back of a chair.
• When the need arises to use the bathroom excuse yourself and leave the table quietly.

Accidents will happen…

• If you spill anything on someone else, do not try to mop up the spill. Offer them your napkin and let them do it for themselves. It’s always polite to offer to cover any laundering or cleaning costs.
• If you break anything, bring it to the waiter’s attention. If it is a private home speak quietly to the host and offer to replace the item.
• If you get food lodged between your teeth do not use fingernails, napkins or toothpicks at the table, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom.
• If you should burp, cover your mouth with your napkin, after the event say a quiet “Pardon me” to no one in particular. Do not make a big deal about the issue.

I hope my blog has given you a little taste of the British dining etiquette that is still in much use today. How do you think our eating manners are compared to the rest of the World? I still find it extremely difficult to comprehend how some people can conduct themselves in a restaurant. Maybe some of you will think me far too formal, too prim and proper but I was brought up to believe that good manners cost nothing…

Amen, apple.strudel!

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