Dining Etiquette (Part A-C)
The society is evolving, but one thing always remains. Manners. One should always maintain good manners. They are the key to being human. Scientists have suggested that good manners not only distinguish us from the rest of the animal kingdom, they help keep humans free of disease and underpin the co-operation that helps the world go round. Etiquette is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group. Because of the importance of good demeanor, I put together a dining etiquette series of topics on good manners of a real modern man.
When eating an artichoke, the leaves should be peeled off one by one starting from the outside. Each leaf should be hold by its tip and dipped in a usually butter sauce. Only the soft part of the leave should be eaten. Leave the outer hard part on the side of your plate. After reaching the center of the artichoke, one should use a knife to cut away the part with hair revealing the heart of the artichoke. The heart is to be eaten with a knife and fork.
Asparagus is usually served as a side dish, sometimes covered in hollandaise sauce or melted butter, eaten with a fork and knife. However, when the asparagus is served alone, one should pick it up by the end of the stem, dip it in a sauce and eat it with small bites. The harder woody end of the stem is not to be eaten and placed on the side of the plate instead.
When eating a banana, one should fully peel it off, and use a fork to cut off each piece and eat it.
Never pick up bones and nibble on them, unless it is an informal event and you are eating chicken wings or spare ribs.
Bread rolls are usually served before the meal, while you are waiting for your meal, and to accompany it. Usually there is a small plate to the left of a fork for your break roll. You should break off a bite-size piece of a bread, butter it and eat it.
It is considered rude to take two canapés at a time. Each of them should be eaten in once and only when you are not in a middle of a conversation. Decline politely those who look too messy to eat. Never put anything on a waiter's tray that is still circulating around and NEVER ever DOUBLE DIP.
Caviar, the roe of the sturgeon fish, must be served at room temperature accompanied with a glass of champagne or vodka. It should not taste salty, neither smell. Store it in a glass once the tin is opened. It is not good for you, neither for the caviar to store it in the opened tin.
I personally feel, that you should never be holding a glass of champagne or any other beverage when photos are being taken. It might let others think that you enjoy alcohol too much. When opening a bottle of champagne, peel off the foil, remove the wire cage, place a folded in long textile napkin over the cork, and start gently moving the cork from side to side until it comes out with a gentle, quiet sound. The napkin will prevent the cork from flying out and it gives you a chance to hold it down to prevent any unwanted leakage in the worst possible case. Champagne glass should always be filled up to 3/4 and hold at the stem. Champagne should always be served chilled, stored in an ice-bucket.
When cheese is being served on a shared board, always use the cheese knife next to it. Soft cheeses should be of a room temperature. One should always cut off triangles from the round cheeses. The cheese rind can be consumed, or you may choose to cut it off and leave it on your plate. Cheese is usually served with crackers or bread pieces and a quince. Bring only bite-sized pieces of the cracker, quince and cheese to your mouth.
Never talk with your mouth full. Always keep it closed when chewing without making any noise. Finish the mouthful quick before you need to start to speak. The other person should fill the silence with saying something, since it is considered rude to stare at the person chewing.
Chewing gum is a big no-no in etiquette. One should only chew a gum (with their mouth closed without making any noises) when they are alone.
Always pick quickly when being offered a box of chocolates. It is considered rude to take time to study each praline to leave the unwanted ones to others.
Certain cuisines and dishes require the use of chopsticks. It is recommended to learn how to eat with them before the event. When eating, place them on the right of your plate when not using them. Sometimes they come with a special tiny rest. Do not ever pass food to others using them.
Never lick or eat of the knife. Imagine your plate as a clock. When taking a rest between the bites, place the fork on 8 and the knife on 4 o'clock. After you are done eating, place both on 5.