Dining Etiquette (Part D-M)
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 second series of dining etiquette as a continuation of topics on good manners of a real modern man.
These are alcoholic beverages served after a meal to aid digestion. Digestifs are taken straight (they are not to be mixed as cocktails). Common digestifs are brandy, cognac, Armagnac, grappa, sometimes fortified wines (sherry, vermouth, port, madeira), bitter or sweet liqueurs (drambuie, amari, herbal liqueur, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, and whisky.
While eating, elbows are to be off the table tucked into your sides. Elbows can be rested on the table once finished eating, when you do not have any utensils in your hands. Leaning on your elbows during a conversation, however, means that you are listening attentively to the one speaking.
FINGER BOWLS These are small bowls on the table containing hot water with a slice of lemon (Chinese tea instead of water in case you are in China and Hong Kong). Finger bowls are used when the food (usually seafood) is to be eaten with fingers. Dip your fingers in the bowl, rinse them, and bring them to your napkin to dry them.
If the waiter does not fillet the fish for you and you happen to be served fish on the bone, use your fork to roll out the spine from the head to tail. Eat the fish in small bites and never flip it to reach the meat underneath. Instead, lift the fish and gently bring out the meat underneath using your fork. Fingers are to be used for removing small bones from the mouth and placed on the side of the plate.
In an occasion of attending a formal dinner, the person who invited you should inform you of what to expect and about the appropriate dress code. Start eating when every else has their dish and starts eating. You should not leave the table during dinner. Formal dinners are usually accompanied by speeches and toasts, therefore, always make sure that you do not finish the drink in your glass, so you have something to toast with.
It is probably the best idea to try to avoid garlic, or at least ensure you do not overpower the food, should you be cooking for your guests. Always bear in mind that after consuming garlic, others will be able to smell it on your breath. Try to prevent such situation.
Grapes are always to be eaten in a small bunch. You can use your fingers or grapes scissors to cut a small bunch and then consume it. Never pick them one by one of the big bunch.
Hiccups are nothing one can be in control off and they happen to everyone. You should always acknowledge it and apologize. If it becomes too long and disturbing, excuse yourself and leave for the bathroom, where you remain until your hiccups stop.
There is never any need for you to share the information should you be starving, same as there is no need to share that you are full.
KEBABS & SKEWERS
These are small cubes of meat and sometimes vegetables on a skewer. Never eat of the skewer, but use your left hand to hold it and your fork to ease the meat of the skewer piece by piece on to the plate.
This citrus fruits can be consumed whole with the skin, either raw or cooked.
A wedge of lemon is usually served together with fish or seafood. Squeeze it with your fingers or against the tips of your fork to release the juice. Always cover the lemon around with your other hand to prevent any spraying on others.
Lobster is usually served in the shell cut in half. You may use your fork and knife as well as your fork and your fingers, to ease the meat out. If the claws are not cracked already, you will need to use special lobster crackers. Use your fork to pull out the meat.
To ease out the mussel out of the shell, you may use your fork or another empty shell. It is allowed to consume pieces of bread dipping them in the sauce. All empty shells should be placed on an empty plate.
To be continued...