Table Etiquette : How To Be A Gentleman
When it comes to eating, we Nepalese have the Donald Trump approach, just grab it by the… thing. We use our hands to pick up the food and shove it into our mouths. Don’t get us wrong, we do adhere to the satisfaction of hand eating. However, as a global cosmopolitan and a gentleman, one needs to acquaint to the silverware that’s laid before them.
The fork and spoon is not that alien to us by now. That being said, there is a certain way they are meant to be used. It’s is not just stab-stab-stab and scoop-scoop-scoop. Plus, there are times when you should use it and should not use it.
Now, to localize this, we will not be talking about the elaborate and uber-fancy dining setting for one, only a few places host such things; and two, how often do we even go to such things? So let’s just keep it simple and get better at dual hand wielding and culinary maneuvering in the European fashion.
Please sir, do sit down. See what we did there? We offered you a seat. And that is what you should do. If you are with someone, offer them a seat before you sit yourself. Easy enough, right? Now, if the venue hosts some live performances or has a great view, don’t take the best vantage point, offer it to your guest or company. We know it’s tempting, but just be courteous and feather their flock.
Next, you’ll probably find a Napkin on the table. Take that napkin and put it on your lap as you sit down. Don’t tuck it inside your shirt around your neck. You are not a 5 year-old. If there isn’t one, don’t worry about it. It will come later on. Sit up straight and don’t slouch. You may rest your hands on the table ORDER
Most of the times, the waiter will walk you to your table and prepare himself to take your order. If the waiter is not on standby on your table, just look towards and and raise your hand slightly. He should be able to take the hint and come towards you. However, make sure you’ve decided what you want to eat before you call him. Just because he’s a waiter doesn’t mean that you should keep him waiting. Waiting tables is actually a shitty job, don’t make it any shittier for the poor guy.
And please, do not whistle. Order in a polite tone. Not only will the waiter appreciate you but your company will feel comfortable with you. And remember to say thank you.
Now, here’s a tip. Don’t order things that are a bit messy to eat, such as chicken wings. Just try to stay away from finger foods. And for god’s sake don’t fork-and-knife your wings. If you’re that kind of a guy, you’re more useless than the K in knife.
Order something like a chicken breast. Even sizzlers work well. The idea is to be able to work your way through the dish without being sloppy.
If you’ve ever cooked, you know that it takes time. So wait, it’ll take some time. In this time frame, engage in a conversation with your company. Try to eliminate awkward silences. Not only will you have a lovely conversation and get to know the person better, but time will pass by quicker and the dish will be in front of you sooner than you expected.
BEFORE YOU DIG IN
If your dish arrives before you company’s, wait for theirs to arrive, don’t just attack on it like you’re Napoleon. You may, however, begin if the company insists on it. Once theirs arrives, be courteous and ask them to start first. Don’t worry if theirs arrives first and they go on to dig in right away. They may not be a gentleman, but you are. So wait. And please don’t interrupt them and correct them if the begin without you.
DUAL -HAND WIELDING
Typically, a set of fork, spoon and knife will be placed before you. If a napkin was not presented to you before, it is not wrapped around your cutlery set. Unravel the utensils and lay the napkin on your lap. If we did not make it clear enough, you are not a 5 year old. Please, don’t put it around your neck. Next, on instinct, you’ll pick up the fork and spoon because you need something to scoop with and something to stab with. This may seem like a common sense but not according to the Europeans. All you need is the fork and knife. To hold them, take the fork on your left and the knife on your right. Now, think as if you’re pointing at the plate with your index finger; that is the direction your cutleries should be pointing.
Meats: Meats are easy and straightforward. You cut the with the knife and stab and pick them up with your fork.
Rice: For rice, switch hands and hold the fork like a pen. The hold for the knife remains the same. Guide the rice with the knife to the fork and scoop it up.
Noodles: Dive your fork down and twirl. Get a sizeable portion and fit it in your mouth.
Strictly, Europeans don’t share their food. But honestly, we all want a little bit of someone’s dish, it’s natural. However, don’t go violating their area with an over reaching fork. By far it is a rude gesture. Infact, don’t ask. Wait for them to ask you if you want a bite. If they don’t, offer yours first. Sometimes, to get some, you just have to lose some. So just say “Wow, this is good! Here, try some.” and the reply will surely be, “yes please, here, would you like some of mine? It’s good.” Simple mind tricks actually.
TAKE A BREAK
You will not be only eating all the time. You’ll be talking and even drinking. That calls for placing your cutlery items down for a moment or two. Place your fork on top of your knife on the plate forming an inverted V. Wipe your mouth with the napkin and place it back on your lap. If you need to get up and go to the loo or pick up a call, apologise and get up. Leave your napkin on the chair gracefully. It means that you’ll be back, so the waiter will not come and take your dish away in your absence. Don’t talk with food in your mouth. And for god’s sake, freaking chew with your mouth closed you uncivilized ignoramus!
Don’t go about raising your hand and waving wildly as if you’re being attacked by bees.
Once you’re done with your meal, place the fork and knife on the plate parallel to each other. Only a little portion of the utensils should be out of the plate so that it will not fall off when the waiter comes to pick it up.
Take the napkin, wipe your mouth and finger and place it on the dish as neatly as possible. Don’t crumble it and dump it on the plate, it’s unsightly and rowdy. You’re a gentleman, so make the effort to fold it up nicely. The waiter will appreciate this gesture.
The waiter will probably see that you’re done and come to clear up the table. Now would be a good time to ask for the bill instead of calling him from afar. If you have to call him from afar, just glance at him and do a small gesture with your hand as if you’re writing. Don’t go about raising your hand and waving wildly as if you’re being attacked by bees.
Offer to pay. Only give your company the bill if they really insist. Moreover, it will be better to split the bill, or just pay for the respective orders.
Get up gracefully and most probably your company will get up with you as well. The next step is to just walk out and be proud of your gentry.