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13 Table Manners That Only True Ladies Know About

From time to time, we all go to restaurants where we are supposed to show our good table manners. Norms of behavior like not keeping your elbows on the table, holding a knife in your right hand, and not talking with a full mouth are well-known. But there are many more rules than you might think and not knowing them might damage your reputation.

We at Bright Side decided to fill in the gaps and found 13 rules of table etiquette that many of us had no idea about.

1. You can eat chicken with your hands.

The etiquette rules say that we should eat fowl with cutlery if we are in an official environment. However, some exceptions might apply here as well: some catering places provide a finger bowl. This means that the food can be taken with your hands and later washed in the finger bowl that has water with lemon.

2. Avoid leaving lipstick stains on cloth napkins.

As a general rule of thumb, napkins are placed on laps and they can be used for wiping the mouth while eating. It’s not recommended to do this if there is lipstick on your lips, because a lipstick-stained napkin is an indicator of bad manners. Try using tissues. If there are no tissues on your table, ask the waiter to bring some.

3. Also make sure not to leave lipstick stains on glassware.

Don’t take your lipstick stains on your glassware for granted — this is actually quite a rude violation of dining table etiquette. If you are afraid that your lipstick might leave traces on your drinking cup or glass, blot your lips with a tissue before starting to drink.

4. You need a spoon to eat pasta.

Pasta should be eaten with a fork in the right hand and a spoon in the left. You need to pick up the spaghetti with the fork and then put it on the spoon and twirl. After that, you can bring the fork to your mouth and use the spoon to hold the pasta that is hanging from the fork.

5. Don’t wish bon appetit to others.

This expression came to us from the French language and it literally means a wish to fill one’s stomach. That’s why phrases like, “Help yourself!” or "Enjoy your meal! could be more relatable.

6. Meat shouldn’t be always cut with a knife.

You don’t always have to use a knife to cut meat and sometimes doing this can speak to the fact that you don’t know your etiquette. Thus, dishes with chopped or ground meat like cutlets, meatballs, or beefsteaks can be cut with the edge of a fork.

7. The menu should touch the table.

While you are choosing what to order, make sure to watch the way you are holding the menu. It should either lie on the table or touch it with at least one edge. It’s considered bad manners to lift the menu off the table.

8. Seeds shouldn’t be taken out of the mouth with your hands.

This can be only be done in cases where you put the food in your mouth with your hands. If you are eating with a fork, the seeds should be put on the fork too.

9. Don’t cut all your meat at once.

The rules say that you should cut off one piece of meat and put it in your mouth instantly. It’s considered wrong to cut all the meat at once because it gets cold fast and loses its taste.

10. You shouldn’t bite bread.

You shouldn’t bite off pieces from a slice of bread. Moreover, you shouldn’t cut it with a knife either. According to the rules, you should break a small piece of bread with your right hand and put the entire piece in your mouth.

11. Canapés are not always eaten with your hands.

If canapés are served as a snack at a cocktail or tea party, they are eaten with hands. But if you are sitting at a set table and canapés are offered as the first course together with lunch or dinner, you should eat them with cutlery.

12. Cherry tomatoes should be eaten whole.

If cherry tomatoes are served as a part of a salad or another dish, they should be eaten with cutlery. In other cases, cherry tomatoes are eaten by putting the whole tomato into your mouth. Sometimes these tomatoes can be too big to be put in your mouth — in this case, you can eat half of it but make sure to pierce its skin with a knife in advance. Otherwise, you may end up splashing its juice everywhere.

13. Lemon juice should be squeezed correctly.

Seafood is always served with a piece of lemon and few people start to eat fish, prawns, or mussels without sprinkling them with lemon juice first. However, one needs to do it extremely carefully in order not to spray other visitors or the table cloth. Make sure to put the piece of lemon down, lower than the rim of the plate, and cover it with your palm. If necessary, you can also use a spoon to protect your dining partners from the spray.

Have you ever had issues because you didn’t know the proper table manners? Which rules did you break?