|Sunday, 12 January 2003|
More dining etiquette
Business style by J.A.S.S.Ranasinghe
Handling of crockery and cutlery is an important feature in table manners and etiquette.
* The glassware is always placed on the right. If you are a left-handed person, it is in order for you to shift them to your left. But make sure that all glassware, once shifted, are kept apart from those sitting next to you.
* There are two ways of handling a fork. According to the American style, the knife is set down on the plate after cutting and the fork swapped to the right hand, which then transfers the freshly cut food to the mouth, with the tines of the fork facing up.
The European or Continental etiquette is that you should keep the fork in the left hand and transfer food to the mouth with the tines of the fork facing down. Hold your food down with the fork in your left hand and cut it into pieces that will neatly fit into your mouth. Do not cut more than one or two pieces at a time.
* It is important that one cuts the meat by using the fork and knife. Fish is meant to be broken by using the fish knife which differs from the ordinary meat knife.
* When talking to guests at the dining table, place your fork and knife apart on your plate. Unless you do this, the waiter is likely to remove the plate, presuming you have finished your meal.
* When you finish your meal, place the fork and knife together, tines down, blade facing in. Place the pair horizontally across the plate or diagonally with the handles pointing to the right.
* If you are served with spaghetti or noodles, twirl the pasta up into a neat bundle before placing in your mouth.
* Western dining often involves a whole range of cutlery. Traditional menus go up to 13 different courses. Today, most hotels prepare a five-course menu. The rule of thumb is to start with the pieces on the outside, moving into the pieces closer to your plate with each course. Cutlery for dessert is sometimes arranged at the 12 o'clock position in your plate or set just before the rest is served. In a buffet table, cutlery for dessert is placed on the dessert table itself.
* Serving spoons are meant for transferring food from a common dish to that of individual diners. Never place a common serving spoon in your mouth.
* After stirring tea or coffee with your teaspoon, place it on the saucer; never leave it in the cup. The writer is a former Human Resources and Administration Manager of Colombo Dockyard Limited.
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