The other day I went to a friend's home for dinner. After greeting me at the door, she took my jacket and lead me … straight to the dining room table. Within five minutes of arriving, I was eating the first course of our dinner. I have to confess, I found this a little disorientating.
It's Wine Week here at The Kitchn and it's always a rough time for me. You see, I'm one of the few folks on the planet that refrains from the consumption of alcohol (with an occasional exception for cooking wines). It always results in slightly awkward conversation in mixed company but there are a few tips and tricks I've learned along the way for making things less awkward.
When talking dinner table etiquette, every other question is small next to this one: Elbows on the table, or no? Is resting your elbows on the table during eating a shocking breach, or is it simply part of being in an engaged, animated conversation over good food? Or is it situational? We're very curious to know what you think — take our survey and explain in the comments!
Most of us know the essentials of dinner table etiquette: Wait until everyone is served to take the first bite, sit up straight. Here are these essentials, plus a few more that may not be as well known, illustrated so charmingly!
We've all been there. The Most Difficult Dinner Guest Ever is coming to dinner. The vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, how-in-the-world-do-I-feed-them friend. Rise to the occasion — we have five delicious meals that will not only work but satisfy and delight in even the most ingredient-constrained circumstances!
There are two ways of thinking about the proper time to serve coffee and tea after a meal. The most formal and traditional way is to serve dessert first, followed by coffee once the dessert plates have been cleared. (This also used to be a signal that it was now OK for people to light up their cigarettes. Clearly, times have changed!)
The evening was fabulous, from the before dinner cocktails to the last dollop of creme anglaise licked off the dessert spoon. And now you and your guests are lingering around the table, talking, winding down, finishing the last of the wine. An hour later, they're still there, still talking, still lingering and they don't look like they're at all ready to leave. It's getting late, you're tired, you still have the clean up to do and you have to get up early tomorrow morning.
When friends give birth (we've had several in the past few months), we tend to stick to the traditional dishes that please almost everyone and freeze well--lasagna, casseroles, and hearty stews. But in talking to moms who've been on the receiving end, we've started to hear more and more that they'd love something specifically for lunch.
When I'm eating in or dining out with friends, someone inevitably pulls out his cellphone to take a picture, send a text, or Google some trivia brought up by the group. (That someone is sometimes me.) When it comes to table manners in our socially connected world, has cellphone usage become acceptable?
There are two basic methods for eating with a knife and fork. The "American" involves having your fork in your left and your knife in your right when cutting your food, then putting the knife down and switching your fork to your right hand to eat, tines facing upwards. (If you're right-handed, that is.) With the "European" method, the fork remains in the left hand and the knife helps coax your food onto your fork. The tines remain facing downwards.