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Table etiquette - what do you do?

Posted by DK 
DK
Table etiquette - what do you do?
March 31, 2018 06:31PM
I've just been having a discussion about table etiquette and I'd be interested to see what you lot think. Please answer 3 questions for me:
1) Do you put your knife and fork together to signal that you've finished eating?
2) Would you say that most people you know put their cutlery together when they've finished eating or is this a point of etiquette that's dying out?
3) In a restaurant, would you prefer your server to clear each plate as each person finishes eating or would you prefer that they they wait until the whole table has finished? What's the reason for your preference?
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
March 31, 2018 07:22PM
1. Always

2. Dying out, even with older people who would have been brought up to observe the custom.

3. Wait until the whole table has finished, otherwise slow eaters feel pressed to get moving, and fast eaters feel greedy.

Another custom I notice is dying out is knowing how to use a table napkin. Many people ignore it these days.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
March 31, 2018 07:34PM
Totally agree with TPANDAV on all points.

Regards,

Barbara Anne
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 01:28AM
I agree with TPANDAV as well on all points.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 02:09AM
I also agree with Tpandav
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 02:13AM
I also dislike finished plates being scraped and stacked at the table - old person thing????



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/2018 02:14AM by Annie H.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 02:50AM
I agree with the above posters, but also get quietly rage-y when (usually) an older woman at the table scrapes & stacks the plates insisting that we all pass them along the table to her (is this what you meant Annie H ??). I almost get territorial over my plate, finished or not smiling smiley
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 03:32AM
Annie H Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I also dislike finished plates being scraped and
> stacked at the table - old person thing????

Scraping plates at the table is revolting and never acceptable. It breaches the line between preparation and eating. I’ve even seen it done in restaurants occasionally. Ghastly.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 03:49AM
Yes I agree with the other posters too! And as for the plate scraping thing at the table, it makes me feel a bit queasy and spoils the meal somewhat.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 05:48AM
Totally agree but also hate it when people start eating before the last person has been served!! This drives me insane.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 03:37PM
I meant is it an old person thing to dislike the scraping and stacking. Glad other posters agree with me
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 04:30PM
I've just been having a discussion about table etiquette and I'd be interested to see what you lot think. Please answer 3 questions for me:
1) Do you put your knife and fork together to signal that you've finished eating?
2) Would you say that most people you know put their cutlery together when they've finished eating or is this a point of etiquette that's dying out?
3) In a restaurant, would you prefer your server to clear each plate as each person finishes eating or would you prefer that they they wait until the whole table has finished? What's the reason for your preference?

Yes - always
hmmmm many but not all, it needs to be explicitly taught and modelled.
Yes I would especially at a nice semi formal dinner however at a more causal lunch/brunch Im ok if they clear things to give the table more room.
I dont like at dinner the feeling you need to rush just because one person has finished and had things cleared.

Plate scraping - GROSS
Eating before all food has arrived is rude unless its taking a while and there is an agreement to start. No one wants cold food.

Vanessa
DK
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 01, 2018 04:41PM
Clare Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Totally agree but also hate it when people start
> eating before the last person has been served!!
> This drives me insane.

Me too! My elderly parents in their 80s seem to have regressed in terms of their table manners. They don't lay their cutlery together when they've finished, and they don't wait for everyone to be served before they start eating.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 02, 2018 04:33PM
1 & 2. Yes, I put my knife & fork together, but must admit I don't examine other peoples plates to see if they have done so, so can't answer the 2nd part.

Any wait person worth their wages waits for the whole table to finish eating before clearing the plates away. Re scraping and stacking the plates, at a formal dinner it is unacceptable. However, at a small, private meal, it seems to be becoming the norm an I don't mind. As for starting to eat before every one has been served, for those still waiting it would be polite for one of them to say something like 'please, don't wait, go ahead and eat.' I always remember a top chef announcing that 'Good manners spoil good food', and I've loved him ever since!
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 02, 2018 07:32PM
I always put my knife and fork together and the kids have been brought up to do this too.
I think it is appalling to start removing plates before everyone has finished - either at home or at a restaurant.
Having spent years waitressing, if I am clearing a table and want to clear in one go rather than going to and fro the kitchen then as I take a plate I turn my back to the table and scrape onto one plate that I am holding and carry on that way. Then I can clear a whole table at once. No one sitting sees the scraping as it is way above head height and I turn my back to do it.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 02, 2018 09:53PM
I was brought up to place knife and fork together when I had finished eating and taught my children to do the same. However, a bit like Lorna I don't really watch to see if others do the same, I just assumed they would.
I would also tell others to start eating, rather than have a hot meal go cold, while waiting for dishes that may take longer to serve.

I have never noticed plates being scraped at the table in a restaurant. Mostly the waitperson seems to carry away several plates at once. I've never been a waitress and I always think that it must take some practice.

Someone in Germany once told me he was a waiter, then told me they train for several years to become a top waiter. He sounded serious so I had no reason to doubt him.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 02, 2018 11:19PM
I knew a young French man who had left school at 16 and trained as a professional waiter. He had an incredible range of skills. I remember once being at his place for lunch and his wife had slightly overcooked a whole roasted snapper, making it tricky to transfer to a serving plate. She called him in from the garden to plate it and without taking off his gardening gloves he took a knife and magically transformed it into six perfectly even portions, all perfectly positioned on the plates. It took about a minute. He was also trained in social observation, making a decision about every customer as to how much conversation they wanted from him. Oh dear, I wish there were waiting staff like him these days.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/2018 12:20AM by TPANDAV.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 02, 2018 11:55PM
Re table etiquette with cutlery
I was always told it is rude to hold the knife like a pencil
You must put your hand over the handle, never the handle sticking out between thumb and forefinger

Yet - I see constantly on MKR one of the judges Manu, holding his knife like a pencil, always
Do the French not consider that to be wrong
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 03, 2018 12:24AM
Here's a link to some details about the correct French way to use cutlery. I don't thank Manu's way would be approved of...

[www.frenchtoday.com]

I've often noticed on cooking reality shows that the judges use cutlery strangely. I think it's because they are tasting as they would in the kitchen, rather than eating at a dinner party.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 03, 2018 03:37PM
My comment above re scraping dishes 'However, at a small, private meal, it seems to be becoming the norm and I don't mind' I was referring to the diners scraping and stacking dishes themselves at the end of a meal. It is never permissable for a waitress to scrape and stack dishes at the table.

Helen, I'm intrigued by your method of clearing in one go. Am I missing something or have you got three hands? It's your comment
"as I take a plate I turn my back to the table and scrape onto one plate that I am holding" You've got one plate that you're holding, as you "take another plate", which hand is doing the scraping?
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 03, 2018 05:41PM
I think we may know that different cultures use their cutlery in a way that is different to the way we know as being correct.
At one time we were travelling with people from different countries around England. One night we shared our table with two women from America. As we ate our meal and talked I hadn't noticed them watching how we ate. The next day one of the women said, we were talking late last night about how we like the way you use your knife and fork at the same time, compared to how we use ours. We had always known that they tend to have their fork in their predominant hand but I hadn't ever thought to comment on it.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 04, 2018 01:04AM
My friend visited me and apologised for "eating like an American". what she meant by this was she first cut all her food, then used her fork in her dominant hand to eat it. I'd never realised that this was the way it happened.

I do place my knife and fork together at the end of a meal, at 4 o'clock on my plate. I think most people still know to do this, don't they?

I'd prefer to be left to have table all cleared at once, but it does depend, for example at a tapas/small plates meal, you can end up with an overloaded table, so clearing a few away is sensible.
DK
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 04, 2018 04:01AM
Lorna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> ....Helen, I'm intrigued by your method of clearing in
> one go. Am I missing something or have you got
> three hands? It's your comment
> "as I take a plate I turn my back to the table and
> scrape onto one plate that I am holding" You've
> got one plate that you're holding, as you "take
> another plate", which hand is doing the scraping?

Lorna, Helen might've done it differently, but the following You Tube video shows how I used to do it when I was waitressing:
How to clear plates
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 04, 2018 04:20AM
I'm married to an American, and way back when we first started seeing each other, 22ish years ago now, he noticed the way I ate (good "British" table manners) and felt that the way he had been taught to eat was ugly in comparison (he did the cutting up everything first and fork in right hand thing, and also trying to cut food with the side of his fork, ugggh). So after about 4 meals together, he changed the way he ate to copy me. He received no end of stick from his friends for it, but after seeing a different way, there was no going back for him smiling smiley

While living there I found it very difficult to accept the alternate table manners, especially having our style drummed into me since I could hold a spoon. In the end I had to write it off to a harmless cultural difference.

In answer to the OP.

1: Yes, and this is how we've taught our children.
2: I don't know, really. People I know still do this (40-50's), but I don't eat out a lot so haven't observed the general public much. I do know several of my sons' friends have appalling table manners. Food falling out of their mouths, can't use a knife to help push food onto a fork etc. It's horrible to sit at the same table as them at times!
3: Wait until the whole table has finished.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/04/2018 04:22AM by Jenna.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 04, 2018 04:34PM
Thank you, DK. Just shows how unobservant I am when dining out. Or is it because I'm usually engaged in interesting conversation that the serving and clearing of the meal is secondary to the company and conversation? I hope so!
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 05, 2018 08:54AM
I definitely put my knife and fork together but I haven't noticed whether others do (I do see a lot of absolutely terrible cutlery holding though - the pencil hold is my least favourite). In a restaurant I would expect the table to be cleared once the last person has finished eating but I must admit that in a café I secretly don't mind if they clear a plate at a time, simply because I often eat with someone who eats very slowly (jaw problem) and I get tired of looking at my dirty plate.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 05, 2018 02:46PM
DK yes the video demonstration is how I clear.
The first plate is in my left hand, subsequent plates resting on my left forearm and leftover food is scraped from the forearm plate to the one in your hand. That way you can easily stackk plates with no food getting squashed. There is a knack to the cutlery too as this is arranged on the first plate. I must teach my kids how to do this before they get to university age.
DK
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 06, 2018 04:48PM
Lorna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thank you, DK. Just shows how unobservant I am
> when dining out. Or is it because I'm usually
> engaged in interesting conversation that the
> serving and clearing of the meal is secondary to
> the company and conversation? I hope so!

I would say the latter! You're obviously having too good a time to notice! Anyway, good service should mean that you don't notice the plates being cleared and scraped.
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 14, 2018 02:35AM
1) Do you put your knife and fork together to signal that you've finished eating?
Yes and I place them in the centre of the plate

2) Would you say that most people you know put their cutlery together when they've finished eating or is this a point of etiquette that's dying out?
I often see people do the same thing - used cutlery on the centre of the plate

3) In a restaurant, would you prefer your server to clear each plate as each person finishes eating or would you prefer that they they wait until the whole table has finished? What's the reason for your preference?
Wait for everyone to finish. I hate when the server comes and takes the plates. The reason I dont like it is because it interupts the dinner. Quite often you may be only having a break and wanting to have some more of the shared plates (if any) or God forbid...help out the person who hasn't finished!!!
Re: Table etiquette - what do you do?
April 14, 2018 04:13AM
For clarity, I use the continental style of cutlery placement. Probably because my mum spent a lot of time in France as a child, and it was her that taught me manners. My father was a cockney with awful table manners, and my mum wasn't shy to point it out...probably why I can't stand bad table manners now (interesting, my own son has awful manners, because with his disability manners were much less important than the fact that he was actually eating!)

[www.huffingtonpost.com]

Probably the worst table manners for me is open mouthed and noisy chewing....shudder. (I have misophonia, so noise is the worst, I have been known to leave the table if someone is a noisy eater, but again, I can cope with both of these in my son)
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