Come to the table smiling, freshened up and ready to contribute positively to a convivial meal.
The meal begins when the host or guest of honour places their napkin on their lap. That means no drinking or eating prior to that moment. Bread is not an appetizer. It is meant to accompany the meal.
Follow the leader by opening and placing your napkin flat on your lap. Take the furthest extremity of your napkin, above your knees, and bring it back about a third of the way. You will then be able to rub your soiled fingers inside this pocket or use it to wipe the corners of your mouth and the tip of your chin.
To signal an absence from the table simply place your napkin on the back of your chair. To indicate your departure, fold it inwards once and place it to the left of your plate.
Your place setting is identified by B-M-W. Your Bread plate is on your left, your Meal in the middle and your Wine or Water glass on your right.
Your utensils are used from the outside-in: the furthest on your left and/or right first.
Circulation of items around the table is from right to left counterclock wise.
Practice the Continental style of eating. With your back straight and no elbows on the table, your forearms bring the spoon or fork to your mouth and not your mouth to the food.
Once lifted from the table your utensils never go back to the placemat or tablecloth. Indicate a pause in your meal by forming an inverted ‘V’ on your plate. Your knife will be on the right of your plate with its blade inwards and your fork will be on left with its tines facing down. If possible, the fork crosses over the knife.
To signal the end of your meal both utensils will be diagonal on the right of your plate. Your fork, with tines down will slide along your knife with blade in.
Thank your host for a delicious meal.