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Lesson 3 from: Manners @ The Table: A Modern Guide to Dining Etiquette

Daniel Post Senning

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Lesson Info

3. Napkins

Lesson Info


Let's talk about napkins. One of the first things that's gonna happen when you arrive at the table is you're gonna want to put your napkin in your lap. Your napkin is your best friend. It's like home base. It's a safe place, and you want to get the home base as soon as possible. So once you've taken your seat, you want to take your napkin and put it in your lap. If it's a linen or a cloth napkin, you're probably gonna want to open it up and fold it. It doesn't matter if you fold it on a a diagonal, so you end up with a triangle shape or in half. So you end up with a rectangle shape. I like to place that fold up against my waist so that it covers as much of my lap as possible. You're not just there to protect your clothes. It's also there to clean your fingers and your face as needed throughout the meal. You don't want to eat so that you're making a mess of yourself all the time, but your napkin is there to help you clean up. If it does happen when you get up to leave the table, Whether...

you're returning or whether it's the end of the meal, you're gonna place your napkin loosely to the left of your place setting. Now, there are some etiquette experts that are going to tell you when you're leaving the table on you plan to return. You want to drape your napkin on the back of your chair, put it on your seat. This is a good way to get that food that's fallen on your napkin or that you've cleaned up with on your clothes. I strongly suggest that whether you're returning or whether the meal is over, that you remember the little pneumonic L L for loosely to the left because that's where you're gonna place your napkin when it's not in your lap. Now, if you've got a paper napkin you don't need toe unfold a paper napkin delay in your lap. You can just set it on your thigh so it's there where you can use it to clean up when you need it. When you get to the table, napkin goes in your lap. You can watch your host for cues and more formal situations, but generally speaking, once you take your seat at the table, get that napkin, get to home base the place you want to be

Ratings and Reviews

Michael Friesen

Daniel's course provides an excellent overview of the essentials of dining etiquette. The content is contemporary and reflects the more relaxed atmosphere that prevails in most dining situations today. I would definitely recommend this course to a friend looking to review the basics of dining etiquette.

Leela Biswas

Great, short class! It covers the basic strokes of table manners. I’d have liked to see more coverage of fork usage, especially with tricky foods like feathery salad greens and rice.

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