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Lesson 7 from: Manners @ The Table: A Modern Guide to Dining Etiquette

Daniel Post Senning

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Lesson Info

7. Posture

Lesson Info


there are some table manners that have nothing to do with how you hold your utensils or how you eat your food. One of the most common table manners or dining etiquette questions has to do with whether elbows ever belong on the table or not. A slightly less common question has to do with What do I do if I'm leaning so far forward that my tie is falling into my suit? Well, the answer to both of these questions gives me a chance to talk about posture at the table. Now we're not living in the era of downtown Abbey or in an Edith Wharton novel when you really weren't supposed to let your back touch the back of the chair when you were sitting at a table when you were eating food. It's okay if you're relaxed if you're at ease when you're at the table, but you also don't want to slouch. You don't want to collapse. You want to stay present with the people that you're with. You wanna maintain eye contact and pleasant or polite conversation if you find yourself leaning so far over your food that ...

your tie, if you were wearing one would be falling into your food. It's timeto sit back and sit up straight. The whole idea here is that you're able to use those utensils to bring your food to your mouth. You don't want to bring your mouth down to the food. So if you're getting closer and closer and closer to your plater to your soup, it's time to sit back up. Now it's okay to lean forward just a little bit and close that gap between you and the table so you're less likely to spill food into your lap. But you don't want to get too close or hover over the food. So posture at the table. What about those elbows? Well, I'm only post herself thought it was flattering if someone rested their arm on the table and leaned into conversation a little bit, she thought it was OK to rest your arm on the table. What she didn't think was okay was for someone toe rest their elbows on the table when they're utensils, were in their hands or slouch forward over their food. So if your utensils are in your hand, elbows off the table. The French have an expression. They say to juco camouflage. Always, sometimes never. Always have your hands in sight. Sometimes rest your forearms on the table. Never your elbows. I like this expression because it reminds me that it's OK. The lightly rest your arms on the table, but you don't want to prop yourself up there now in European or Continental style dining. You don't ever recover your hands to your laugh. Here in America, it's perfectly OK to recover your hands to your lap when you're not using them to eat your food. It's a slight difference between American and European style dining, but it's really not going to offend anybody here in the States. If your hands aren't always in sight, so that's it. Don't slouch over your food. Don't gesture with your utensils or place their elbows on the table when your utensils air in your hands. Sit up straight, but not so straight that you appear rigid or out of place, and it's okay to wrest back every once in a while. But remember those traditional manners and don't slouch back in your chair and retreat from the people you're eating

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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