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Table manners

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”
In sociology, manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, other than social disapproval. They are a kind of norm. What is considered "mannerly" is highly susceptible to change with time, geographical location, social stratum, occasion, and other factors. That manners matter is evidenced by the fact that large books have been written on the subject, advice columns frequently deal with questions of mannerly behavior, and that schools have existed for the sole purpose of teaching manners.
The most important place to show your manners is dining table. If you are aware of important table manners,instead of spoiling food you will cherish it in the best possible way.Table manners are the rules of etiquette used while eating, which may also include the appropriate use of utensils. Different cultures observe different rules for table manners. Each family or group sets its own standards for how strictly these rules are to be enforced.
In many African countries, eating is done without cutlery, with the right hand, from a communal dish.It is rude to show up early at dinner; try to be 15–30 minutes later than expected.It is considered pretentious to use forks or knives to eat Chapati or Ugali.If eating on a mat or carpet, do not expose the sole of your foot, it is considered very rude.Children may eat with the adults if instructed to do so.Many Tanzanian table manners are similar to British table manners.It is considered rude to talk or laugh with food in your mouth. In Afganistan guests are always seated farthest from the door; when there are no guests the grandparents are seated farthest away from the door.
Table decoration in China
Depending on the customs of the household, a prayer may be offered before and/or after the meal.Guests are offered food first and expected to eat the most, while the hosts begin to eat last and the least.Guests should refrain from eating too much, unless the hosts coaxes them to eat more, which he/she almost always will. A host who coaxes his/her guests is considered a good, gracious host. The host should always ask at least three times if the guest wants more food, and the guest should refuse at least three times.Guests are always given the best portions of the food. Refusing to eat however is considered bad manners, and guests should eat. Likewise, failure to offer food or to be attentive is considered bad manners for a host.
In  China, table manners are more informal than the West, although there are more rules concerning interactions with other guests due to high levels of social interaction as a result of the communal style of serving.Chopsticks should always be held correctly, i.e. between the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand.When not in use, chopsticks must always be placed neatly on the table with two sticks lying tidily next to each other at both ends. Failure to do so is evocative of the way the dead would be placed in a coffin before the funeral and is a major faux pas.Chopsticks are traditionally held in the right hand only, even for the left-handed. Although chopsticks may now be found in either hand, a few still consider left-handed chopstick use improper etiquette. One explanation for the treatment of such usage as improper is that within the confines of a round table this may be inconvenient.Never point the chopsticks at another person. This amounts to insulting that person and is a major faux pas.Never wave your chopsticks around as if they were an extension of your hand gestures.Never bang chopsticks like drumsticks. This is akin to telling others at the table you are a beggar.Never use chopsticks to move bowls or plates.Never suck the chopsticks.Food is generally expected to be eaten with the right hand. It is fine to use left hand to pass the dishes.It is acceptable, and many times, even expected, not to use cutlery for eating, as many foods - such as Indian breads and curry - are commonly eaten in this manner.Wash hands thoroughly before sitting at the table as some Indian foods are primarily eaten by hand. Also, wash hands after eating the food. Usually, a finger bowl (with luke warm water and lemon) is served to each person for rinsing fingers.
In North India, when eating curry, the sauce must not be allowed to stain the fingers - only the fingertips are used.When flat breads such as chapati, roti, or naan are served with the meal, it is acceptable and expected to use pieces of them to gather food and sop-up sauces and curries.In South India, it is acceptable to use the hand up to the second segment of the fingers (middle phalanx till the interphalangeal joint) and the first segment of the thumb (distal phalanx) to pick up food. In South Indian culture, the four fingers are used only to pick up or spoon the food. The thumb is the digit used to push the meal into the mouth. It is considered rude if all five digits are used to place food into the mouth.It is considered inappropriate to use your fingers to share food from someone else's plate once you have started using your own. Instead, ask for a clean spoon to transfer the food from the common dish to your plate.It is not necessary to taste each and every dish prepared, but you must finish everything on your plate as it is considered respectful. For that reason, put only as much food on your plate as you can eat.
In Japan never place chopsticks stuck vertically into a bowl of food, as this is the traditional presentation form for an offering to one's ancestors.One should wait for the host or hostess to tell you to eat three times before eating.Accepted practice in helping oneself to a communal dish such as a salad, is to reverse the chopsticks. However this is regarded in an all male, or casual situation, as too formal and additionally, a female habit.Women should cup their other hand beneath their serving when using chopsticks when conveying food from dish/bowl to mouth. Men should not do this.In communal dining or drinking, the youngest person present should pour alcohol for the other members of the party, serving the most senior person first. The server should not pour their own drink, rather they should place the bottle of sake, beer, wine or spirits, back on the table or bar, and wait to be served by a senior. The receiver of the drink should hold up their glass/cup whilst the drink is being poured.One should not gesture using chopsticks.
Never pass food from one pair of chopsticks to another. This technique is used only in Japanese Buddhist funerary rites when transferring cremated bones into an urn.
When pouring wine or beer, the hand holding the bottle should pour forward, not backward (over the back of the hand) which is considered an insult.In traditional restaurants, one needs to sit in seiza, on less formal occasions sitting is also done in tailors style or with 2 legs together on 1 side.There is no tipping in Japanese restaurants.
In Malaysia,as a guest, if you feel that you cannot consume more food, it is courteous to turn it down by eating a small morsel or by graciously declining it altogether.Remember that the right hand is always used for eating the traditional Malay way. Never the left hand because it is considered unclean.Have the oldest person served first (disregard whether it is a male or female).Always cover your mouth when tooth picking.Always turn your head away from the table if you are sneezing or coughing.For functions that require guests to sit down on the floor, men should sit crossed-legged and not stretch them
Pointing your feet at others is impolite , point your feet away from them. Never leave your plate dry after eating.Don't hit or knock on an empty plate as it is considered rude.Do not put back dishes to its original place when you have taken it to your plate. Do not talk when your mouth is full as it is considered rude.
In Europe,remember to always say please and thank you. French bread is always torn off rather than cut. Do not dip it into soup or sauce. Do not place your elbows on the table
Finish everything on your plate before taking more. Do not put ice in your wine. At restaurants, wine should be served at the optimal temperature.In United Kingdom,the fork is held in your left hand and the knife is held in your right when used at the same time.You should hold your knife with the handle in your palm and your fork in the other hand with the tines (prongs) pointing downwards. Food should be cut "one piece at a time" directly prior to eating, and then consumed. You may not "carve up" multiple pieces and then proceed to eat them.If you’re eating a dessert, your fork (if you have one) should be held in the left hand and the spoon in the right.When eating soup, you should hold your spoon in your right hand and tip the bowl away from you, scooping the soup in movements away from yourself. The soup spoon should never be put into the mouth, and soup should be sipped from the side of the spoon, not the end.It is not acceptable to use your fingers to push food onto your fork, nor to handle most food items. Some foods such as fruit, bread, sandwiches or burgers may be eaten using fingers, and fingers are mandatory for eating some items, such as asparagus spears, which are traditionally served with sauce on the side for dipping.If there are a number of knives or forks, start from the outside set working your way in as each course is served.Drinks should always be to the right of the plate with the bread plate to the left.When eating bread rolls, break off a piece before buttering. Use your knife only to butter the bread, not to cut it.Do not start eating before the host does or instructs guests to do so. At meals with a very large number of people, it is acceptable to start eating once others have been served.When finished, place the knife and fork together at six o’clock with your fork on the left (tines facing down) and knife on the right, with the knife blade facing in. This signals that one has finished.The napkin should never be crumpled. Nor should it be folded neatly as that would suggest that your host might plan to use it again without washing it, just leave it neatly but loosely on the table.Never blow your nose on your napkin. Place it on your lap and use it to dab your mouth if you make a mess.
In United States of America,bread or salad plates are to the left of the main plate, beverage glasses are to the right. If small bread knives are present, lay them across the bread plate with the handle pointing to the right.A table cloth extending 10 to 15 inches past the edge of the table should be used for formal dinners, while place mats may be used for breakfast, luncheon, and informal suppers.Modern etiquette provides the smallest numbers and types of utensils necessary for dining. Only utensils which are to be used for the planned meal should be set. Even if needed, hosts should not have more than three utensils on either side of the plate before a meal. If extra utensils are needed, they may be brought to the table along with later courses.If a salad course is served early in the meal, the salad fork should be further from the main course fork, both set on the left. If a soup is served, the spoon is set on the right, further from the plate than the knife. Dessert utensils, a small (such as salad) fork and tea spoon should be placed above the main plate horizontally (bowl of spoon facing left, the fork below with tines facing right), or more formally brought with the dessert. For convenience, restaurants and banquet halls may not adhere to these rules, instead setting a uniform complement of utensils at each seat.If a wine glass and a water glass are set, the wine glass is on the right directly above the knife. The water glass is to the left of the wine glass at a 45 degree angle, closer to the diner.Coffee or tea cups are placed to the right of the table setting, or above the setting to the right if space is limited. The cup's handle should be pointing right.
Candlesticks, even if not lit, should not be on the table while dining during daylight hours.


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