We must be crazy if we think eating a meal is complicated. It is, after all, just a case of Dig In And Eat and everybody knows that.
Hold on though because things are far from so simple. There are matters of etiquette involved.
Read on for some examples
This is the typical form when it means dragging Dad and the kids away from whatever they are doing on the computer to eat. Then watch them wolf carefully prepared food down in a matter of minutes so that they can get back. They may have missed an important comment in their favourite social media channel that they absolutely have to respond to right now.
Now, etiquette should still apply in this situation but that is something for another article so moving on.
More formalised dining is when eating a meal is complicated. There are so many rules to follow in order to make the correct impression on the company that you are with. The sale you are chasing or your next promotion may fall because of what you do at the meal table.
Shall we start with just a few of those rules:
Some Dining Rules
Who should sit down first?
It should be your host rather than you so be patient with them.
What do I do with my napkin?
As soon as everyone is seated, unfold your napkin and place it across your lap, folded, with the fold toward you.
How are things like the bread basket, butter and salad dressings passed?
the person closest takes the service plate/basket, offers it to the person on his left, helps himself, and passes to the person on his right
How should soup be consumed?
Dip your spoon away from yourself into the soup bowl to fill your spoon with soup. Then place the edge of the spoon on your lower lip to carefully transfer the soup from spoon to mouth.
The etiquette of dining is much more complicated than just those four that I picked out.
Virginia Tech have a good listing of all you will need to know. Their Dining Etiquette Q & A goes into a lot of detail on the subject. The quotes above come from that document.
The document does talk about things in the context of job interviews but the basic things apply widely.
Breaking the Rules
Most rules are made to be broken and these are no exception. Perhaps they no longer apply in the modern age.
Yet they do set out some standards for how to behave at the meal table. Perhaps some are incorrect so feel free to comment with your views.