1. Penny Jean

    Hi. I am getting mixed etiquette rules from different ‘experts.’ Could u clarify for me?

    1. If u put down your eating utensils to talk, is it ok to put your elbows on the table while talking?

    2. Is it ok to use my bread to ‘sop’ up the rest of the sauce on my plate from my meal?

    3. If u have your napkin lying across your dinner plate and your salad plate beside your forks, when do u move the salad plate onto the dinner plate?

    4. Is soup served from the right and removed from the left?

    5. If eating with good friends or close family members, it is ok to quickly apply a little lipstick?

    6. If a serving dish is heavy, where would u set it to serve yourself?

    7. When passing dishes with handles and the handle was pointed toward u, how do u manage to get it turned to have the handle point toward the next person?

    8. Is it proper to place pickles, olives, etc. on my bread plate?

    Penny Stewart
    A Charming Etiquette Experience
    A Charming Tea Room

    “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.” – Emily Post

    • Graceandhonor

      1. Yes
      2. No
      3. Your napkin should be placed in your lap upon sitting. In cases where the salad is placed before guests are seated, it should be placed upon the place plate and the napkin should be placed to the left of the plate. If the salad is served on its own plate at the same time as the entree, eat the salad from its position to the left of the dinner plate. If the salad is served alone, the host or waiter should set it atop a place plate or “charger” but you should not move it from wherever it has been placed.
      4. Food is served from the left and removed from the right. Beverages are served from the right.
      5. If the meal or the restaurant is formal, best to visit the powder room to apply lipstick..otherwise, a quick touchup is ok.
      6. Set a heavy serving dish on either side, (generally the left) of your plate as best you can, taking into account which direction things are being passed.
      7. Do the best you can in turning the dish handle toward the recipient.
      8. Where you place items from a relish tray depends on when you choose them. Generally, you place them on your salad plate or dinner plate, but if for some reason neither is available, use your bread plate.

  2. Valerie

    I hate to be pessimistic and I really hate disagreeing with the EPI staff, but my mother did the same thing usually by asking, “What are you burning now?” Unfortunately taking the high road didn’t work with her and more than likely it won’t work with this person’s mother. I have found that the best way to avoid the insults was to just avoid cooking for her. Period. It took several years but when she finally noticed and asked why, I simply told her the truth. I told her that since she never had anything good to say about my cooking, she obviously didn’t enjoy it and I saw no reason to cause her any more discomfort by making her eat any of it. She got the point and hasn’t insulted me since.

    • Sara Z

      I agree with you, Valerie, because it has been my experience that some people enjoy insulting others. I think, though, that she should take the high road first, and if that does not work, she should take your road of not cooking for her mother. There is no reason to continue to cook if someone is not enjoying. I must admit had I been in your position, I probably would have said right then and there that I would no longer cook for my mother if she did not enjoy my cooking. Better to get it out than to let it stew.

  3. Renee B.

    Oh, this world would be a lot easier if the people around us cared as much about behaving well and making their friends and family feel comfortable as we do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. I typically don’t tell people when they’ve said something offensive or rude, and rather shy away from the related topic. But if it’s a recurring thing, and it sounds like your mother’s criticism is recurring, I might find a way to tell her that it is hurtful to you when she says things like that. Let her know that you appreciate any motherly advice she has to give, and that you respect her opinions, but that you wish she would ease up a bit about your cooking. (Perhaps if you use “I” and “me” statements like: “I feel hurt when you criticize my cooking” it won’t sound quite as harsh to her?)

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