Thursday, April 3, 2008

Retro Manners Refresher

(The First) Thirteen Comments On Social Awareness Tips
"From Refresh Your Table Manners", by Luella Cuming, 1964 Family Circle.

1-5 Rules for informal meals:
At an informal seated meal the hostess may pass dishes from a serving cart at her immediate left; she then serves herself last.
Jeeze, I'd hate to see the formal rules. What direction does the hostess pass? Does it suck to be left-handed then, and if so, does it suck more than serving yourself last when you know there's not going to be enough because the husband brought home 3 extra buddies?
The cart holds a water pitcher, extra silver, glasses, napkins, and any other items that may be needed during the meal. If an item is dropped by a guest, the hostess replaces it from the cart without comment.
Without comment you say... That would kill quite a bit of dinner conversation, wouldn't it? And in my family, we'd drop 'em on purpose, just to force a comment.
If you drop your fork and the hostess doesn't notice, you may use any other fork that is there -- or, without explanation, say to your hostess, "May I please have a fork?"
I agree; if the hostess doesn't notice you (how rude!), by all means, grab the meat serving fork and start shoveling.

Ever notice how the lowly spoon and knife are left out of the discussion? I'd say 67% of all utensils dropped at the table are knives.

Or maybe it's some sort of passive-aggressive thing in my family and the knives aren't really 'dropped' at all...

Movin' on...

6 Passing Food
When you help yourself to food or pass it, hold the dish from underneath so that you do not leave fingerprints on the rim.
(Will keep this PG-13. Will keep this PG-13...)

7 Hey, look, the etiquette lady apparently doesn't believe in grammar; there is no period or other punctuation at the end of most of these tips.

8-10 Yeah, Luella is only on tip number 3, but then I told you that this was 13 comments on the tips; so I'm way ahead of her.

In buffet dining, the hostess stands beside the table and encourages shy guests or offers to serve them.
You have guests too shy to eat? Isn't this one of those survival of the fittest things where we should just let nature take its course?

And what side does the hostess stand on?
Do not overload your plate; it looks unattractive and is hard to manage.
Was this 1964 B.C. -- Before Chinet?

This, though, would explain the shy people who wonder how much food on a plate is unattractive.

11-13 And now for your holy crap moment...
In table manners there are many accepted forms, all equally correct. For example, the continental fashion of eating
The continental fashion of eating? That's how people eat breakfast at hotels, right?
and the zigzag style are equally proper.
Um... Time for a little help here.

OK, I do not zigzag; I am officially a continental styled gal.
If you have your own tradition, try to develop its fine points. The suggestions here are in a widely accepted American tradition
What? No mention of how piggy eats?! Well, I guess that American tradition -- or at least its finer points -- really didn't come into full acceptance until Ralphie's brother Randy showed us in a Christmas Story in 1983.

To be continued...

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Blogger Adelle said...

Wow! Who knew. I'd be so worried I did something wrong, I wouldn't be able to enjoy my meal lol
Happy T13!

April 3, 2008 7:01 AM  
OpenID marnini said...

Would I want to go to one of those dinner parties? I just don't know if it would be my cup of tea :)

April 3, 2008 8:48 AM  
OpenID marnini said...

Would I want to go to one of those dinner parties? I just don't know if it would be my cup of tea :)

April 3, 2008 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Kat's Krackerbox said...

I think I'm going to stay away from those kinds of dinner parties. :-) Happy TT

April 3, 2008 9:41 AM  
Blogger Firefly mom said...

OMG, this is so funny! Does anybody have dinner parties like this anymore? Nobody I know!

I'm definitely a zig-zag gal ;)

April 3, 2008 12:00 PM  
Anonymous I Must confess said...

Ugh, all that trouble for just eating. I wonder what is the caveman way of it really like they show on movies?

April 3, 2008 12:25 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I remember some of those from reading Miss Manners as a child (I was desperate for reading materials!)...but employing them at any meals in my house would be laughable!!!

Happy T-13!

April 3, 2008 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas said...

I think the continental fashion is using knife and fork together, rather than cutting food and changing hands. I have no idea what the zig zag method is. The mind boggles!

April 3, 2008 8:44 PM  
Blogger pussreboots said...

That's a doozy of a list. Happy belated TT.

April 4, 2008 1:36 PM  
Blogger Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Whoops. A few days late, but intrigued just the same. Zig Zag? I've got to look into that more...

April 5, 2008 11:17 AM  

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