Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dinner Manners

Soon, if you're lucky, you will be invited to someone else's home for Thanksgiving dinner. If not, you most likely will be invited to dinner at some point this holiday season. Here is a refresher course in manners so you can keep up that "I'm a good guest and should be invited back!" persona.
1. Respond to a dinner party invitation within a week of receiving it.
2. Always arrive on time. The old saying "being fashionably late" does not apply for a dinner party. You could keep food waiting just long enough to spoil the outcome.
3. Take a hostess gift-that has become a must in today's world. It can be a bottle of wine, a nice guest towel, a plant or something small. It does not have to break the bank, just enough to show you appreciate the efforts of the host/hostess.
4. Never, never, never, eat before the hostess sits down and picks up her fork. That goes for the dessert course too. It's the law!
5. Don't talk with your mouth full. Do not cover your mouth when you have food in it and talk, thinking people won't notice you are still being a buffoon. They'll notice.
6. Try a little bit of everything on your plate. The hostess has worked very hard to make these recipes, try them. It takes 15 times of trying a different food before you become accustomed to the flavor. You may not love the new food and that is okay, just try it.
7. Cell phones ringing and text messaging do not belong at a dinner party. Turn the phone off.
8. Offer some conversation. Try to participate, but not overwhelm the topic. Grandma used to say, "Avoid religion or politics." If you join in these topics, be prepared for other people's beliefs and be respectful of them.
9. Drink alcohol in moderation. Do not become the moron of the party by getting drunk.
10. Elbows off the table. Napkin on your lap. Use your napkin to dab the corners of your mouth, not to wash your hands or blow your nose. (Yes, I have seen both.)
11. Ask to help with the dishes. Some hostesses will refuse and if that's the case, okay. But you should ask.
12. Go home at a reasonable hour. Keep in mind the host/hostess has worked for maybe days, cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, decorating, etc. They will be tired. Keep this in mind when you are wondering, should I go now or later? Go now.
13. Thank the hostess when you leave and follow up the next day with a written thank you note.

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