Table manners

wrathfuldeity

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Having been brought up in the church...a PK. Taught about waiting for prayer, offering prayer/toast/greeting/noting appreciation for the food/host etc. Appropriate meal conversations, involving others, not dominating, asking questions and to merely be seen and not heard unless spoken to (as a kid)...etc. About noticing, passing and servicing food. The proper linage of respect...elders, pregnant women, mothers, kids. Being able to observe and adapt to the proper decorum of the meal/event. My paternal grandfather who was the ministerial patriarch most always wore a 3 piece suit to dinner and grandmother was a Dallas/SMU socialite.

Table manners are a subset of the larger social decorum. As a teenager, I thought all of this was just silly. However in my career, social relationships and marriage the knowledge and skills of table manners has served me well...I married the damm admiral's daughter...OMG full table service for a piece of toast and a cup of coffee...but she has relaxed those expectations over the 35 years. But at Thanksgiving...its all out.
 

unixfish

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I had Thanksgiving with the family of a girl I was dating years ago. The mother was very particular about table manners, what fork to use, elbows, how you sat, etc. I can deal with this.

However, as soon many of them finished eating, they would light up a cigarette and smoke at the table while others were still eating. I found this very rude and inconsiderate, especially given how fixated they were about "manners".
 

johnny k

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I had Thanksgiving with the family of a girl I was dating years ago. The mother was very particular about table manners, what fork to use, elbows, how you sat, etc. I can deal with this.

However, as soon many of them finished eating, they would light up a cigarette and smoke at the table while others were still eating. I found this very rude and inconsiderate, especially given how fixated they were about "manners".
Cigarettes ? come on ! proper table manners require a cigar !
 

trapdoor2

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Navy brat. We were indoctrinated in the whole schmear. You moved to the adult table as soon as you passed inspection, including table setting, tool usage and verbal queries (please pass the xxxx).

I was a bit schocked at my first Thanksgiving with Miz Diane's parents. Nobody could cut with a knife properly so they simply worried meat apart with a fork. They started eating the instant they sat down...without waiting for mom to finish putting all the food out. Elbows everywhere.

There was always a kids table, we didn't graduate to the adult table for 20 yrs...I was 50, the "adults" were dying off.

My mother attended occasionally and they treated her like a dowager Queen. The regulars would remember their manners. "Your mother is sooo elegant!" My mom thought it was hysterical...but she was raised to dress to the nines, etc.
 

Mechanic

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I’d agree with most of the above with one exception, hats. I’m still sporting my pandemic hair cut or the lack there of. My fashion of controlling my hair is a flat cap. Outside the bill is at the front to somewhat protect the eyes. Inside I go to backwards mode, bill down and exposed hair line to control the hair. I’m not follicle challenged nor do I need to die it. My kids tease me over this as both sons in law shave theirs. This was acceptable at my 50th high school reunion and a uptight steakhouse on the Vegas Strip.
I know which tools to use and can converse with the best of them. Etiquette is still important in our society and still just good manners.
 

P Thought

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TD, you're quoting me and I'm quoting you back. Thanks for a good laugh. My wife and I have business manners. But I love to gnaw meat off the bone, especially ribs, be they barbeque or steak. Steak in the corporate world is more likely to be filet or boneless NY strip. Capital Grille puts me in a quandary. I'd never gnaw the bone with colleagues. But if it's only my wife and me, I'll look at her and reach for the bone and pick it up or leave it depending on whether she smiles or gives me the stink eye. Snobbery aside, we're all human. Judge not lest ye be judged. Except in the business world and academia where passing judgement on others is a way of life. One good thing about retirement is that I don't care as much about the unimportant things.

My mom taught us that it's "finger food" only if the host says it is, not if s/he doesn't, and we weren't to ask. At home our manners were looser, but we knew not to chew with our mouths open, slurp drinks, or throw food.

(Edit: she taught us other Emily Post items of etiquette, too, the elbows one for example, as best she understood them.)

@Toto'sDad, the first time I heard that mashed potatoes gag I 'bout kicked the slats out my cradle!
 
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Greggorios

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I'm glad my mother insisted upon "learning good manners" for many of the reasons stated above. (I freely admit to falling short regularly and like most, never gave much credence to the elbow thing.) I've always been glad to have the ability to comfortably move around within different groups of people without regard to social and economic standing.

I don't want to overthink the thing but the place and practice of "ritual" in societies is a very interesting subject on a bunch of different levels. A holiday meal or even a family dinner can be a ritual of sorts. All the manners, dress-up and other "rules" can be seen as a way of honoring that ritual and the others participating in it. The origins of all this stuff, it seems to me, came from symbolically adding a "specialness" to the occasion. Celebrating being grateful for the good stuff in one's life seems worthy of being different from any other day. Even a daily family dinner can been seen as a break from the daily grind where we are in "fellowship" with our family and friends. The phrase, "breaking bread together" isn't simply about sharing a meal.

Like them or not, rituals change and evolve over time as it probably should be but I don't believe there's anything arbitrary about them.
 

telemnemonics

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Navy brat. We were indoctrinated in the whole schmear. You moved to the adult table as soon as you passed inspection, including table setting, tool usage and verbal queries (please pass the xxxx).

I was a bit schocked at my first Thanksgiving with Miz Diane's parents. Nobody could cut with a knife properly so they simply worried meat apart with a fork. They started eating the instant they sat down...without waiting for mom to finish putting all the food out. Elbows everywhere.

There was always a kids table, we didn't graduate to the adult table for 20 yrs...I was 50, the "adults" were dying off.

My mother attended occasionally and they treated her like a dowager Queen. The regulars would remember their manners. "Your mother is sooo elegant!" My mom thought it was hysterical...but she was raised to dress to the nines, etc.

Family we marry into, yeah, mmmm hmmm...

For some years it was a huuuge Greek family, so holiday dinners were 20-30 and a mix of formal dining descending into MMA fights toward the end.
My wife's family indoctrinated me with their best china and such, pretty formal and very polite.
But when they raised my wife with her two brothers, they were totally overwhelmed by their own childhood traumas and the 1970s child raising theories.
So when they were 4-7 years old or so, all three kids STOOD ON THEIR CHAIRS AT THE DINNER TABLE, to show those parents who was boss. I've seen pictures and can confirm that it's true.
Mostly it was my wife dominating the the family back then, because her Mom was raised (and damaged) by a very sick minister, and her Dad was afraid to make waves in his marriage.
But they did have old fashioned table manners!
I like, prefer, and even need a woman to be up for my extreme views, able to speak for herself etc.
Too often, manners have taught girls to be subservient and docile.
I just can't handle that kind of woman, so I went with as far from that model as I could find. And of course also love.
She's still subject to our messed up society, and almost always wears a dress or skirt and much nicer clothes than I wear when we leave the house.
I find we are both very careful to tailor our behavior to the room.
She can curse like a sailor and drink most Irishmen into comas, or be painfully polite and well mannered.
My dynamic range is wide but not THAT wide.
But, when was the last time I faced dessert fork, salad fork and dinner fork?
Some things you just never forget!
 
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getbent

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I hold the knife in my right hand. Is it right ?

I saw a kid sneeze in his hand, look at the phlegm in his hand, and eat it. I don't like people speaking with their mouth full due to projections. Otherwise, hats, elbows on the table, it is all good.

Is it more polite to lick your plate clean if you are invited ? or leave a little bit of food in it ?
I don't know.

was the 'kid' named Johnny?
 

Obsessed

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My theory is that table manners went out the window at the advent of televised football. It has been downhill ever since. I’m very grateful that I was raised with very proper table manners. Everyone appreciates people with good table manners. Of course, the generation trickle down effect is now to the point that most people don’t even know what table manners are even about. They might not even know about dinner at the table any longer.

Excuse me, no napkin rings?

Yes, the reasons for living remotely high up here on this mountain are quite extensive.

Eating at a table down there in the concrete jungle could well become hazardous to your health. Just sayin’
 

johnny k

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a salty, chewy delight!

what is the the right cheese to pair with it?
That is a good question. I would personnaly go with cancoillote, the garlic kind. But whatever cheeses which do not come out of a tube should be good.
 

Chiogtr4x

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Growing up in the 1960's my dad ( kind of strict Italian, US Gov't. lifer...) for dinner, would sit at the head of the table with all the food, and all of our plates.

He would serve the food on each plate,
" Joseph, you must eat everything if you want to have dessert!, So eat all of your vegetables, and don't fool around!"

-and we'd pass plates down the line...

No elbows on the table, table cloth and cloth napkins, and we each had ( our own) brass napkin rings!

I, as the baby of the family, would be the wise-***, make fun of him, make faces, imitate his voice, and this routine, to make my sisters.laugh.
 

wrathfuldeity

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My theory is that table manners went out the window at the advent of televised football. It has been downhill ever since. I’m very grateful that I was raised with very proper table manners. Everyone appreciates people with good table manners. Of course, the generation trickle down effect is now to the point that most people don’t even know what table manners are even about. They might not even know about dinner at the table any longer.

Excuse me, no napkin rings?

Yes, the reasons for living remotely high up here on this mountain are quite extensive.

Eating at a table down there in the concrete jungle could well become hazardous to your health. Just sayin’

When raising our 2 boys and a girl, we had an open dinner policy and they often would bring home all kinds of friends for dinner. However, they told their friends it was a sit down family affair. There were a few, who thought it was cool/fun and because they rarely ever sat down for a family meal where there was laughing, talking, teasing etc. When the youngest started dating...she told the potential bf's. "My parents will not let me go on a date with you, until you come for dinner at least once and pass the test." "...btw the son, you want to see my gun collection?" LOL. That prevented a lot of issues...;)
 

getbent

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When raising our 2 boys and a girl, we had an open dinner policy and they often would bring home all kinds of friends for dinner. However, they told their friends it was a sit down family affair. There were a few, who thought it was cool/fun and because they rarely ever sat down for a family meal where there was laughing, talking, teasing etc. When the youngest started dating...she told the potential bf's. "My parents will not let me go on a date with you, until you come for dinner at least once and pass the test." "...btw the son, you want to see my gun collection?" LOL. That prevented a lot of issues...;)

So, you took your shirt off?
 




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