I like to define class as an equal mix of Manners and Etiquette.
Manners – Being considerate and respectful of others.
Etiquette – Set rules or guidelines for behavior in specific situations. (Use of dinner utensils, gift giving, social decorum)
Here are some basic tips for both!
Three Guidelines for Great Manners
Treat Everyone With Respect – Don’t save your manners for those you are trying to impress or for those you are grooming to help you in the future.
Use Tact – It’s always wise to be honest but don’t use honesty as an excuse to say something hurtful.
Be Considerate – Be on time, show people you value and appreciate them, say “please” and “thank you”, be considerate of other’s comfort.
Basic Table Etiquette
Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down.
If you’re at a formal dinner, wait until your host does so first.
Don’t begin eating until everyone else has been served.
Exceptions: Picnics or buffets or if your host insists that you begin.
Chew with your mouth closed and no talking with your mouth open.
(This should go without saying but I see this all the time from adults!)
No double dipping – After food has touched your mouth, never reinsert it into shared sauce or dip.
Cut one piece of food at a time, you are not 5 years old.
Salt & Pepper – Always pass both salt and pepper together, even when only one is asked for.
Elbows off the table when food is on your plate.
You may place elbows on the table between courses, before dinner is served or after the plates have been cleared away.
Place your napkin on your chair when you excuse yourself from the table.
Place it on the table when you are finished with your meal.
Taste your food before you add salt or pepper.
Don’t blow on your food.
Sit up straight.
Cutting your food – Hold your fork in your left hand, tines pointed down with the handle in the palm of your hand and your index finger extended and resting along the neck.
Switch your fork back to your right hand to eat.
Once you use your knife, it shouldn’t rest on the table. Place it on the edge of your plate at 10 and 2 o’clock.
Don’t bring a whole dinner roll or slice of bread up to your mouth.
Tear off smaller bite size pieces with your fingers one at a time, butter it and repeat the process.
Spoon soup away from you then bring it to your mouth.
Take soup from the side of the spoon, do not insert the whole spoon into your mouth.
Lay both your fork and knife across the center of your plate to signal you are finished.