Good Manners For All Occasions
by Margaret E. Sangster,
by Margaret E. Sangster,
was published in 1910.
Here is an excerpt from the book about Table Etiquette:
|Mrs. Sangster At Home|
"Set yourself in an upright position — not too close to nor yet too far from the table. Take your napkin, partially unfold it, and lay it across your lap. It is not the correct thing to fasten it to your buttonhole or spread it over your breast. Do not trifle with your knife or fork, or drum on the table, or fidget in any way, while waiting to be served. Keep your hands quietly in your lap, your mind composed and pleasantly fixed upon the conversation. Let all your movements be easy and deliberate. Undue haste indicates a nervous lack of ease. Should grace be said, you will give the most reverent attention in respectful silence during the ceremony. Exhibit no impatience to be served. During the intervals between the courses is your opportunity for displaying your conversational abilities to those sitting near you. Pleasant chat and witty remarks compose the best possible sauce to a good dinner. Eat slowly ; it will contribute to your good health as well as your good manners. Thorough mastication of your food is necessary to digestion. An ordinary meal should occupy from thirty minutes to an hour.
You may not desire the soup, which is usually the first course, but you should not refuse to take it. You can eat as much or as little as you please, but you would look awkward sitting
with nothing before you while the others are eating. When eating soup take it from the side of the spoon, and avoid making any noise in so doing. Should you be asked by the host what part of the fowl you prefer, always have a choice, and mention promptly which you prefer. Nothing is more annoying than to have to serve two or three people who have no preferences and will take "anything." Never place waste matter on the tablecloth. The side of your plate, or perhaps your bread and butter plate, will answer as a receptacle for bones, potato skins, etc. You will use your fork to convey all your food to your mouth, except it may be certain sauces that would be more conveniently eaten with a spoon. For instance, you should not attempt to eat peas with anything except a silver fork.
If there is none, use a spoon. The knife is used only for cutting meat and other articles of food, for spreading butter on bread, etc.
Here is a summary of blunders to avoid : Do not eat fast. Do not make noise with mouth or throat. Do not fill the mouth too full. Do not open the mouth in masticating. Do not leave the table with food in your mouth. Be careful to avoid soiling the cloth. Never carry any part of the food with you from the table. Never apologize to a waitress for making trouble; it is her business to serve you. It is proper, however, to treat her with courtesy, and say, "No, I thank you," or "If you please," in answer to her inquiries. Do not introduce disgusting or unpleasant topics of conversation. Do not pick your teeth or put your finger in your mouth at the table. Do not come to table in your shirt sleeves, or with soiled hands or tousled hair. Do not cut your bread ; break it. Do not refuse to take the last piece of bread or cake ; it looks as though you imagined there might be no more. Do not express a preference for any part of a dish unless asked to do so."
Do we lack table manners nowadays?
Is any of this still taught?
Should it be?
What do you think?