Most people associate etiquette with looking a certain way; however, the true purpose of etiquette is about kindness, respect, and consideration for those around us, including at the dinner table. So today, we are sharing three common dining mistakes to avoid when dining out [or at home] and tips on correcting those mistakes if you are currently doing them.
This is the first article in a series of etiquette articles for common dining mistakes [or dining out in general]. We often get questions in our DM about how to tip, order wine correctly, et cetera, and we decided that it would be lovely to create a series for you, Darlings.
You can just read on for three of the most common dining mistakes to avoid.
Chewing with your mouth open.
The number one common dining mistake is chewing with your mouth open. People often believe they shut their mouths while chewing but do not honestly do it. Unfortunately, 90% of the people at restaurants do this—they put the food in their mouths and chew maybe three or four times with their mouths closed, then open their mouths, make a little gasping [popping] sound, and repeat the cycle. That is not chewing with your mouth shut.
It is common for people to breathe through their mouths. So what is happening is after every few chews, you stop to breathe, and that gasping [popping] sound happens. This is a very annoying experience—one, that noise is bothersome at the dinner table, and two, when you open your mouth to breathe, people can see right into your mouth, which is not a pretty sight.
Next time you are at dinner, pay attention—it is like a chorus of people doing it, and most do not know they are doing it. So be conscious the next time you are at the dinner table. And here is how to be mindful that you are not doing it yourself next time at dinner. The moment you put food into your mouth, Imagine you have a zipper across your lips; that zipper stays there until that food is chewed and swallowed, and nothing is left in your mouth.
- Cut smaller pieces, you would think, before placing them in your mouth.
- Practice at home chewing your food with your mouth closed all the way.
Cutting up all of the food on your plate all at once.
Faux pas number two is simultaneously cutting up all the food on your plate. I see many people cutting up their steak, pork chop, or chicken breast all at once because it is convenient–this is fine for small children, but as adults, we do not need to cut up all of our food at once. It makes a big mess on your plate—everything mixes. And while dining out [or in], you want to create a nice and clean environment in front of you on your plate, so avoid doing that.
In America, you can cut up four pieces at once, rest your knife, continue eating with your fork, and then go for another four pieces until you are done eating. However, where I am from, and believe they do the same in European countries, we only cut one small piece at a time.
Holding your silverware incorrectly.
And the final mistake is holding your silverware incorrectly. Whether you are left or right-handed—the general rule is that the fork goes in your left hand while using the knife in your right hand. However, a lot of times, I see that reversed. So you want to ensure the fork is in your left hand and the knife is in the right. And please stop using your fork or spoon like a shovel or stabbing your food.
The tines of the fork should face down when cutting or picking up food from your plate. You can place your knife blade against your food before pushing it down to cut it. Once cut into a small piece or four, use the tines of your fork to pick up each piece of food [as opposed to scooping it onto the spoon].
If you need to for bone-in meats, hold down chunks of meat with your left hand while cutting off a piece with the back edge of your knife; then switch hands when needed for accuracy or ease of cutting.
These mistakes may seem small and insignificant; however, they are essential to fix because you show respect to those you are dining with when using your best behaviors at the dinner table. It does matter how casual or formal a meal these are everyday tips that you should always follow when in the presence of somebody else.
Please comment below and share any dining mistakes you have seen.