If you think people don't care about etiquette at the table as much as they used to, think again. One soup slurp or tooth pick is all it takes to turn some people off. So to stay on your toes, here is a quick-and necessary-table manners refresher course from Louise Fox of the Etiquette Ladies, Canada's Etiquette Experts:
- If you are the recipient of a toast, keep your glass at arm's length-never drink from it. Instead, simply nod your head and graciously say, "Thank you."
- Never take your cocktail to the dinner table.
- Allow your food to cool on its own-never blow on anything.
- If you wear lipstick, keep it off your plate and napkin by blotting it as soon as you apply it.
- Your napkin is there for you to dab your mouth only. Do not use it to wipe off lipstick or (God forbid) blow your nose.
- Keep your elbows off the table at all times.
- Don't put your purse, keys, sunglasses, or eyeglasses on the table.
- Take food out of your mouth the way it went in. If a piece of steak fat went into your mouth with a fork, spit it out onto the fork.
- Remove an olive pit with your thumb and index finger.
- Taste everything on your plate before you add salt or pepper.
- Leave your plate where it is when you are finished with your meal-don't push it away from you.
You'll find even more good-behavior tips at www.etiquetteladies.com.
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