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Dining etiquette with a cordial makeover

india Updated: Sep 11, 2011 00:52 IST

Dining rules aren’t strict anymore. Flexibility is the new rule as you wouldn’t want someone sitting at your table feeling uncomfortable and unsure about which fork to use or which glass to drink from. Here are some tips to create a cordial dining environment:

1 Don’t over crowd the table. Always use a tablecloth that hangs three quarters over the table, and preferably use white linen. Avoid candles and flowers in the eyeline of the guest.

2 The cutlery should be set from outside to inside. Keep the entree cutlery on the outside and the main meal cutlery on the inside. Dessert cutlery accompanies the dessert, but if you want to set it up before the meal, dessertspoons are placed at the top of the plate with the handle facing to the right and dessert forks are placed at the top with the handle facing to the left.

3 Set napkins and bread roll plates on the left. Napkins should never be tucked into your collar or belt, they should be set on the lap and when you leave the table they should be scrunched up and placed on the left of the plate. With bread rolls, never saw through them with a knife.

4 Place wine glasses on the right hand side above the plate. Red wine is served in a wider glass than white. Also, rule is not to let a guest’s glass become empty. But as a host, you must be aware of drunk-driving laws and be responsible.

5 Serve pre-dinner drink away from the table. As a guest, do not bring your unfinished drink to the dinner table, no matter how fashionably late you arrive.

By Jattinn Kochhar, fashion designer

The New rules
Q. Does the “ladies first” rule still apply?
A. According to Emily post, in most circumstances, the couple walks side by side. When it’s necessary to walk single file, the woman precedes the man.
Q. Should a man open a car door for a woman?
A. Yes, unless the women doesn’t want to wait.
Q. Are men still expected to give up their seats for women on trains and buses?
A. Man is not expected to give up his seat unless a woman is elderly, obviously infirm,
pregnant, burdened with a baby or an armful of any sort.