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Old 08-29-2009, 12:53 PM   #1
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Manners -- table and otherwise

I've been really searching for a subject for a column I write for the local weekly, and came up with this subject. But it did make me wonder. My mom and dad made sure we knew where the flatware, glasses, china, etc went. We didn't do it every day, but we all left home knowing how to eat at a fancy-set table. Did any of you learn this at home? I'm beginning to wonder.

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Old 08-29-2009, 05:42 PM   #2
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I learned the basics at home but we never had fancy meals there. The fancy stuff I got through my home economics class in junior high.
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:10 PM   #3
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Learned it all at home and feel very comfortable in almost any dining situation. My Mom was a Girl Guide leader and everyone she taught also knows their manners. "You never know when you might be able to eat with the Queen."
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:54 AM   #4
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In the winter Mom would tell us to keep our church clothes on (meaning dresses in those ancient days of the 60s) and put aprons on us to fix a fancy dinner, set the table with the good china. We had wine or champagne glasses with maybe a drop of wine, maybe just cream soda (makes an excellent appearance of champagne) or kool-aid. Then we'd have a great breakfast (what would be called brunch now) and later a super dinner. Many years later I found myself dining with dignitaries (for lack of a better word) and was grateful for those early lessons. Mom and Dad had to learn it from scratch and made sure their daughters knew what was what before we left home.
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Old 08-30-2009, 06:16 AM   #5
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4H, and at home...
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire View Post
I've been really searching for a subject for a column I write for the local weekly, and came up with this subject. But it did make me wonder. My mom and dad made sure we knew where the flatware, glasses, china, etc went. We didn't do it every day, but we all left home knowing how to eat at a fancy-set table. Did any of you learn this at home? I'm beginning to wonder.
We were taught how to set a table.Good china..? 8 kids?..wasn't too practical
when I was growing up.But we sat down as a family at dinner.Only on special occasions will I set a fancy table.

Another thing comes to mind,alot of kids today are so used to having grease pits on every convenient corner,that knowing how to use utensils is unimportant.
Some don't even sit down at the family table.My kids have friends like that.I have friends like that it's a shame but it's true.

Munky.
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:10 PM   #7
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We were taught table manners and had to use them, but we never set a fancy table at home. I've been to very few dinners where all the extra pieces were included. We always insisted our kids use proper manners at the table as well as elsewhere. I remember once my two younger sisters and I got tickled about something at the dinner table and could not stop laughing. We laughed and stopped and even catching the eye of one another sent us into terrible laughing spells. Mom and Dad made us sit on the back steps til they finished their dinner then made us come back to finish ours. It wasn't so funny anymore.
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Old 08-30-2009, 01:51 PM   #8
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My mother and my aunts taught us all how a proper place setting was to be assembled. Some to the left, some to the right, and some in front of the plate. This included butter knives (not the ones you cut stuff with), seafood forks, coffee spoons etc. That's not to imply that that was the way we ate any more often than two or three times a year, but we learned it. Table manners were a given. No TV, polite conversation (if you can't be civil, go to your room!), and excuse yourself if you wish to leave the table.
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:22 PM   #9
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We always ate together as a family. Formal manners were not part of our training as my parents were immigrants and had no knowledge of them. That's not to say we didn't conduct ourselves properly at the table. I knew the fork goes on the left and the knife on the right, and that the napkin went under the fork.

Now I know there is a lot more to it and use this as my guide:
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:55 PM   #10
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Using the fork and the knife was very important to my Swedish parents so my sisters and I were taught the basics very early in life. For the more fancy setting with many courses, my grandmother was the teacher and I was a teenager.
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Old 08-30-2009, 03:03 PM   #11
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We were taught the basics, that you start with the silverware on the outside and work your way in as the meal progresses among other things. At one point I knew what most of the pieces of silverware were for, but now I would struggle to remember many of them I think.
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Old 08-30-2009, 03:34 PM   #12
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I was taught to eat with my Fork....not my hands!!!
Use the Spoon for soup....don't drink it out of the bowl!!
Your Knife is for cutting the pork chop...don't just pick it up and take a bite!!!
Don't wipe your hands on your blue jeans, nor your mouth on your shirt sleeve....use your napkin!!!
Clean your plate!!! There are children starving all over the world!!!
Oh! If you don't like what you momma cooked...Keep your mouth shut!!!!

The other stuff came later........

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Old 08-31-2009, 02:41 AM   #13
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I suppose it is ironic that husband learned proper table setting from his mother .... because she was a maid! She made sure he knew how the other half lives. I come from a military family, and Mom was apalled that she did not know this stuff, so she made sure we knew what was what rather than be embarassed at some future date. I was glad for the lessons when I found myself dating the youngest West Point graduate and sitting at the head table. It is all good and well to tell your kids to watch and follow (really, it is the best lesson), but there I was with everyone watching and following ME. Thank heaven for those early lessons. Another time a man I worked with (very high-ranking DOD civilian) came to me and asked me to be his "date" for a function. His wife couldn't be there and he just wanted someone who could sit at the head table and he knew I could do it. It is weird sometimes the places life takes you.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:20 AM   #14
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We were taught how to lay the table for various situations, what to use when, etc and we were expected to utilise this knowledge in pretty much every situation. We were taught traditional English settings and courses. This extended to eating vendor foods as well. There was a rule for every eating situation but don't read that as tyrannical, but manners/rules were taught and expected to be followed.

The picture you post Andy, would not have been acceptable in formal situations (as I was taught), as only the glassware was to be above the plates. Different cultures though have differing views on what is preferable.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:08 AM   #15
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We don't have any particular table manners for Indian food. But my mom taught us some table manners for other cuisines. And we follow some manners when we are dining in a restaurant or in a party.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:59 AM   #16
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hmmm, I think you do. It isn't easy to eat from your hand, and right vs left can be an issue. Different manners, perhaps, but still learning something from childhood.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:09 AM   #17
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I'm ok wth anything as long as people don't use their cell phones and lick their plates in front of me.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:43 PM   #18
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As children, we were always told to use our best manners when dining...and if we didn't, believe me, we did the next time.

We were also taught what the different pieces of silverware were used for and how they were to be placed when setting a table.

When Buck and I had children, we had something once a month called "Dinner Sunday," at which I always set a formal table and the children had the opportunity to exercise their knowledge and skills of "the table."

At the time, we lived in the Washington, DC area and occasionally had to attend some formal "affairs." Our daughter dated the son of a diplomat and was exposed to some hoity-toity events. She was always confident and behaved in an exemplary manner. We were/are so proud of her.

You never know when you will have to use some (almost) unnecessary knowledge. Kind of sad in today's fast food society.
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:20 AM   #19
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By-the-way, I came from a relatively large family myself. The reason we had good china was because Daddy, an Air Force sergeant, got stationed in Germany, and Mom went to the factories and bought seconds! She did the same with crystal. So dress up Sundays came into being. And yes, many of them were, Katie E, in DC! Are we related?
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:59 PM   #20
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Like most of you have posted, we were taught table manners as children, and over the years, I've been mighty glad.

But the original post was titled Manners - Table and Otherwise. Is it just my age showing, or do folks no longer teach manners to children? I'm talking about common courtesy: please and thank you; not interrupting; yes maam & no sir, staying in your seat at the table or in a restaurant; not yelling or screeching in public places; etc. These are all things that are summed up simply as respect or courtesy.

These manners are as necessary for fitting in to business and professional situations later in life as table manners are, but sadly, too many parents seem to think their little darlings don't need to be trained.
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