Food always has been and more than likely always will be an integral part of human social interaction. Throughout history, people have gathered together to share food and drink. People like to converse and be social while eating and they want to have a good time. They may gather around the table for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or at other various times. Whatever the case may be, whenever people are available and want to catch up and socialize, they often turn to food. Whenever someone meets an old friend or visits their family, they will often sit down to a nice meal or go out for lunch to discuss what is new in each person’s life.
Meals are a time when everyone sits down to a nice meal. In order to enjoy your meal and insure that it is also enjoyable for the people you are with, there are a few basic rules of etiquette to follow. After all, no one like to see people frantically shoving food in their mouths and mumbling incomprehensible words past their half chewed food, spewing bits of it as they speak. That is just plain gross and the person you are with will surely not enjoy their meal. The basic rules of etiquette in this article can and should be used for all meals. Of course, some meals are less formal than others and you can judge for yourself how formal to be.
The most basic rule of dining etiquette is to relax and slow down. Assuming you are not in a hurry, you should not rush when you are eating. When you rush, you are unable to properly communicate with your friend or family member and you will not properly chew your food. You may end up chewing with your mouth open, speaking with food in your mouth, or even choke on not properly chewed food. These are all things to avoid if you wish to be polite and follow proper dining etiquette. So please, slow down and take your time when eating. Relaxing and eating slowly makes it easier to follow the rules and guidelines of dining etiquette. You do not need to eat like a sloth, just avoid fidgeting and scarfing down food.
The next couple of rules for dining etiquette all go hand in hand. Chew your food completely before swallowing, chew with your mouth closed, and do not speak with food in your mouth. These three rules all coincide and are all very important. If you attempt to speak with food in your mouth, your words will be hard to understand. Also, the person you are with may see the food still in your mouth which can be rather gross and is why you should also make sure you always chew with your mouth closed. Chewing your food completely is always a good idea for proper digestion and for being polite.
Here are a few basic guidelines involving the napkin at the table. When you sit down, you should place the napkin in your lap. This is an easy thing to do and will prevent food from dropping on your lap and ruining your pants. Also, when you use your napkin to wipe food off your lips, do so with small dabbing motions, not a wide sweep. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you are done with your meal; do not fold your napkin. Folded napkins are generally clean, so keeping your napkin unfolded allows whoever is cleaning up to know that the napkin is dirty.
The rules I have just covered are the most basic rules of dining etiquette and should always be followed. Etiquette is really all about being polite, so as long as you keep that in mind you should be ok. Of course there are many more rules for dining etiquette, but if you stick to the basics and are not going out to any extremely fancy dinners you will be able to stay polite and not offend anyone.