This Beliefnet blogger was flicking through the television channels the other night – all 1,000 of them – when she came across Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in the movie Pretty Woman.
Date Night with Richard Gere … by Janice Taylor
It was the scene in which Julia and Richard (what were their movie names?) were dining at a very fancy restaurant with the shipping magnate (played by Ralph Bellamy) and his son. Julia had no idea which fork to use, how to butter her bread, which glass was hers, much less the proper way to eat escargots. She could get away with it – after all, she’s Julia Roberts.
But it got me to wondering … how might I fare in a similar situation? I mean – if I were out to dinner with Richard Gere and I sent my snail flying across the restaurant, would he still love me?
Just in case you find yourself out to dinner with a movie star, Our Lady wanted me to pass the following etiquette tips on to you.
Our Lady of Weight Loss, The Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal
1. Sit Down. Not so fast … after your host/hostess sits. Follow her lead.
2. The Napkin. Now that you are seated, you should – within seconds – open the napkin and place it on your lap. Do not tuck it into your shirt, or if you’ve got a tie on, do not take your tie and throw it over your shoulder. (Did I really have to tell you that?) Do not try to snap it open, either. Never leave your napkin on the table. If you need to leave the table, fold your napkin and place it on your seat.
3. The Holy Bread Basket. Take a knife and cut a piece from the loaf. Take some butter and put it on your plate, not on the bread. Tear a bite-size piece of bread from the bread that you just cut and put on your plate. Butter it from your newly formed butter pile. Eat it. Repeat if you like. One piece at a time.
4. The Utensils. Use them from the outside in. Each utensil corresponds with a course, so if you skip the first course, skip the first utensil. Never ever let a used utensil hit the table.
5. The Water Glass. It’s always to your right. The dinner roll is to your left. (Hint: They’re in alphabetical order. Roll / Water. Get it?)
6. The Soup. Do not put the entire spoon in your mouth. Load it – rather, fill your spoon about 75% with soup, bring it to your mouth, and sip it from the side.
7. The Meat (chicken or fish). Start from one end or the other, never in the middle, and cut one piece at a time. Have you ever seen anyone cut all their meat, potato and vegetables – put the knife down and chow down? Very gauche.
8. Sit Up Straight. Do not let your elbows touch the table.
9. Pass the Salt (and the Pepper). When someone asks for the salt, pass the two together. And don’t salt your food until you’ve tasted it first. It’s an insult to the cook.
10. Masticate Your Food. Do not chew with your mouth open. Do not talk with food in your mouth. Masticate and swallow first.
11. You’re A Mess. Did you spill something? Drop your napkin on the floor? Burp? Don’t make a big deal over it. Stay calm. Quietly apologize. In other words, confess and move on.
12. Finger Food. If you’re not sure whether you should eat something with your fingers, opt for a utensil, but here’s a short list.
Asparagus (only if it’s without sauce)
Bacon (only if it’s crisp)
Small fruits or berries with stems
Burgers, Dogs, Corn on the Cob (obviously)
13. The Spectacular Ending. Place your knife and fork on the plate so that they are parallel to each other and on a diagonal – pointing toward the eleven o’clock position. Do not place them in the “X” position. The “X” indicates that you are resting between bites.
When everyone has finished their meal, you may place your napkin on the table, next to your plate, loosely – not tied in a funny knot or twisted.
Got it? Great!
Spread the word (NOT the icing),
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Tasty Tidbit: Escargots, the French word for snails, is an appetizer dish of cooked land snails. Typically, the snails are removed from their shells, gutted, cooked (usually with garlic butter). They are then poured back into the shells, with the butter and sauce for serving. Special snail tongs (for holding the shell) and snail forks (for extracting the meat) are generally provided.
For more tasty tidbits, join the Kick in the Tush Club community.
And pick up a copy of All Is Forgiven, Move On: Our Lady of Weight Loss’s 101 Fat-Burning Steps on Your Journey to Sveltesville