Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Table Manners

This past weekend Mr L and I went for afternoon tea at Blenheim Palace of all places! It was actually a gift from my mother-in-law at Christmas, and we've only got around to doing it now.
I felt like a real lady who lunches, and I put on a dress for the occasion even if it was a bit windy.

The palace and gardens were beautiful and well worth a visit, but the cakes, well now, the cakes and sandwiches were just perfect! They were served in the beautiful Indian room, overlooking the fountains... pure bliss.

We even finished every last scrap! And I have a photo of me with my elbows on the table ...

What terrible table manners! I happen to buy a book in the gift shop afterwards called 'The Lady's Book of Manners'. It's a book about politeness and etiquette from 1890.

It's so fascinating, so I thought I'd share some table manners from the book with you, and then we'll move onto some more up-to-date table manners. Seeing as I was caught sipping tea with my elbows on the table I could do with a reminder!

The Lady's Book of Manners says:

It is looked upon as the height of vulgarity to use your knife to convey food to your mouth.

I love the use of the word vulgarity throughout the book!

And a hint that I think can still be applied today...

Avoid too slow or rapid eating; the one will appear as though you did not like your dinner, and the other as though you were afraid you would not get enough.

Do you think table manners still apply today? I think they should. Sure, family meals are allot more relaxed, but it's nice to still have some form of etiquette, even if only used at formal events or at Christmas. So here's a reminder (as much to myself as anybody else) of what is considered 'proper' (as opposed to vulgar) conduct at a table, these are just the basics, but they are also the important ones!

  • Wash your hands before sitting down, it's a good habit.
  • Sit up straight, slouching looks untidy
  • Don't speak with food in your mouth - nobody wants to see food flying accross the table.
  • Chew quietly and with your mouth closed, this is of course easier to do if you take small bites at a time.
  • Keep your elbows off the table, it generlly leads to slouching and takes up table space (that's me told then!).
  • Excuse yourself from the table or you might look as though you are storming out on a conversation, or you were displeased with something said.
  • Wipe your mouth before drinking or your glass will be full of smudges... eek!
  • Never reach across a table, as well as glasses that can be knocked over, you might be cutting someone else off from their conversation.
  • Don't wave utensils about in the air, for obvious reasons this could be dagerous.
  • And yes, don't put your knife in your mouth!
  • Don't start eating until everyone is seated.
Good 'ol table manners. I hope they never fall away completely!
Have a great week everyone!


Ivy said...

You're such a cutie in your dress!

And you make make me laugh with the glass smudges...eeek!
ooooooh...funny stuff and great tips to remember.

Steph said...

Well done for devouring all of Blenheim's offerings! It looked amazing. Reading the list of manners I think I can tick most of the list. I reckon I have to work on the slouching one though!

Florence and Mary said...

How very la-di-da! Looks like you had a fab time.

I love books on etiquette and manners. You should read Hester Browne's books, I'm reading Little Lady Agency at the moment and whilst fiction it's filled with snippets of how a lady should behave.

Also Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro is a good read, based on The Guide to Elegance.

Victoria xx

Judy said...

Everything looked amazing. I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself.

Lorilee said...

Wow, looks like a wonderful afternoon. Now I think I need a cup of Earl Grey.

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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