I was asked to talk about Prom Dining on a local TV show, River City Live, recently. It’s hard to talk about much in five minutes so here’s a cheat sheet! Enjoy Prom–these tips should provide a little self-confidence.
PROM DINING CHEAT SHEET
- It is courteous for the gentlemen in the party to pull the chair out for ladies. Do this quickly before she seats herself!
- Exception: don’t do this in a business situation!
- Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down
- Napkin stays on your lap the whole time
- Left arm (right arm if you are a leftie) also stays in your lap on your napkin the whole time
- Arms, elbows and wrists should not be on the table during a meal.
- You don’t have to guard your food (wrap left arm around the plate
- If you leave the table, napkin goes in the seat of the chair.
Use silver from the outside in
- Forks on the left (for American style of dining)
- Knives and spoons on right (for American style of dining)
- Continental is the opposite but usually seen in Europe, not common in the US
- Fork and the spoon at the top of the plate is for dessert
- Sometimes a piece of silverware will be brought to the table with the course
- Once a piece of silverware has been used, it never touches the tablecloth again.
- This keeps linens from getting messed up.
- If there is not a small dish for iced teaspoon, turn it upside down, bowl down to the side of your plate.
- If you drop a piece of silverware on the floor, don’t attempt to retrieve it yourself. Ask a server for another piece and don’t draw attention to yourself.
Drink goes on the right
- DR (first two letters of drink are DR—drink right)
- B&D (OK sign with your hand—left hand makes a B, right hand makes a D)
- BMW (Bread, Meal, Water)
- Always pass to the right.
- Salt and pepper are passed together (even if someone only asks for salt, pass the pepper, too).
- Break off a small piece and butter each piece one piece at a time.
- Make sure you are using the correct bread plate (on left).
- One of the most often dining mistakes b/c it’s so natural for most of us to reach to the right.
- If bread is in a basket, it’s started around the table by the person closest to the basket.It’s considered courteous for that person to hold the basket and offer it to the person to his/her left before helping themselves . After this, the bread ONLY goes to the right.
- The bread plate stays where it is—don’t move it around.
- Spoon the soup away from you.
- Place the soup spoon on the plate between bites.
- No slurping.
- Cut only a couple of pieces of any food at the time.
- Try to pace yourself with other diners. If you are a fast eater, you may have to slow down. If you are a slow eater, you might want to speed up.
- Chew with your mouth closed.
- Try not to bring attention to yourself.