Napkins belong on the lap and should remain there until:
- You need to use the loo.
- The meal is completely over. Meaning the last bittersweet chocolate piece eaten, the check paid and the after-dinner linger o-v-e-r! Not right after the entree. Not while other people are still eating.
Table settings include dinnerware, cutlery, drink ware and table accessories. READ: Your cell phone does not sit to the left of your steak knife!
Now that brings me to my next and most controversial point. Cellphones should remain in your purse (or back pocket) on silent. If you are having dinner with long lost relatives, the phone can make an appearance for the sole purpose of photography. If you happen to be a real food blogger or writer -- as in the picture you are about to take of your food is helping you pay for the meal -- be sure to take your ONE picture without flash or noise. You never want to disturb other diners including those seated at your table so make it quick.
Place cards are to never be moved around -- even if you're seated by your frenemy or fifth-grade ex-boyfriend! The host thoughtfully considered each person and it would be disrespectful to go against their efforts.
Meals are for bringing family and close friends together to enjoy storytelling and to revel in each other's company.... Even if it's on a Monday evening, with takeout! Don't ruin the moment by watching the latest episode of your favorite TV show. Start conversations about current issues, exciting work projects, or travel plans instead. Here are some things you should never talk about.
Cheers! Clink (gingerly) each other's glasses to salute to happiness, good health and everlasting friendship. Remember to maintain eye contact with the person you are toasting.
If you're the first one served, hold off feasting away until everyone else has also been served. This is one we see people forgoing more and more. I know you're probably salivating and trying to cover up those tummy rumbles, but modern table manners come first, right?