"Good manners are the sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you are using. "
Emily Post, author of Table Manners and American writer famous for being a label expert, emphasizing the importance of sensitivity and common sense in any social situation, but in reality it is far from being lenient in the case of the wrong fork or incorrect posture at the table. In short, there is not like the banquet to reveal the inadequacies in terms of etiquette and the true class of people. If then lunch or dinner are for work, the attentions are even more necessary to prevent a meeting born to conclude a business from turning into a total disaster.
Julia struggling with the escargots
Pretty women docet: the cult film shows us a delightful Julia Roberts grappling with the right fork during a business meeting and reveals, with the exaggerations of a film, how the table label is articulated and at the same time as a you can carry out very complicated negotiations. The world of gastronomic conventions is precisely a world, so much so that it has been the subject of a multitude of films that have made the history of cinema, portraying the most vulgar Italianness and the most noble at the table.
Let's start by saying that at the table no verses are emitted (let alone digested noisily), you don't put your elbows on the table, you don't talk out loud, you don't face disgusting themes, you assume a straight and composed posture, you don't talk with a full mouth: in short, the survival kit is absolutely intuitive and common sense.
Hands in food
Then come the most articulated rules, those conventions that require you to set the table in a certain way, to ask the service personnel with discretion, to signal that you are satiated by putting the cutlery back on the plate, to gently wipe your mouth with the napkin first and after drinking (the horrible mark of the lipstick left on the glass and even worse the greasy one), to never bring the knife to the mouth for any reason, not to eat with the hands nothing that is not sliced pizza, shellfish or some molluscs. Green light for the hands with pastries and grana cheese, which should be served already cut into chunks, and of course with the so-called finger foods, small saucers and appetizers to be consumed with your hands. To dispel the legend of the chicken leg, strictly prohibited by the label which then imposes, in the case of fruit, a strict protocol: almost all the fruits must be consumed with a knife and fork, but some can be eaten with your hands in a single bite . The grape is chaste to itself, which must be removed by grape with the right hand and kept strictly with the left.
Let's call it elegance
Tone of voice, gestures, conversation, clothing are other essential components of good manners, always in the pursuit of discretion and sobriety. In this case it is common sense, all-round intelligence and education to guide us towards correct behavior, regardless of the right fork. It is good to see the label lessons given by the hotel porter to Vivienne-Julia Roberts in Pretty Women, but it would also be good that, especially in business dinners, you should avoid challenging foods to deal with. Lust but not least there is the alcohol chapter which states that those who are hosted must abide by the conduct and choices of the host. And although it may seem self-evident, we remark that too many glasses can sometimes blow a deal, but even a relationship (especially if the extra glass is vodka). Although in some cases the slightly disinhibiting effect can favor the business and beyond. Then there is an etiquette that establishes who has to start eating first (the hostess and first of all the most mature), how to consume the board and a myriad of other under rules that might be worth reading carefully at least once in life. It is not said that you decide to observe them, but it is good to know them to deal easily with any situation with any diner. Finally, the phone question is controversial, but it seems to us a good and right action not to keep it at the table and, above all, to silence it, avoiding to diners and members, friends and neighbors of the table, noisy ringers that disturb the sacredness of a meal together.
Emanuela Di Pasqua,
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