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“Push with your piece of bread… Don’t put your elbows on the table… Let some for others… You’re not alone…” How many generation of children have bore these injunctions? Until they turn to do the same with their own kids years later.

It’s never too late to learn the good practices from the “art of table”. Later, some learn to use cutlery and cleverly sophisticated utensils to address “at ease” any tasting menu. Others, less numerous, easily master the complex rules of the protocol (now a bit outdated we admit…), the “big dinners” and other official functions. But that is not the most important.
There, as elsewhere, for those who are, like those invited, attention to others is the golden key of good manners, and a  “sine qua non” condition to enjoy the pleasures of the “french” table.

So here we go for a little check up! Will you be able to remind your grand parents lessons?


HOSTThe person who invites



Now you get to your table. It is ready. The table is completely laid, including accessories, place mats, glasses, salt shakers, baskets. The towels are folded, the flowers in their vase or their cups, and candles (if any) on. Better to have some delay in preparing the meals and to wait before the appetizer, than haFrench food - french recipe - french cookingving to complete the table at the last minute.
This is the hostess (and especially if she is single and gets one) to welcome everyone to the table, to appoint to each his place, to sit the first, unfolding his napkin, and to invite everyone to use, or to start a plate already used (consumed, soup, appetizers disappear …), even if after a few minutes to ensure the continued, if it has no using service.
No question, therefore, even with close friends to yell from the kitchen “install and start without me!” … It makes everyone uncomfortable.
You have arrived at time … It is the least polite. You have warmly greeted your hosts, assuring them that you’rehappy to be here today, and the other guests, with a kiss for intimates, and a kind word for those you already know. After the aperitif, we invite you to sit down to eat. Whatever the style of the meeting, you wait for your hostess ahead of you, she tells you your place, and she sits down first. Then you wait as everyone is seated before you unfold your napkin.
Even if you’re dying, you do not rush on bread, nor butter, nor your glass of wine before the hors d’oeuvre or first course … you do not start until all the guests are served and the hostess (or host if he receives single) has started.



There are “addicted” and allergies, so be cautious. Book your famous aioli or irresistible pesto soup forthose you are sure they will appreciate it. At lunch, have a light hand: instead of “pique” the leg, wrap the pod “en chemise” which caramelize during cooking to the great delight of enthusiasts. Satisfy you rub the bottom of the bowl to “perfume” discreetly the salad. Buffet, always expect a cup of sauce “Without” garlic next to a sauce or mayonnaise “with garlic” …And after dinner, offer the “breath neutralizers.”  If you do not support it, be heroic, do not you sniff the dish emphatically, or worse, make you confirm that fragrant presenceby someone … 
If you adore, you’ll feast of aioli, or other highly garlicky southern mediterranean specialities. Know that nothing will allow you, after that happy tasting to impose your tainted breath with everyone you meet. You should rush to purify with crunchy pellets or seeds variety known to be effective: Mint, Anise, Cardamom and Coffee.


Never insist nor force someone to drink, even if you offer a great wine or alcohol … And refrain you to dwell on the valuable reasons for abstinence.
Do not refill a friend who is obviously about to drink too much, when you know he “does not stand alcohol.”
 The aperitif is friendly, the wines delicious, and digestive are unique… this is absolutely no excuse for abuse. Both the light and cheerful spirit that provides a good “well-watered” meal are inseparable from the celebration, as the spectacle of someone who has drunk too much is annoying and sometimes unbearable. About alcohol, there is no equality. Some “take it” better than others, “tipsy” from the first drink. You have to know your own limits and stick to it firmly. Refuse to drink too many or too much alcohol is definitely not a lack of good manners, on the contrary … Even if you do not drive after eating!


It is never used to drink apperitives at the reception table in some protocol. With family or friends, this can be done nicely.
If you are planning a single dish or a particularly rich menu, supress appetizers and entries and replace them with a light appetizer, only intended to “open the appetite.” Needless to offer a choice of drinks. Offer the wine of the meal, or a dry white wine (a rosé or summer) to transform possibly Kir, or champagne. For “alcohol free” people, offer one or two kinds of fruit juices, to extend if you like sparkling water. In order to “nibble”, propose raw vegetables into sticks, cubes or bouquets, soaked in a light sauce escorted by a few small savory puffs. In the case of an “aperitive diner” the choice of drinks can be the same as before (if you offer champagne, allow it enough to accompany the meal), but it will be exactly the opposite: the “solid” will constitute the bulk of the dinner. We will then make available on the table, variety puffs with meats, raw vegetables, salads, smoked fish or shellfish, each using at will …. This does not relieve the hosts from offering food and drinks, and make sure everyone is served.
At the time of Queen Victoria, this advice was given to girls on the eve of their wedding night … “Close your eyes and think of England …” 
It cannot be difficult to implement when having apperitive… “Close your eyes and think about the following …”. 
Indeed, a “cocktail” can be a nice appetite killer that really works. If there is a complete meal behind, have just a glass (especially if alcohol), and a small snack. Choose raw vegetables rather than the puffs, even if they are tempting … And beware of cured meats, olives, crackers, and pastries .. The issue is quite different if it is an appetizer buffet (it is the other name of the buffet meal). The only prohibitions are about “savoir vivre”. Do not rush greedily on your favorite sofa before the others were able to serve themselves … Do not fill your plate of caviar, leaving to others the liver pate (or the opposite … to taste !)… Do not be re-served for the third time when some have not even started … Or conversely, do not quibble endlessly with a plate filled with only a miserable slice of sausage to impress your guests how much you do not like their formula!



Cooked whole and served “on shell” with a sauce (usually dressing), the artichoke is reserved for family meals or between intimates persons.
Establishing for each a cup or a small plate to drop leaves, and for all, serviette or wipes.
Funds and artichoke hearts do not cause particular problem.
 Served “on shell”, as an entry, it is eaten leaf by leaf, detached from the heart by hand. It is soaked up in the meaty sauce and then eaten, gently if possible, trying to avoid splashing the chin with excess dressing and without biting the nose on his plate. One does not come back twice on the same sheet. After tasting, lay on the edge of the plate or in the container provided for that purpose. The hay is removed by hand, and the bottom is eaten normally with knife and fork.


This spring feast deserves to be treated with caution to reveal all its flavor. The ideal is to have a special dish in two parts. Asparagus, placed at the top, and with holes in the bottom drip without stagnating in their water. Otherwise, they are served in a normal dish wrapped in a white cloth. They are accompanied by a vinaigrette or hollandaise sauce.
If you want your guests to use their range, you have to take care to remove all the hard parts.
It is more pleasant and convenient to eat by hand, of course. It’s up to you to give the signal … and to provide finger bowls or wipes.
 Asparagus are served in a dish with a Dedicated shovel or with a tableware service. In a somewhat formal dinner, they have been sufficiently shortened and peeled so that we can eat them entirely. We cut the asparagus with a fork, piece by piece, and eat by dipping into the accompanying sauce, vinaigrette or hollandaise. 
If the hostess gives the signal, asparagus can be eaten by hand, dipping the tip into the sauce (and the rest) of the asparagus by holding one end. 
Like artichokes, it takes time (within reason anyway!) to eat properly, without spilling the sauce around the plate, or on her clothes …


If the menu requires its presence on the table, small individual butter dishes on the left of each plate make a nice decorative element. They can be odd, it’s even funnier (except in a “great dinner” classic). 
If not, place it on a small plate or a nice butter dish 
(Or two, or three, depending on the number of guests and the size of the table), with a blunt butter knife.
 It shall be mandatory in certain foods (radishes, seafood ..). 
If you have an individual butter dish, where you can draw directly, otherwise you will use the butter knife, not your own knife. 
We put the piece of butter on the edge of the plate, and we spread in as and small bites of bread. Not on bread slices as they are reserved for the brunch, as the rye bread that accompanies the seafood and smoked salmon toasts. 
Of course, you will not touch butter before the meal starts even if the pretty crusty bread and butter dish are desperately tempting you…. You are not at the restaurant!


If you have broken your piggy bank to offer caviar to your friends and you do not have a special cooler, install the box in a shallow dish filled with ice. 
Have a serving spoon, depending on the size of the box (it is rare that you need a ladle!) And little spoons for guests. 
Do not forget the toast (or blinis pancakes as the Russian do) butter, and lemon.
 It’s a very expensive delicacy. So if you do not like it (it happens sometimes…), do not show it … Your hosts would be very disapointed. 
Eat caviar with a spoon, nature or seasoned with lemon, with butter toasts or blinis.


Champagne is offered as an aperitif, with dessert (less fashionable today) or throughout the meal. Serve it very cool but not frozen, in flutes or champagne glasses.
As an aperitif, you can add all kinds of liqueurs or fruit juice: peach, blackcurrant, raspberry etc …
 Do not shake to remove bubbles … They are a big part of its charm. And know that even biscuits known as “champagne” must not be soaked … Except, perhaps, if you celebrate your hundredth birthday!


You’ve worked hard, your guests will recognize it and compliment you for the delectable result. Smile broadly and thank … And inwardly rejoice! No need to explain at length the difficulties that have had to overcome to reach that perfect success … Or detail your precious revenues, unless you specifically requested.  Formerly, it was fashionable not to mention the quality of what was on the plate … Today is exactly the opposite. Do not hesitate to welcome guests to decorate the table for the quality of the food, the selection of wines … Nothing is more depressing when we took pains to prepare a good meal than to see his guests to swallow, without appearing to notice it, or deigning to interrupt their conversation to express their pleasure … Enough to swear the next time, offer their ravioli box!


You’ve worked hard, your guests will recognize it and compliment you for the delectable result. Smile broadly, thank … And inwardly rejoice! No need to explain at length the difficulties that you have had to overcome to reach that perfect success … Don’t detail your precious recipes, unless you are specifically requested to.  Formerly, it was fashionable not to mention the quality of what was on the plate … Today is exactly the opposite. Do not hesitate to congratulate hotes about the table decoration and for the quality of the food, the selection of wines … Nothing is more depressing when we took pains to prepare a good meal than to see his guests swallowing, without appearing to notice it, or deigning to interrupt their conversation to express their pleasure … Enough to swear the next time, offer them ravioli boxes!


Today as yesterday, the conversation is one of the primitive pleasure of art to receive. Around a table, it is what determines the difference between “dinner? Yes, it was good…”, and” What a dinner! It was great! “. 
If you receive, you are not the star, but you are the conductor.It is up to you to initiate conversation, to restart if it weakens. Skillfully encourage the shy person, discreetly defuse the policy “crisis” that promises and launch the topic that will allow the specialist to shine in all its glory … and find a diversion that will shut him if he is too long! 
You need to make forget the negative effect of a gaffe, and to allow the blundering to save face and boost general conversation with a “common subject” chosen in the news, weather, upcoming holidays, or new fashion trends … To succeed, the secret is twofold: look really to others, what they are, what will value them, especially listening.
 At dinner, the conversation is an art that obeys certain rules of basic etiquette, easy to observe but imperative. Share also your attention from your neighbors (es) of right and left sides, and exchange a few words with them, even if neither one nor the other has any interest. Do not focus on the words that are exchanged at the other end of the table, even if it is about your primary concern, while your neighbor is right in the middle of an exciting presentation on the peasantry in Cyprus 18th century. Do not pretend not to hear the questions from the shy girl of your next left, just because you find her… Say naive! And especially do not have the look of the exceeded one who has seen it all, heard it all (and so much better ..) and is bored to death! If that’s the case, you had to beware and not accepted the invitation! 
Finally, if you, despite your precautions, committed a gaffe …Do not insist, and do not try to fix it (if your guests have not done before you), and turn the conversation on a subject without danger: the wonderful dish that has been served, or the delicious wine that everyone has tasted!


A pretty table is first a tableware that is correctly set up. Of course the decor and style will not be identical for a meal with friends without ceremonial, a festive lunch, or a large fine dining. But the basic principles remain the same. 
The tableware surrounds the flat plate. For more effect, the plate can be placed on a larger plate for presentation. In the evening, it can be topped with a bowl or cup of broth if soup is consumed at the menu. 
Utensils are placed from the outside in order of their use. To the right of the plate: knife, blade facing it. To the right of the knife: tablespoon, pointing to the tablecloth. Between the two, if necessary: the fish knife. 
To the left of the plate: fork, pointed to the table, and possibly next, the fish fork. 
The dessert fork, knife and teaspoon, are placed between the plates and glasses, except for the “big dinners,” where we do have everything replaced at dessert time. 
If necessary in the menu, special utensils, tongs and fork snails, oyster fork or crustaceans, are arranged in order of their use. 
Are the fish tableware necessary? They were once when the contact with the metal knife blades gave a regular bad taste in fish flesh. Silver blades avoided this … like today, with stainless steel. When the knife is, the opposite. Once the protocol reserved for family use, as they denounced the intention of (O scandal) reuse the tableclothe. Today, there are all kinds, classic or fancy, and are found on the finest tables, because it is not outrageous to try to arrange a nice tablecloth!
 They frame the plate in order of use (first out). 
On the right, knife and spoon. Unless one is lefthanded, they were still holds in his right hand. 
When holding the knife, the index is based on the joint of the blade, without encroaching on it. It does not for any reason put the knife in his mouth, and wipe the blade with no bread. The classic use is that it does not use the knife for eggs, and bread. We did not used it to cut the salad … for good reason: the vinegar attacking the metal blade, which is no longer the case with stainless steel. 
The soup spoon can be used French style, the end towards the mouth, or English style side to the mouth … No matter, provided we taste quietly without noise, without blowing the hot liquid to cool it! 
The fork is held in the left hand, but right when used alone without a knife. It is always presented to the lips, his back to the table. It is used, without a knife to eat vegetables. They should not be bitten, but picked up in the hollow. 
During meals, cutlery should never be placed on the table or on a piece of bread. At each break, you come crossing tableware on the plate, or using the knife holder if there is one. 
Once the plate is finished, deposit you tableware into it, along the edge of the range facing the center.


You must have some “in case”, but doe not show it, we are no longer at the “Belle Epoque”!  Never use it in public. In cases of imperative need, isolate yourself for a few minutes after the meal, to perform the operation.

(see also fruits)

It can be a liquid dessert: mousse, custard, cream …accompanied by crackers. 
Cake or ice, are, whole, cut and serve with a special shovel.For ice, provide a better cup of hot water for dipping the shovel and facilitate cutting. 
It can also serve as small cakes or ice creams in cups. The ice cream flat spoons are very significant.
 Eat the solid pastries, cakes with or without cream with the dessert fork and knife if necessary. 
For desserts (custards, Charlotte, ice…) we use the dessert spoon, if you do not have a special spoon (flatter than spoons, dessert or coffee). If you are presented with a full ice cream, serve yourself a piece as you would do with a cake.


It must be present at any time at the table, fresh and renewed as often as necessary, in a nice carafe or friendly pitcher. 
Many people also enjoy the sparkling water. You can have a “bottle hider” to present it. 
The water glasses, larger than the wine glasses are essential.
 Unlike wine, you can serve yurself or refill water without waiting for being offered. Use the appropriate glass, the largest, normally on the left. 
Never put water in your wine, even if you used to do so every day.


We are no longer in the Middle Ages, where spices were at the table as delicacies. Today, except in exceptional cases of exotic menu, there are only pepper, preferably grain in his mill special. You can include several varieties of black and gray pepper, for example. 
As for garlic, it is best not to serve spicy dishes if you do not know the tastes of the guests.
 In general, today, the only spice on the table is this pepper (sometimes of several kinds). So pretty and tempting as is the mill, do not use it until you have tasted the first bite. It would call into question the quality of the dish, and … You may have some surprises … Also, be careful (e) with the spices that accompany exotic specialties (Indian, African, Mexican …).And if your host (or yourself) have been heavy handed with the chili, remember that to appease the fire, bread is better than drinking.


Served in their shells, they are subject to intimate that we know fans … They are used preferably in a suitable small plate, dug with cells, and is expected for each person a special pliers to hold them (or if the there is none, a small towel reserved for that purpose), and a two-pronged fork. 
It is your responsibility, if any, to give the signal allowing your guests to put the shells at the mouth.
 We stuck the shell in the snail tongs holding the left hand (or, if clip with a small towel reserved for that purpose), and eradicates the mollusk on the other hand, with the small special fork. 
It is not allowed to swallow the delicious garlic butter, if it may be tempting … Unless you are in intimate customary due.In this case, wait for the signal to your guests and enjoy as silently as possible. 
Otherwise you can always saucer inside the shell with a small piece of bread stuck on a fork.


You have it either in a plate, possibly surrounded by its jelly, or sliced in its own terrine with a spoon or knife (or both) for service.
Have a cup of very hot water for dipping the service utensil. 
True fans will appreciate foie gras nature way, however, many people taste it with warm toasts or slices of gingerbread. 
You can also accompany it with various seasonings: onion jam or figs, or Muscat grapes.
 It is eaten with a fork, never with a knife (especially not spread on bread slice!). If presented in a terrine, use with the serving spoon, then place the spoon in hot water for your neighbor. 
Whatever the accompaniment provided (toast, condiments …) you do not have to do use them, and you are entitled to enjoy your foie gras nature, if that’s how you like it.


This is the last salty dish before the sweetness of the dessert. Depending on the style of the meal and the number of guests, you can opt for a single variety, Brie, Vacherin (whole and perfect quality), or the classic board with six or seven different varieties at least. 
The larger is the plateau, better it is.  The cheese must be at ease, with space around. If you are very numerous, planning two cheese boards. Have at least two knives (special two teeth) on each plate, one for sweet flavors, one for full-bodied. For fresh or soft cheeses,as the Vacherin, plan a serving spoon. 
Necessary to accompany the plate: a well-stocked basket of different breads, countryside, rye bread with nuts, cumin, and even gingerbread, butter, butter dishes either individually or in central butter dish for four people, and possibly condiments, pickles, onion jam, fruit depending on the season (raisins, walnuts, sliced ​​apples or pears).
With the exception of very small size (crottins. ..) the cheeses must be initiated. If he does not, the host or alternatively, the hostess, take care to do so before submitting the tray to the guests. 
The principle of sharing of cheese is: everyone has the same hand, from the core to the crust. 
So, round and square cheese intersect in a triangle like a cake, the elongated cylinder, sliced ​​like a sausage, pyramids and cones into proportionnal portions, the marbled slices (Roquefort, Blue ..) roughly cut into quarters range from the middle. 
Small round or cylindrical cheeses are just cut in two. toddlers (Bouton-de-culotte. ..) are not shared. The cooked pressed (Emmental, Comté …) presented in rectangular pieces are divided into even slices from the start after removing the crust from one side. Finally, pressed cheeses, type St Nectaire and Tomme presented most of the time in half or quarter will also be cut into parallel slices from the start.
 The tasting of cheese still obeys to strict rules. It does not re-pass the plate, you do not serve twice, and with the exception of fresh cheese, or creamy as the Vacherin, which are eaten (savory or sweet) with dessert spoon (or dessert), cheese are always eaten with a knife, never with a fork. 
Removes the rind, cut a small piece, and eat on a piece of bread (not the tip of the knife!). 
One may question the legitimacy of such uses. Why ban the fork, if practical? Why not come back for more of what has been particularly popular, having tasted everything? 
This would probably be inappropriate during a formal dinner or a protocolar meal, but nothing prevents a friendly reception to rejuvenate a little too heavy usages.


Book everyday fruit to peel for family: apples, pears, and especially peaches… Save this chore to your guests. Introduce them cut, in salad, to eat with a spoon. Or choose smaller fruits: plums, cherries, apricots, strawberries, raspberries and other berries. 
Offer clementines instead of tangerines. As they have fewer seeds. 
The fruit eaten unpeeled (cherries, raisins, apricots, plums …) are always served washed and ready to eat. Washed and hulled strawberries, are offered in a bowl or dish with a serving spoon along with cups of powdered sugar and cream or Chantilly. You can do the same with the raspberries and other berries (blueberries, blackberries, currants, black currants …) generally mixed. 
With grapes, you need special scissors to cut the clusters. 
For nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts ..) Make nutcrackers available in the center of the table in sufficient numbers for your guests.
In the South it once was offered slices of bread along with nuts. It’s delicious … If some are still a little hungry!
 Banana: In private, it is eaten by hand. It is holds in the left hand. With the knife you cut the tip, discard the skin and eat. In a less intimate environment, use a fork to hold the knife to incise the skin and remove it and again the fork to cut and enjoy in small slices.
The cherries are eaten by hand. They are held by the tail, and core are placed discreetly (collected in the palm of your hand, not a spoon) on the edge of the plate.
Classically, figs are eaten with knife and fork. Keep the fruit, cutting it into quarters and then always, is taken within edible … But if they are very ripe (miam. ..) and you are among friends … and between true lovers … you will surely leave to eat them whole, by hand, after having peeled … Remember then the passage through the finger bowl.
Serve your strawberries, sugar and cream to taste. If strawberries are very firm, use your fork to prick them and dip them into sugar and crème. If they are very ripe, serve yourself with your dessert spoon.
The skin of clementines and mandarins are removed with  fingers. Oranges, thicker, must first be incised with a knife near the cap. These fruits are eaten in slices.
The oranges can be cut into quarters, separated with knife and fork for each quarter the bark of the edible part. This is an elegant method, pleasant to taste, but difficult to practice, and that requires skill. We reject the seeds discreetly, and deposit them on the edge of the plate.
Walnuts and hazelnuts are eaten with the fingers. If there is not one available per person, do not monopolize the Nutcracker, remember of your neighbors.
If you are presented with a basket of fruit to choose, please, please ignore the peaches even if you are crazy about. These summer delights are a real stress to eat properly … If you are forced, know that it is after the fruit is carefully pricked with a fork that you keep the peel with a knife, then cut the fruit into small pieces, always gently to wear one by one in the mouth … Whew!
Compared with more juicy peaches, pears as well as  apples are a pleasure to peel and cut into four quarter (with a knife and a fork of course) before eating.
The apple remains at hand while you cut it into quarters. Then the peel of each quarter is removed (the knife) seeds, and is eaten in several bites.
It not peel the plums. They are eaten by hand, unless they are very mures. One can then prick with a fork.
Use special scissors available to cut a small bunch of grapes. Serve in front of you on top of the basket, without turning to select the best cluster, and do not forget to pass the scissors to your neighbor. Discreetly spit out the seeds.


 Unless there are some very well equipped specialists, please open the oyster shells by the fishmonger from whom you buy. Present them on a tray lined with crushed ice or algae.
Special individual plates, carved of cells of the size of the shell are adapted to oysters, and short and sharp ranges, with large teeth, are essential.
Platter of shellfish are accompanied with lemon, rye toast bread, salted butter, and for oysters: vinaigrette sauce with shallots (although many fans consider it as an heresy).
Tasting the shellfish, lobster, crayfish, crabs, requires each guest a special long and narrow fork, with two teeth.
For protocolar meal (a little), you will have dedicated fish tableware. Otherwise, you will put a second tableware set.
It should be also nutcracker to break legs and claws, except for lobster and hot cooked crayfish (or Armorican Thermidor), on which it is already done. Arrange the nutcracker mid-table, with at least one to three guests.
Book crabs and tourteaux (delicious!) in their shell for intimate meals because they are very hard and very long to enjoy.
If you serve bouquets or prawns, you have to specify by example if we can or can not shell them with our fingers.
Shellfish served cold are usually accompanied by rye or country bread, such as shells, with salted butter, pepper and lemon mayonnaise (with the possible addition of herbs or spices).
Provide clean towels for the rest of the meal, especially if you offer crayfish, which require special large towels to tie around the neck. And do not forget the finger bowls, or lemon wipes.
 Whelks and other sea snails are eaten once extracted from their shells with a small metal or wooden pick.
For oysters, use a special fork. The shell, kept on the plate with the left hand is off the flesh with a fork, it is at this time the oyster is seasoned, then it is back to bring it to the mouth. Except in cases of large ceremonial dinner, you can drink the juice directly from the shell, but without sound of course!
We use the same range in the same way for other shellfish (clams, raw mussel…).
Sea urchins are eaten with a spoon. It is with this one off parts of the sea urchin coral, only edible.
Side crustaceans, small shrimp, gray or pink, are dissected and ate by hand.
Bouquets and large shrimps, can be treated the same way, but if it’s just a ceremonial meal, it is better to use the fish tableware.
Same process for crayfish.
If they are integrated into a plate of seafood, lobsters will be dissected and ate with your fingers. Served alone, and usually accompanied by mayonnaise or sauce with herbs, they are dissecedt still with the fingers, but ate with knife and fish fork.
Lobsters and crayfish are eaten in the same way . One releases the meat from the shell with knife and pliers to break with nutcracker (or perhaps by hand) and take off the flesh with the long range in crustaceans.


It is inevitable, and some are particularly unlucky in this area … Needless to say, you do not will exagerate minimal damage as stains on the table!
But alas, there are more serious. For example, if a guest breaks a glass of valuable service inherited from your grandmother, or bought with gold bars in an antique shop, do not burden the poor (or unfortunate …), try as far as possible to minimize the incident and forget it quickly. Rehash will not help, your service is lost, and your evening may be too!
We do not always control our actions, and when bad luck gets involved … This is the bottle of red wine on the ivory carpet or the precious Venetian glass carafe exploded on the floor!
What to do? First, of course, apologize and make your regret most sincerely as possible, but not to “seal” the atmosphere in accusing endlessly, and always putting the incident on the carpet. Renew your regrets on departure, and the next day, send flowers or a potted plant with a kind word.
If you have broken or damaged something of value, you will wait one occasion (Christmas, birthday, return trip) to send your guests a gift with a friendly word.
The best, of course, when one knows himself as awkward  is to always stay in alert.


It can be served as an appetizer or dessert.
Depending of its size it can be served hollowed, and topped with his little hat, but also cut in half and hollowed out, or sliced ​​parts of their bark, or beads made ​​using a special spoon.
 Served whole or cut in half, you can enjoy melon with a spoon.
If presented in slices, separate the pulp from the bark with a knife, at once, then cut the flesh into small pieces, to be enjoyed by bites. In any case, you shouldn’t scrape the bark nor bring it to the mouth.


The boiled eggs are part of the brunch. 
If you have an “American” kitchen opened on the living where you receive, each person will cook his own. Think of the timer (or hourglass) at the skimmer for out of boiling water, and small “egg cups caps” that prevent rapid cooling. 
If it is you who are in the kitchen, make people tell you the desired doneness (liquid, semi solid medium). Present on a plate covered with a towel fleece to keep warm. 
Plan for spreading knives, spoons, and possibly a band shell, with salt, pepper, butter and bread cut into “blotters.”
 Guest to a brunch, you will certainly eat boiled eggs. 
To begin, you will need a band shell for this purpose (there are several different models very practical). If this is not the case, know that the “good use” (one wonders why!) prohibits the use of the knife to behead the egg. We must tap, break and peel the top of the shell with our spoon. 
However, for the taste, you are free to use your spoon or “blotters” of bread, buttered or not. 
When finished, gently break the shell into the egg cup.


If you serve chicken or (more rarely …) rabbit, it is your responsibility to give the signal allowing the guests to chew on the tasty bones (only for a family or “buddies” meal). 
An exception is the summer barbecue, where there is no question of epigrams taste of lamb or pork ribs, other than with your fingers … Provide large towels. 
And if one of your guests depends on his plate a little bone absorbed unintentionally, be blind, and do not do it out, nor even deplore it and apologize!
 So frustrating that it is, we must resign ourselves to taste the meat bones (poultry, rabbit) with knife and fork. 
And if the hostess discreetly signals that one can lay hands, you do not play the great beast of the savanna in vies for the completely clean. 
It can happen unintentionally that we are left with a small bone in the mouth. We spit it as discreetly as possible in the palm of the hand, and deposit on the edge of the plate.


The bread comes cut off (at the last moment so it does not dry) protected by a towel or mat in a pretty basket attached to the entire tableware, and regularly replenished if necessary. 
Indulge in several varieties (Baguette, Country …). With a nice cheese plate, for example, you can play back the fancy breads flavored with sesame, cumin, poppy seeds, herbs, olives, raisins …. 
For a festive meal, or just a little refined, rolls can be quite decorative. They are deposited on a small plate to the left of tableware, unless one finds them folded in his towel.
In all cases, bread in a basket or individual, the small bread plate will save you a table covered in crumbs. And limit the use after a meal of the necessary garbage collection.
 The golden bread roll seems to taunt you while you wait impatiently for the meal to begin. Yet we must resist the temptation, and save your snacks as everyone is seated and served… You are not at the restaurant! The bread is not cut with a knife. You do not bite in your piece. It is broken into bite size pieces while trying to make the fewest possible crumbs. 
We do not “play” with bread … and if you feel nervous trying to calm other way than making breadballs … 
Finally even if it is high quality and are very amateur, try not to eat excessive amounts, this would tend to make the host believe that the food is insufficient or poor … Not very flattering to those with whom you are!


It is served either as an appetizer or at a brunch buffet, cut in half like little melons. 
In both cases, it requires a special knife (the grapefruit knife) to finely serrated curved blade to separate parts from the skin. One puts one or more available at the brunch for everyone to prepare his grapefruit before eating. 
In appetizers, they are served ready early in the meal , they are often well decorated with a small red candied cherries… And we do not forget the sugar.
 In appetizers, you have nothing to do, just eat them with a spoon, sprinkle with sugar if necessary. 
However, if it is a brunch, you may need to prepare the grappefruit. Using the special curved knife, completely clear the pulp of the outer skin, then every neighborhood of small white inner skin …Beware of splashes if the fruit is very juicy.


In the “big dinner”, we present it reconstructed after cutting. 
In a “normal” meal, however, it may well serve as a sole, sea bream or turbot whole and cut at the table. The wide blade of the fish knife facilitates the separation of fillets starting from the backbone. After completing the first side, we return the fish to the other side. 
Then, let each “clean up” his share in his plate using its tableware (normal or fish).
 Fish tableware is used as a plain tableware, the knife in the right hand and the fork into the left. Clear the skin, and bones being pushed aside in a corner of the plate. 
If by any chance you end up with edges in the mouth, spit out discreetly in the palm of your hand and lay just as quietly on the edge of your plate.


That is a calamity, that can permanently ruin the friendliest dinner … This is not a reason to make the unpleasant symptoms and central topic of conversation of the meal. One of the guests could not hold back a sneeze or worse: many?Act as if nothing had happened, and book wishes and blessings to a strict privacy, family or close friends. 
Those who are hosts have the immense advantage over their guests to be able to leave the table without providing a reason. Enjoy. You take shelter in another room to blow your nose loudly, and let off a series of sneezing or uncontrollably coughing.
 We blow our nose at the table only when absolutely necessary (better than sniffing loudly). We try to do it quietly, as naturally as possible without overwhelming our neighbors with excuses or  miserabilist and unsavory stories. 
All those who are often victims know more or less effective“stuff” to prevent sneezing that you feel “up”, like block breathing, or block one nostril etc … If we can not control ourselves, sneezing as discreetly as possible, the hand or handkerchief over her mouth as when coughing. 
When we feel a coming round of sneezing (hay fever, allergic crisis …), or a cough, it is better to leave the table altogether with a explaining nod towards the hostess. When coming back, apologize briefly and talk about something else!



It must first be cleared of the most important “coast”, and cut so as to avoid having to use his knife to eat it. 
Even during casual meals it is best to book a special plate to the salad. This prevents the dressing does not spoil the taste of other dishes served at the same time … 
Fortunately, that prohibited the use of serving salad several times is hardly respected today.
 The tradition has long forbidden to use the knife with the salad … For one good reason: the vinegar sauce attacked the metal of the blade. Today the knife blades are unalterable …But we continue to advocate the exclusive use of the fork …Provided of course that the leaves have reasonable size!


Necessary after all the dishes we touch, especially shellfish. 
It takes one per guest. It will be a cup matching the table decor (glass, crystal, porcelain or metal …), filled three-quarters of any water lemon, placed on a saucer to the left of the plate, to be removed immediately after use. 
The finger bowl can be replaced, as in Asia, by a towel soaked in hot water flavored. Family or friends meal can be used wet wipes pockets, rather unsightly but effective.
 Its use is not symbolic, however, a finger bowl is not a sink. We simply dip the fingertips, which are then dried with a towel, being careful not to flood the table around its canopy.


When good manners and appetite do not mix! 
What could be more delectable than a “French Sauce”? And how many stand the thought of leaving compulsory three-quarters on his plate? Yet this is what controls the “good use” (again!) Which prohibits saucing on his plate. 
Fortunately, there are now “tablespoons sauce” that we avoid some of this heartbreaking … They will both please the guests and the Cordon Bleu who has worked hard.
 In a “great dinner” or a little meal protocol, it is better to use reasonable sauce, since it is forbidden to consume differently than with every bite … Unless there is a spoon sauce around the plate. 
In a simple meal, it is admitted with a small saucer of bread cut to the end of the fork …Be careful not to clean your plate to the last drop, by force crumbs … And above all: never to use your fingers.


It is left available on the table,”opened” equipped with a special scoop, or powder. 
If the table is large with many guests, we must provide several, usually six to one, or choose, but it’s rare for individual salt shakers placed to the left of each plate.
 Do not add salt until you taste what you have been served, it would be rude towards the person who prepared the meal. To serve, scoop is used for this purpose, not the tip of his knife, and above all: never use of your fingers to do so. However, you can shake the powder over the palm of your hand to better control the amount. 
Finally, if the salt is far from you, do not try at all costs to catch it by leaning in front of your neighbor. Just ask for it.


So pretty, gay and practices that are currently paper towels, reserve them for buffet, or aids for very dirty dishes (seafood fruit ..). On a pretty well decorated table, they can not deal with cloth napkins. Folded in an original and aesthetic (There are thousands of possible ways), flourished on the plate, or “bouquet” in the water glass, they are a true decorative element.  As soon as one is a little child, no longer tied his napkin around his neck, nor is the slip in his neck, except perhaps to eat lobster or crayfish. 
As soon seated at table, it unfolds and is laying on his lap. At the end of the meal, it is based next to the plate without folding it … Unless your guests have invited you to share the next meal with them.


Outside the family daily, only soup tureen is presented in the table. Soups are served and consumed at the beginning of the meal, before, after or instead of an appetizer, in a bowl or cup tasse.Some exist “in stock” with a lid, which maintain heat (the consumer can be served hot or cold). 
The southern fish soup is accompanied with the rust” in a dish of toasted croutons, goes or not, and eventually grated cheese (Parmesan cheese, emmental, gruyere …) 
Think of the plate heater (essential).
 One does not blow on the soup to cool it. Expect it to do it alone. We start by filling our spoon on the edge of the plate, the center being always hotter. 
Soups are enjoyed and eaten quietly, sucking or swallowing, a spoon held in conjunction with the mouth …. And of course one does not incline his plate to take the last drops. 
In front of a fish soup from the south, serve yourself first of soup, then croutons (with a spoon or by hand), then you can top with a spoonful of rust and eventually grated cheese.


They are much more widespread than we think. Better to know not to do odd and spoil the mood. 
First imperative commandment: avoid at all costs to find thirteen persons at table. Many do not stand it. 
Then, do not place the bread upside down or tableware disposed in cross, avoid spilling salt on the table, not to make circulate the salt shaker from hand to hand, but put it before the one that has requested it … There are many other, less known. 
Most important, after all, is to respect the beliefs and fears of your guests, even if you own it are absolutely indifferent, and especially don’t show any irony. They will not forgive you.
 Respecting those of others, and if you yourself are very superstitious, be the discrete. You spilled the salt shaker on the table? To avoid arguments that are sure to ensue, you’re going to throw three pinches with the right hand over left shoulder … But without bombarding your neighbors! … You have every right to put in a good way to put bread upside down, or tap your forehead with your fingers wet in the drop of spilled champagne … But do not ask your hostess if you just break a beautiful crystal glass, which she may rejoice with you on the grounds that “breaking white glass is good for luck!”


Today, the hunt is open to smokers, and hosts must specify in advance their attitude toward this fact. 
Among smokers, no problems. You will have small ashtrays on the table and you decide when to use them (preferably after the cheese). If there are a few of you non-smokers, minority, group: warn them there will be smoking in the dessert. 
If you are a non-smoking “tolerant”, plan a “place”, balcony, patio or open window, equipped with ashtrays for addicted friends. If however you are anti-smoking militant and there is no question “that some smoke at home,” do not take your guests like a traitor. Inform yourself in advance about the habits of those you are not familiar with. If they are smokers, arrange to let them know before you invite them, taht they will need to absolutely refrain from their favorite drug … Leaving them with the opportunity to decline your invitation!
 Tell you the habits of your guests if you do not know them well. If they are smoking and you do not, or vice versa, nothing requires you to accept their invitation. However, if you did, you must comply with their practice in this area. 
Although there are ashtrays on the table, do not feel authorized (e) to light a cigarette after each dish. 
No cigarette before the end of the cheese. We do not let our cigarette to burn itself reeking in the atmosphere, and we try wherever possible not to make a scene ash on the tablecloth.
No cigar table, it is reserved for after meals, with coffee and liqueurs.


You get friends, be completely involved to this fun, and do not let the phone, this tyrant, spoils the atmosphere. 
Except in the case (rare) of extreme urgency (illness of a relative, or other serious), reduce to silence the devices. 
Turn off your mobile. Set the ringer to the lowest fixed-line, install it in another room, and let the answering machine do its office. 
There are (many) of “poisoning the mobile” that can not let it rest, even for a meal. If so one or a close, let them know by gently teasing it is not very pleasant. 
If it is not near, bearing in silence, and … Do not re-invite more!
 The motive? Can not live without it! Yet what it can be frustrating and evil! … But you off at your arriving guests. 
Sometimes you expect something important and urgent (think about it, there is much less than we think). Tell those you receive and your immediate neighbors at the table. Turn on vibrate and leave the table at the first vibration. Minimize the length of your conversation, then turn off your phone, and forget to start.


For the table, the glassware service usually consists of water glasses, red wine and white wine (classified by decreasing size), Burgundy glasses are generally more plump than the Bordeaux glass. 
These are wine glasses. The cups are reserved on a daily basis. 
We may complete the set with flutes or champagne glasses, and if you take a drink at the table, the porto glasses (smaller than the wine glasses), whiskey (large cups) and soda ( high cups).
 Treat glasses with caution and respect, especially if they are made of precious crystal, but even if it is ordinary glass. They are placed normally in front of your plate, arranged from left to right in order of size, water glass and wine glass or water glass, red wine glass and white wine glass, if necessary. 
If there is a flute or a champagne glass, it is placed either in “bottom line” on the right, slightly behind. 
We never drinks mouth full, and discreetly wiped our lips before drinking if necessary, to avoid leaving a fat disgusting halo on the glass.


When the dish is presented, take the piece that is in front of you without “rummage” in the dish to find the best piece or whatever you prefer, the wing, fillet, or the best schnitzel.
Knife (in the right hand) and fork (left hand) are required for meat. 
It is cut in bite-size pieces, not entirely in small pieces in advance.
 The unique pieces, roast beef, lamb, roasted variety is presented whole, cut in advance, only in part by the number of guests. Is cut in general, two slices per person. The piece which is not cut returns in the kitchen, warmed, cut and represented when the first plate is completed. 
The poultries are also presented in pieces, without neck or carcass (too bad for amateurs!), Except in an intimate meal where cutting can be done at the table. 
If one uses the individual pieces (cutlets, steaks ..), we must ensure that the shares are about equal.


Typically the “wine service” is provided by a man. It is the task reserved for the host. If you are a single woman, you can ask one of the guests that you know well, to provide this service for you. 
It is the “good wine” in their original bottle, and most ordinary wines in a lovely carafe … But some old great wines should be decanted “in a decanter.” It is a delicate operation that requires some expertise. 
When serving wine, the bottle is held firmly by the body and not by the neck, which must not touch the edge of the glass. The bottle is then rotated to avoid staining the water with the last drop. The anti-drop “collars” to put on the neck (there are different style) avoid this problem. 
One does not fill a glass to the brim, but only two-thirds for the aroma of the wine to flourish. We do not leave a sadly empty glass …But it does not grow in the consumption of ever completing the glass half full of someone who does not drink much. 
However, you can ask everyone to finish his glas before serving a new wine.
 Unless a compelling medical reason that you have specified in advance, do not refuse to be served in wine, even if you do not usually drink. You will just pretend to taste, then you can abstain. We do not pours a glass that is not empty and nothing forces you to drink alcohol if you do not want to. 
You raise your glass slightly when you are served. 
However, if you are amateur of fine wines, there is no question of serving you yourself, or your soft drink across the table. 
If your guests have made ​​the effort to offer a vintage, or simply a quality wine, do not swallow a glass of soda, take the time to taste it, and say all the good you think …
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