Table manners in the UK


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We British are famous for our politeness and our sense of humour. Basic manners (please, thank you, excuse me) are expected. I have written about the Dos and Don'ts in Britain which you wish to refer. You will also find information on formal and informal greetings and terms of endearment useful.

Here, I wish to focus on what the table manners are in the UK which you will need to follow if invited to a British home.

In England, when invited to someone's home, arrive at least 10-20 minutes after the stated time. Never arrive early. In Scotland and Wales, arrive on time.

Manners while Eating

We pay a lot of attention to good table manners in the UK. The table would normally be set with the fork on the left and the knife on the right and generally this is how many people eat, however using your knife and fork the opposite way around is not a problem!

Dos and Don'ts
DO
1. Wait until everyone is served before starting to eat unless told otherwise.
2. Thank your host or waiter/waitress if in a restaurant when they serve you
3. Ask before helping yourself to more food, there may be others who also wish to have extra helpings!
4. Ask for things such as condiments (Salt, Pepper, Sauces etc) to be passed to you rather than reaching across the table or other people.
5. Use your napkin, it's there to ensure any spillages can be caught and for you to wipe your mouth if needed
6. Pour your own drink if you are able, but make sure to offer to pour drinks for others first
7. Tell your host if there is something you don't or can't eat, they will not mind as tastes are different from person to person. If it's something you might be intolerant of or could have an allergic reaction to like nuts, then just let them know a few days before the meal if you can, if not just make sure they know before they serve the meal. Again, be polite but don't worry your host will understand.
8. Make sure your knife and fork are facing upwards when you've finished eating. Imagine your plate is a clock face and ensure the tip of the knife and tines (prongs) of the fork are facing 12 o'clock on your plate
9. Use your manners, politeness costs nothing but can mean everything
10. Ask if your host needs any help, this could be carrying plates or food or doing the washing up. They will likely say no but it's polite to ask

DON'T
1. Eat or chew with your mouth open, this is a basic courtesy and people don't wish to see the mashing down of your food in your mouth!
2. Speak with your mouth full of food, chew and swallow before you reply to a question or start a conversation
3. Put your elbows on the table if you can help it, it's an odd manner but one especially older people care about
4. Lick your knife OR your plate, it's kinda disgusting!
5. Cram your mouth full of food, take reasonable bites rather than shovelling your food in. Meals are a social affair there's no race to be the first to finish
6. Blow your nose on your napkin
7. Try to eat a whole roll or piece of bread at once, break it using your hands or knife and eat in smaller chunks
8. Slurp your drink or eat as if the whole world is deaf!
9. Pick food from your teeth with your fingers
10. Worry if you can't eat everything, just apologise to your host ensuring to comment on the rest of the meal - 'Sorry I don't think I can eat anymore, I wish I could though, it was delicious'
11. Try to eat your food with your fingers unless at a barbecue or other less formal setting. The only real exception to this is sandwiches, fruit and corn on the cob!

 

 

 

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