Avoiding a Faux Pas at Your Holiday Party

‘Which Fork Do I Use?’

Confident and Comfortable Dining

Which Fork Do I UseIs the prospect of a fancy Christmas dinner giving you cold feet? Four forks, three knives, five glasses — where do you begin? And what about that little salt dish with no spoon?

To answer those questions and many more, Rosemarie Burns and Linda Reed have come up with “Which Fork Do I Use? Confident and Comfortable Dining,” a book complete with tips and illustrated diagrams. You’ll find advice whether you’re hosting or attending a gathering that involves food, and not just the fanciest of dinners.

Burns and Reed, owners of Manners Simply, are certified to instruct in several areas related to etiquette and dining and have been teaching seminars to all sorts of audiences.

Their tips range from common sense — like not texting or talking on the phone during the meal and keeping your elbows off the table — to more sticky situations. Like how to properly eat prawns or what to do with those kabob skewers.

For the hosts and hostesses, the book has ideas for themed parties, proper table settings for various situations and even an illustrated guide to several dozen types of serving utensils. Who knew that asparagus, horseradish and even jelly have their own special servers?

Five-Course Sophisticated Affair

A Proper Place Setting (click to view larger)

(set continental style)

  • First Course Appetizer: Prawns with cocktail sauce
  • Second Course Soup: Pureé of butternut squash, dinner rolls
  • Third Course Main: Roasted rack of lamb with pomegranate sauce, potato gratin, dressed green beans
  • Fourth Course Salad: Green salad
  • Fifth Course Desert: Bread pudding with chocolate chunks and bananas

Sample Tips for Diners

  • Flatware is arranged by order of use. Pieces farthest from the dinner plate are used first. Work from the outside in when beginning to dine.
  • Pick up the prawn by its tail using your fingers. Dip in sauce and eat in two or three more bites. Discard the tails onto the underplate, not on the charger.
  • When a salt cellar has no salt spoon, you may take a pinch of salt with your fingers or use the tip of your dinner knife to transfer the salt to your food.
  • Rest your spoon on the underplate between bites.
  • Do not start eating until everyone else has been served, unless instructed by the host.
  • When several wines are served, it’s acceptable not to finish each glass.

For more information, go to mannerssimply.com. To read more tips from the book about hosting fabulous dinner parties, visit our blog at wsmag.net/blog.

Courtesy "Which Fork Do I Use" Confident and Comfortable Dining