This is the time of year where we entertain and are entertained in equal measure. Our best china and crystal often see the light of day as paper utensils are pushed aside until the summer.
While we are brushing off our fine dishes, let us also brush off our entertainment etiquette. There are a few reminders that will not go amiss at this time.
Brew your coffee. It is in poor taste to serve guests instant coffee. If you do not have a lovely coffee pot, you can pour while in the kitchen, and bring it to the table on a tray. However, this can only be done with coffee; tea must be poured directly from a teapot to the guest’s teacup.
It is quite okay to serve coffee for breakfast in a coffee mug. However, coffee mugs are not allowed during evening service for dessert. Substitute a coffee cup or demitasse.
Your pouring position is also important. All liquids must be poured from the right hand side of the guest. Liquids are always served and removed from the right, while solids are served from the left but also removed from the right. Service for soup follows the same rule.
A soup bowl can be used for lunch, but a soup plate should be substituted for dinner. A soup plate has a rim, whereas a soup bowl has no rim. Please note that at the end of the meal, the spoon should always be removed from the soup bowl and placed in the plate under the bowl. However the spoon is left in the soup plate, the same way that it is left in a regular plate.
The handle of the coffee or teacup should be positioned to the right, with teaspoon on the saucer partly behind the handle. Spoons are always removed from the cup and placed in the saucer if one is provided.
If you are being entertained, remember, all appetizers must be placed in a saucer or napkin before being eaten. Nothing should go from a serving tray straight to the lips as this gives the impression of hunger.
BEAUTY TIPS: Give your body a natural lift
To tone your back naturally, while sitting or driving, press your shoulder blades into the back of your seat while sitting uprightly. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat many times during the day.
To tone those kimono arms, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your arms in boxing stance. Pretend you are punching your right fist into your opponent’s left shoulder and your left fist into his right shoulder. Repeat 25 times with each hand.
Phillipa Morrish is the president of Etiquette Training International.