In honor of next week’s American Thanksgiving, we have gathered a veritable cornucopia of tips for Thanksgiving dining. Heed these tips the rest of the year when invited to dine in someone’s home, whether for business or pleasure, so you don’t look like a turkey:
- Bring a host/hostess gift: small box of chocolates, coffee beans for the coffee achiever, DVD movie for a movie buff, spices for the foodie, notecards, etc. You don’t have to spend a bundle: $5-15.
- Wait for the host/hostess to tell you where to sit. Stand behind your chair until everyone is ready to sit.
- Pass food counterclockwise and turn the serving utensils towards the next person.
- All things in moderation. Salting your food between every bite is an insult to the cook.
- Wait until seconds are offered. (Complimenting the cook on the delicious food can be a subtle hint, but doesn’t work every time.)
- Sit up straight and bring the food up to you, not your face down to the food.
- You may put your elbows on the table in between courses, when there is no food on the table. Otherwise, elbows off.
- Be on time. If you arrive late to dinner, you begin with the course that everyone is on. If you arrive at dessert, you get dessert. (Please do not expect your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother or whoever has been cooking for the last ten hours to get up and make you a plate.)
- If you bring a bottle of wine, it is the privilege of the host/hostess on whether to serve it. If they don’t, leave it. Do not collect it on your way out the door.
- Do not ask for leftovers of food you did not cook. Wait for them to be offered. If they are not offered, next year you can cook and savor the leftovers. In business, do not ask for a doggie bag. (Your dog never has to know.)
- Write a hand-written thank you note to your host/hostess for a wonderful time (even if they are related to you and especially if they gave birth to you.) Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! And remember, if you can’t drink responsibly, don’t drink at all.
Thanks to the Culture and Manners Institute for the tips!