Hors d'oeuvres, canapes, finger foods? The proper way to eat some foods can be tricky! Remember, good social etiquette rules!
Social Etiquette Rules for Eating Party Food
This article explains the proper dining etiquette for social events. Do you use your fingers? Or a fork?
What is that?
I have attended parties where I have been asked if I liked the "canape`s". Huh? We use a lot of words to describe courses of foods. Course meals are still served at many formal events and there are rules! Don't be tardy for the party and be informed so that you can handle any food with class and style. This will ensure that your calendar is full of invites and free food!
First Things First
The French typically serve their meals in courses. There can be as many as 6 meal courses. En France, meals can be very involved but they really do not have many differences as far as etiquette rules. There are always exceptions to every rule and this one is buttering bread. Bread is not buttered prior to eating, it is used to sop up any juices that are left on the plate. American's thirsting for everything French have incorporated many of the French cuisines and practices in their dining experiences.
- Aperitif - A drink that is served at cocktail hour and prior to dinner. This is usually a lighter drink such as a light wine or sangria.
- Entre - The first course
- Plate Principal - The main course (fish, meat or poultry)
- Coffee and/or Digestive Drink
The French usually do not have a large breakfast. Croissants, rolls and coffee or simplistic food is sufficient. Lunches and dinners are affairs that are relished and enjoyed. Dinners can last for at least two hours or longer and are ingrained in the fabric of France.
To fork or not to fork?
Fork, Spoon or Fingers?
|Artichoke heart||Avacado||Artichoke leaves|
|Shrimp without tail||Grapefruit||Shrimp with tail|
|Limp Bacon||Blueberries||Bacon (only crispy)|
|Hard Shell Crab||Stewed Fruit||Tea Sandwiches|
|Mussels/Clams on halfshell||Pomegranate||Anything with a toothpick|
|Watermellon (if cubed use spoon)||Sushi|
|Sandwich served open face||Quesadillas|
|Banana - slice first!||Caviar - spread on toast|
|Persimmon||Corn on the Cob|
|French Fries - formal||Cherries|
|Pieces of Hard Cheese|
Food Faux Pas
Do not do this:
- chew with your mouth open
- double dip
- lean over another diners plate
- place elbows on the table
- drink from the tap
- season food prior to tasting (insulting to the chef)
- lick your fingers - EVER - in public
- touch food and put it back
- speak while chewing
- gesture with dining utensils
- use your fingers for any food if dining with clients or business associates
For the most part - if food is messy you will need to use a utensil and if it is small, bite sized food you may use your fingers. If using silverware one should always scoop away from themselves. Food will be served on the left and removed when you are finished from the right side. At fine dining establishments - a finger bowl will be provided by the staff to rinse your fingertips at the end of the meal.
Dining etiquette can be tricky but if ever in doubt - look around and see what everyone else is doing and you will never have to fill up on your foot!