Soup, usually the first course, shows you off as a savvy diner or someone whose manners could do with polishing! Soup is served either in a wide, shallow dish, or a smaller bowl, resting on an under-plate.
• Spoon the soup away from you, towards the centre of the bowl.
• Sip from the side of the spoon. Never put the whole spoon in your mouth or slurp. Noisy eating is better placed in the farmyard, rather than the dining table!
• Tip the bowl away from you and spoon the soup across the bowl to get at the last bits.
After finishing the soup, place the spoon in the under-plate, or in the soup plate at a 10:20 position.
Dip the spoon into the soup, moving it away from the body, until it is about two-thirds full, then sip the liquid (without slurping) from the side of the spoon (without inserting the whole bowl of the spoon into the mouth). The theory behind this is that a diner who scoops the spoon toward himself is more likely to slosh soup onto his lap, although it is difficult to imagine what sort of eater would stroke the spoon so forcefully through the liquid that he creates waves. It is perfectly fine to tilt the bowl slightly — again away from the body — to get the last spoonful or two of soup.
It is not very well known, undoubtedly because it is no longer in fashion to serve it, that if you are given bouillon in a soup cup with a handle, you may pick up the cup and sip the broth directly from it, even if a soupspoon has been provided. If there are any bits of vegetables or meat in the bouillon, they should be eaten with the spoon before you begin sipping.
Placing The Dinner Napkin
Most of us are still ignorant about the proper use of a dinner napkin. One thing is for certain, the napkin should NEVER be tucked under the chin, unless of course one is 5 years old or younger!
• Lift the napkin soon after you are seated and place it on your lap. However, at more formal occasions wait for a signal from the host before doing so.
• Use the napkin throughout the meal to dab your lips. This prevents greasy lip marks from being transferred to the glass and of course removes unsightly food residue from lips!
• The napkin rests on the lap till the end of the meal. Place the napkin in loose folds to the left of your plate. If you have to leave the table during the meal, leave the napkin on your chair.
• Don’t clean the cutlery or wipe your face with the napkin. NEVER use it to wipe your nose!