Table Manners rss

Servers Drinking on the Job

Servers Drinking on the Job An online review of the restaurant where I work complained about "smelling alcohol on the server's breath." The review mentioned a distinctive feature of mine, so I knew that server was myself. I feel really insulted. Yes, I did have a couple of drinks, but it was near the end of my shift. It was not affecting my performance. If anything, it was helping me deal with annoying and overly demanding customers. Please explain to restaurant diners that it is perfectly OK for servers to drink, in moderation of course, while they are working. READ MORE

Don’t Be a Diet Bore

Don’t Be a Diet Bore I've resolved to drop 25 pounds in 2012. The other day I went to lunch with a coworker. She chose pasta, saying, "It's healthy." I tried to explain to her that refined flour is not healthy, and she exploded: "Nobody wants to hear any more about your diet!" I'm just trying to talk about it a lot so that I keep myself honest. Is that so wrong? READ MORE

Dealing with Food Hoarders

Dealing with Food Hoarders Every time I go home to my parents' house, the state of their kitchen drives me nuts. They are crazy food hoarders. They often have moldy bread, packets of spaghetti from 1992, and assorted bits and pieces in murky Tupperware containers. Their freezer is always chock-full. Is it rude to clean out your host's kitchen, and how can I convince them that contrary to their beliefs, no food stays good forever? READ MORE

Home Tours: Tacky?

Home Tours: Tacky? I recently attended a party where the first thing the hosts did was offer a tour of their palatial pad. My husband and I live in a modest apartment. We thought it was tacky. Was it? READ MORE

The Hazards of Sharing Small Plates

The Hazards of Sharing Small Plates The other night I went out to a restaurant with a couple of friends and ordered a bunch of small plates. In one of the dishes, the centerpiece was a cylinder of stuffed grilled squid. When I tried to cut it, the filling squished out everywhere. Then I had to chase all these lentils and bits of chorizo around the plate to make sure each of us got some. How the heck do you share these kinds of small plates, anyway? READ MORE

Holiday Party Dress Codes

Holiday Party Dress Codes Every December, I throw a fabulous holiday party. And I mean fabulous. I have an eight-foot tree. I make three kinds of cheese balls, and I decorate the entire house with yards of red tulle and real pine branches. And every year a few slacker guys show up in jeans. Some of the women are not much better. Am I asking too much if I expect people to dress up? READ MORE

How to Circulate at Holiday Parties

How to Circulate at Holiday Parties Last year I went to a friend's annual holiday party and spent the evening standing in the corner of the kitchen, chatting and joking with the two people I knew there. The next day, the host called me, ostensibly to have a party postmortem, but then it turned out he wanted to know why I had been "sulking" in the kitchen. Does a guest have some sort of obligation to mingle? READ MORE

Is “Foodie” a Put-Down?

Is “Foodie” a Put-Down? I work in food media, and knowing my job, people often ask me, "Oh, are you a foodie?" I am not sure what they mean by this. Sometimes I think it's an innocent question; other times I think the word is vaguely insulting. Is it a rude question, and what is a good answer? READ MORE

Who Should Pay for the Office Holiday Party?

Who Should Pay for the Office Holiday Party? Two seasonal conundrums: Should a nondrinker contribute to the drinks fund? Should employees be required to chip in for their own party at all? READ MORE

Phone Etiquette at the Table: The Rules Have Changed

Phone Etiquette at the Table: The Rules Have Changed My brother has accused me of always being "glued to my phone." He claims that I had the phone on the table at Thanksgiving dinner last year, which I do not remember. I do admit that when we've been at a restaurant, I may have glanced at my email while he was reading the menu. Am I being rude or is he just a Luddite? READ MORE