Table Manners rss

Top 4 Wine-Tasting Gaffes

Top 4 Wine-Tasting Gaffes I am going to spend the day in Napa visiting some wineries with my boyfriend's family. They are pretty heavily into wine whereas I frankly can't tell the difference between rotgut from the corner store and a perfectly aged bottle of Chateau-Whatever. I don't know them very well and I want to make a good impression. Before visiting a winery, what do I need to know in terms of "proper" behavior? READ MORE

What’s a Little Water Waste Between Friends

What’s a Little Water Waste Between Friends When my roommate does the dishes, she leaves the water running the whole time. It's excessive. Do you have a suggestion on how to delicately broach this topic? I don't want to discourage her from doing the dishes or cause disruption in our otherwise peaceful coexistence. READ MORE

Chefs Are Masochists, Culinary School Is a Scam

Chefs Are Masochists, Culinary School Is a Scam My brother recently told the family he wants to go to culinary school. He is 42, and seems to think that it's somehow going to lead to a high-paid job at a fancy restaurant. How can I tell him, tactfully, that he's making a really bad decision, is too old, and probably will never have success doing this? READ MORE

Please Cease Mold Production

Please Cease Mold Production Every week or two my roommate goes to the grocery store, buoyed by good intentions, and comes back with a bunch of kale, broccoli, and other "superfoods." But then he often ends up forgetting about them. Even when he does work up the energy to cook a healthy recipe, he then ignores the leftovers and lets them grow fur in the back of the fridge. What is up with this behavior, and what is a polite way for me to stop this food waste? READ MORE

Is the Thank-You Card Obsolete?

Is the Thank-You Card Obsolete? After going to a dinner party I always send a thank-you note in the mail. I think it's elegant and classic and simple, and of course people like getting handwritten notes by mail. However, with email and texting and all of today's instant communication, it seems rude not to thank the host immediately, the following day. READ MORE

Hello, I’m Your Annoying Server

Hello, I’m Your Annoying Server I find it distasteful when servers introduce themselves. I’m no snob but I feel the role of a server is to be as close to invisible as possible. Is this some kind of server ploy to get a bigger tip, like drawing a smiley face on the check? READ MORE

When Loved Ones Don’t Eat Organic

When Loved Ones Don’t Eat Organic Recently I was a houseguest at the houses of two of my aunts, who were so nice as to pay for pretty much everything. The one point of contention is that at the supermarket, they buy conventional produce, packaged foods, factory-farmed meat, caged eggs, and other not-so-good choices. READ MORE

Am I a Better Hostess If I Don’t Serve Dessert?

Am I a Better Hostess If I Don’t Serve Dessert? In the past, I've found there is no more surefire way to delight your dinner guests than to bring out a homemade pie. But these days I often find that people are uninterested in dessert, or ask for "just a teeny-tiny sliver." READ MORE

The Curse of the Touchy-Feely Server

The Curse of the Touchy-Feely Server The other night, the waiter put his hand on my shoulder when he was placing the check on the table. This isn't the first time this has happened. I am in my late 50s, so maybe I'm being a fuddy-duddy, but I feel that such physical contact is inappropriate, and unnecessary. Am I right? READ MORE

Gluten-Free But Not Annoying

Gluten-Free But Not Annoying I am gluten-intolerant. But when I go to restaurants, I hate questioning the server about what is in the different dishes. I feel like I sound neurotic, am boring my fellow diners, and am holding up the server if he is busy. If I am on a date, then it is downright embarrassing. Is there a polite and graceful way to ensure my order is gluten-free? And what about when people invite me to dinner? READ MORE